“The Purpose Of Life Is A Life Of Purpose”. I heard that quote this week on a Tim Ferriss podcast, and it stuck with me. Ironically, two days later I was tasked with defining “The Purpose” for The Retirement Manifesto. This article is about that exercise, and what I decided my purpose for this website would be. I found it helpful to clarify my purpose for this effort, and trust you’ll be interested in the results.
If you could speak to the nation, what would you say?
In two weeks, I’m doing my first live radio interview on a national retirement financial planning show. I’ll share it with you when completed.
In preparation for the interview, the host requested I submit 10 questions for the live session. I went a step further, and wrote out answers to each question I proposed. This led to the requirement for me to define my purpose. Below are several of the questions I’ve proposed for my interview, along with my answers. In the interest of full transparency with my readers, I’ve decided to send them to you prior to my interview. In doing so, you’ll learn my purpose.
What led to the creation of The Retirement Manifeso, and what’s it’s primary purpose?
The creation of TRM is an interesting story, which I tell in one of my first articles. I’d long been thinking about starting this type of project. One weekend earlier this year, my wife was going to be away for a weekend and I spent about 10 minutes one Friday jotting down some ideas I wanted to focus on during my time of solitude. It came time to save the file, and I picked TRM. Later that evening, I was working on one of the items on the list (“build a website”), and it came time in the setup on Bluehost to pick a domain name. I picked TRM, and was blown away to find it available. I do believe it’s divinely inspired.
Manifesto: Webster: noun, a written statement that describes the policies, goals, and opinions of a person or group. I could think of no better definition of my website.
WEBSITE’s subtitle is Helping Others Achieve A Great Retirement
My parents were both teachers, and I’ve always had a long in to teach. My hope is to use this forum to help others achieve a great retirement by sharing the knowledge I’ve learned, as well give them a means to walk alongside someone as he goes through his final 2-3 years before an early retirement. It’s gaining momentum, and a few of my articles have recently been published on larger media sites. I’m excited about where this will lead, and will pursue it as long as I feel led to do so.
What Is The Main Content on The Retirement Manifesto? How do you address such a broad topic?
Started as financial areas of retirement planning, focused on ARTICLES ABOUT WEALTH BUILDING AND FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR RETIREMENT. “it’s easy to get wealthy, spend less than you make and do it for a long time. Several “deep dive” series (Articles on compounding and staring early, spend less than you earn, advantages/disadvantages of certain asset classes, the benefits of asset allocation, building a net worth statement, etc)
BUT, I’ve felt convicted to expand it to other areas of retirement planning. I’ve read quite a bit on the elements that make a great retirement , and I’m writing articles on many of those elements in addition to financially focused content. Articles on how to reduce worry in retirement (What Me, Worry?), carpe diem/seize the day, taking accountability for your retirement planning, showing gratitude, building relationships, avoiding regrets, being charitable…..essential focusing on intentionally adapting your mindset for a great retirement.
If someone were to read only one article on your blog, what should it be?
It depends on their focus/interest. If financial, the “When Can I Retire” series is the place to start. A step by step series to determine when you can retire. Focus is on developing a spending plan, determine your financial cash flow, and building contingencies into your plan. Article #38 (When Can I Retire, Putting It All Together) is the one for you.
If it’s more around the broader aspects that make a successful retirement, I’d suggest Post#1 (Contentment), as I believe each of us must make a conscious decision to be content, regardless of our situation in life.
What is the biggest issue you see facing retirees today?
There are two groups of people, and the biggest issue depends on which group you’re talking about. Those who don’t take any accountability for their retirement planning are setting themselves up for disappointment, and the very real possibility that they’ll never be able to retire. My brother in law passed away at 68 last month, as was on the phone 2 days before his death trying to manage some issues in his private CPA business. You can’t rely on anyone else, or your government, to handle your retirement (just ask the Greek people how that works out). For this group, we need to increase awareness and build some foundational knowledge.
For those who are active in planning their retirement (your listeners), I think they’d benefit from a different perspective. Assuming you’re able to do the basics throughout your working life (save 15%+, diversify your assets, utilize IRA’s/491(k)’s for tax optimization, etc.), you’ll be ok. You may have to work a bit longer than preferred, but you’ll be ok. I think there’s perhaps too much focus on the financial aspects of retirement and not enough on the broader mindset that’s required for a truly great retirement. God didn’t put us on this earth to spend all of our days worrying if we had enough money to retire. We need to intentionally chose contentment, focus on our real purpose in life, and worry less. If encourage anyone interested in worry to read #35 What, Me Worry, where I give 10 specific actions to help folks alleviate worry.
Is There Any unique advice you’d give folks as they they work toward their retirement goals?
Well, the obvious one is to visit TRM.com and sign up to receive my articles. Chuckle. Seriously, I wrote an article where I challenge folks to go beyond the superficial thought on “what you’d like to do in retirement”. A lot of folks start a bucket list, and focus on travel and places they’d like to visit. I suggest people DO start a bucket list, but create categories to address the broader aspects of your life in retirement for example, I’ve got a bucket list for travel, hobbies, personal development, charity, spiritual development and relationships. My goal is to come up with 50 items for each list by the time I retire. Try it. It’s challenging, but worthwhile. If folks are interested, it’s Article #34 – What’s In Your Bucket.
What advice do you have for spouses who may not be as involved in financial planning?
I wrote about a day my wife and I took a kayak trip together down a river (#12 – The River Of Life). We’re in this together. Either of us can change the course with our individual paddles, but we need to work together to really make progres. Leverage each other’s strengths. But make sure you’re both aligned on the direction.
Any closing thoughts for our listeners?
I remember an illustration from a pastor I greatly admired, in which he sprayed a stream of air freshener into the room and said “This is your life.” Recognize that our time on this earth is incredibly short, and make sure you treasure every moment. Be responsible and plan for your future, but don’t overlook the things in life that are truly important. Make time for your children, make time for your spouse, make time for friends, and seek God’s will for your life. These are the things that will ultimately result in a great retirement.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with today. Anyone who wants to reach me can find me on Facebook (TRM), Twitter (retire manifesto), my website (TRM.com) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org