Before I Die……

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I recently came across a picture that I’d taken 2 years ago in Charleston, SC.  It made an impression on me then, and I decided to make it a topic for today’s article in the hope that it will do the same for you. The picture is of a chalkboard sign, starting a seemingly simple sentence, for passerby’s to complete:

Before I Die…….

Before I Die

It was very interesting to walk down this board on a sidewalk in Charleston, SC and see how people had responded to the philosophical taunt.  Most appeared to have put a fair bit of thought into the question.  It seems people connect, somehow, to the question.

My challenge to you today:  Put some thought into it, then complete the sentence for yourself.

Before I Die……

I encourage you to spend some “quality time” over the coming weeks thinking deeply about the concept.  It’s important.

How important?

In a recent article on titled “The Biggest Oversight in Retirement Planning”, the author, Scott Hanson, shares insight from 25 years as a financial advisor to retirees.  One of his biggest findings is that “where most people come up short is in their preparation for the mental and emotional demands of retirement.  Simply, they’ve spent the past 35 to 40 years saving money, but they haven’t spent much time at all thinking through how they want to invest their time once they retire. 

In another article I recently read about The Eight Keys to a Succesful Retirement Life, it’s relevant to note that only one of the eight keys focused on financials.   Of particular interest for today’s challenge is Key #2 For Successful Retirement from the same article:  “A Clear Vision Of the Kind Of Life That You Want”

The question is important at any age.  However, given that the goal of The Retirement Manifesto is to “Help People Achieve A Great Retirement”, I believe this topic is particularly important for those preparing for, or recently entering into, retirement.  Never in your life is there a greater opportunity to pursue something that has meaning, without the constraints of having to produce an income.  The freedom associated with achieving financial independence offers a unique opportunity to pursue something deeper.  While many folks immediately think of the financial aspects when they hear the word “retirement”, the truly important planning revolves around this concept of how you’re going to utilize your retirement freedom to pursue something of true value and meaning.

Spending time before you retire determining what you want your life to become is a key to a succesful retirement.  Retirement is a golden opportunity for you to do ANYTHING you want to do, but the reality of you doing that depends on thinking deeply, and planning ahead.  I came across an interesting quote from Dave Ramsey that reiterates this point:


By the way, I created the above “photo quote” for my Retirement Manifesto Instagram account this weekend (if you’re not a follower there, click the link and have a look – my Instagram account is dedicated to quotations on themes consistent with this blog’s main message.  As of this writing, there are 57 quotes on my account similar to the one shown above).

Casually approach retirement, and you’ll end up sitting in front of TV.  According to a recent US News report, the average retiree spends 4 hours per day in front of the box.  I don’t know about you, but to me that seems like a wasted opportunity in what should be your happiest and most personally satisfying years of your life, with the freedom to truly pursue something that has meaning for you.

Especially in the first 5 years of your retirement, when your chances of good health and fitness are highest, challenge yourself to identify some clear goals for what you want to do before you die.  As a Christian, I also believe how you answer that question has eternal consequences for you, and the impact is far more long lasting than just your retirement years.

For those with interest in the concept of pursuing purpose, I also encourage you to reread my Post#34:  What’s In Your Bucket, where I talk about my approach to creating a bucket list for retirement.  Another article I’d suggest is #40:  The Purpose Of LIfe Is A Life Of Purpose, where I outline the purpose for The Retirement Manifesto.

Specifically on the “Before I Die” concept, I’d encourage you to visit the Pinterest called  “Before I Die” (click on title to view the Pinterest page).  I came across it this past weekend.  With 11k followers, the site has thousands of interesting quotes of how the followers have answered this question for themselves.

Before I Die…..

It’s important, on many fronts.

Take time to consider what you want to become, then take the steps to become what matters most to you.


  1. Hi Fritz,
    Great post.
    I totally agree. Too many retirees I know, have discovered daytime tv. What a waste! That’s for when I’m 95, half blind, and not able to go trotting up the nearest hillside.
    I loved your Pinterest link. Off to do some more in depth reading. (As I watch tv, I confess. Multi tasking, but only for an hour or so, not 4!)

  2. A very thought-provoking post! This is great! It reminds me a little of the book “Your Leadership Legacy” by Robert Galford. The book is probably more applicable for the working years but a good read nonetheless. I read it several years ago and took the time to do all the exercises, writing out all of my answers. I’ve visited them several times since.

    For retirement, I’ve been thinking more and more about my purpose. Sure, I want to travel and do things related to all of my hobbies – and I certainly don’t plan on wasting time watching TV but let’s not talk Pinterest or Twitter (😬). But other than things for myself, I’m not sure what I want to do. There are many options; there’s so many ways to volunteer and give back. I’ve even considered becoming a life coach. Or maybe an art teacher. Who knows.

    I guess I still have some time to figure all this out as we’re 4-5 years away so that’s good. Thanks for the thought provoking post. I’ll use some of these resources to think a little more.

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