Now in my 32nd year in this business, I can say without any reservation that I have thoroughly enjoyed every day I’ve spent in it. I continue to wake up each morning before any alarm clock excited to get my day going.
With the exception of owning and running an NFL franchise, for which I’m only a couple billion dollars short at the moment, I can’t even remotely imagine ever doing anything else.
With that said, as I’ve shared with many of you over the years, the one downside of our business is having Relaxing Retirement members, whom we’ve known and worked with intimately for many, many years, become sick and pass away. Even in situations where we know they’ve been through treatment for a while, it’s always awful when we receive the news, especially when they’ve occurred in bunches.
In a single two-week period, I learned that one of our members, a woman I’d worked with for years, had been diagnosed with leukemia, and that another member’s rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s now required he not be left alone. I heard from yet another member that his wife, after five years in remission, was back in the hospital, and soon to start a new round of chemotherapy. And finally, one of our newer Relaxing Retirement members who had only retired last year, developed a degenerative nerve disease which had already cost him much of his eyesight.
So, why am I sharing all of this sad news with you? I’m sharing it to motivate you not to wait!
Another Wake Up Call
The convergence of all of this sad news has provided another one of my life’s “wake up calls.”
We’ve all heard the phrase, “don’t wait for a crisis in your life to motivate you to prioritize and do what you really want to do.”
It would be great if it didn’t take a convergence of sad news to people close to you, or a crisis to get us to think and prioritize differently.
For me, one of those crisis events occurred when my mother got sick and passed away at the very young age of 57 when I was 20 years old.
After dealing with the reality of losing my mother (unfortunately, she was terminally ill for 19 months), the lesson for me was to never wait to do anything because you never know when it can all be taken away from you.
I would certainly have preferred that it didn’t take losing my mother for me to learn that lesson and prioritize a little better.
One of the great advantages of “Phase II” of your financial life is that you are free of your dependence on your paycheck to support your lifestyle, and of the daily pressures you had to face at work. However, without the deadlines and structure that work provides, some people feel lost.
That’s why it’s so important, whether you’re still working, or if you’ve already stopped, to give significant thought on an ongoing basis to what you want most out of life, and then get busy doing it.
As you objectively look around at all the people you know and see, something becomes obvious: certain individuals are more successful and happy than others.
Not only that, but in stark contrast to most people whose optimism fades with age, these same individuals are more energetic, enthusiastic, and confident. I see this clear as day among our Relaxing Retirement members.
There are many explanations for this, but the number one reason for a loss of momentum during the “retirement” stage of life is a lack of constant and never-ending prioritizing and goal setting. Without it, everyone loses their sense of direction and confidence.
Instead of being excited about what lies ahead, too many retirees become increasingly nostalgic about their youthful years, and the “good old days.”
However, those who continuously clarify and act on their priorities, goals, and plans benefit from the law of compound interest, i.e. just like with money, the more you invest in visualizing and working toward a better future for you and everyone around you, the better your future automatically becomes.
Part of this ongoing process is being keenly aware of the amount of time you spend in what I refer to as “bad energy environments,” i.e. in activities and with people who drain your precious energy. A mentor of mine once labeled them, “batteries not included,” i.e. they drain your energy and confidence.
The most exciting part of life is knowing that you’re progressing toward something. And, that’s why it’s so important to have ongoing written goals and plans, not just weakly stated ones like new years’ resolutions that quickly turn sour.
Your retirement years provide you with a new lease on life. You now have the opportunity to clean the slate and spend all of your time doing what you want, when you want, where you want, and with whomever you choose.
However, that doesn’t just fall into place without careful thought and action. To get what you really want, you have to plan and act constantly.
As I shared earlier, life can be short. Don’t let it have to take a crisis in your life to realize this.
Get out there and soak it all up. Be busy! Be exhausted!