What’s it all for anyway?
The “Saver’s Addiction” Can Steal Your Ability to Enjoy Life
Why is this important?
Saving money is a double-edged sword. You try to be smart making sacrifices, saving money and making wise choices. But then at some point, if you can’t give yourself permission to enjoy that money, what difference does it make that you saved it? You’ve given up extravagance by saving, and now, if you can’t break the “saver’s addiction,” it may not matter that you saved.
What if you don’t enjoy?
No one is going to force you to enjoy the fruits of your labor. It is your choice to continue to deny yourself the reward of exploring new things, great experiences, and beautiful memories. We all know people who become physically or neurologically challenged who become unable to enjoy or uninterested in enjoying the fruits of their labor. They saved all that money for a rainy day, but they never got to use it.
It makes sense to me that, for many people, it’s hard to enjoy life. I am of German ancestry, and cultural reality of my upbringing was that we were taught to save, save, save, do, do, do, save, do, save, do—and find great satisfaction in doing it! Our understanding was that it is a privilege to contribute and work. I was taught to find joy in working and saving. Relaxing made me feel a bit guilty. For people who grew up in that kind of environment, although you may picture yourself enjoying retirement, in reality, it is difficult to use the money
It is normal if you feel a lot bit nervous thinking about using retirement money because you do not want to run out of money. And you should have a deliberate, careful, sound plan of how you are going to live to meet your needs between now and when you get your promotion (pass on). However, there are all these things you have been waiting to do. If not now, then when?
How to do the Retirement Honeymoon
Make a list of all the things you have been excited about doing but have waited to do. As you ponder, you may even remember things that you forgot you wanted to do. Do all of those things in the first three years of your retirement (or the next three years if you are already retired). Commit to make it your new vocation to do those things.
Give Yourself Permission
I have related in the book about how I was brought up. I was raised to be a saver, and that is what I did. I saved and saved and saved. I go on to share that fear can be the biggest motivator in leading people to save money for retirement. And unfortunately, fear can be the biggest motivator in preventing the freedom of enjoying life in retirement.
Be encouraged to give yourself the freedom to be able to enjoy this benefit. If you don’t give yourself permission to enjoy your lifetime of saving, how much does it matter that you have accumulated all of that money? The retirement honeymoon is one of my favorite subjects to teach, and of course, it is in the live workshop.
“So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
It’s not too late to Plan Your Retirement Honeymoon
Plan the first three years of your retirement (or the next three years, if you’re already in retirement), down to the nitty-gritty details. What will you do? Where will you go? Who will you visit? What will you try that you’ve always wanted to try?
In other words, what’s it all for—the decades of effort you’ve put into your career? What is your vision of the future? What do you imagine enjoying?
If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your parents, siblings, kids, and friends—the people who know you best. Ask them,
“What do you envision me enjoying in retirement?
What do you think I should focus on to make a contribution to the world?
What would you say are some of the places, people, activities, toys, or businesses that you’ve heard me talk about or that you think I should consider in my ‘retirement honeymoon’?
Do brainstorming sessions. It can be a lot of fun to dream big, especially if you’ve never done so before.
It’s kind of like when a teenager graduates from high school and says, “I have my whole life ahead of me. What do you see me doing as a career?”
Only this time, it’s, “I have my whole retirement ahead of me. What do you see me doing in this phase of my life?”
Then make a list of all the things you and your spouse want to do in retirement.
On the next page is a worksheet to get you started.
What is your “life’s work”? What are the things you have done, are doing, or have yet to do that make a difference and will last long beyond you?
I believe we all have an innate desire to live a life of significance. We are put on this earth for something much more significant than inactivity.
You deserve the Best!