Choose Your Retirement Adventure: Thinking Outside the Box About Retirement Options

In last week’s blog post, I wrote that “Route 65” isn’t the only option when it comes to retirement. In other words, most people choose to climb the “retire at 65” mountain and stop working, but that isn’t the only option you have.

In fact, there are many mountains that you can choose to climb. Our goal is to help you choose a mountain that matches your vision, your values, your mission. I hope that this week’s post can help you think about other options for retirement that you may not have considered. If it does, mission accomplished.

Retirement planning has as much to do with personal style, as it does with portfolio. At the end of this post, I want to give you some simple ideas to help you think outside the box about your retirement options. This will help you choose the “retirement mountain” you want to climb.

Many times, the only time you have the chance to think about your personal style and finances is when you talk about investment styles. Are you more or less risk averse? Are you conservative or aggressive in your investing styles? You’ve probably tried different assessments to tell you what type of investments make sense for your personal comfort with risk. If you haven’t, here’s a link to ours.

But something you may not have considered is, how you would spend your day to day when you retire? What will you spend money on? How much will you spend per day and why?

Some people are quite comfortable imagining their retirement as an opportunity to have coffee and catch up on their reading, while others may be more inspired by finding non-traditional volunteer opportunities (perhaps even a mission trip), and yet others want to channel their inner Anthony Bourdain and find adventure and culinary experiences in the far-flung regions of the world.

Have you ever thought about what your retirement style is? Or, as John E. Nelson author of What Color is Your Parachute? For Retirement*, asks: “What will you retire to?”

More people are realizing that it is OK to think differently about retirement, but that usually leaves many people wondering two questions: 1) What can my retirement be? 2) How can I afford it?

What Can My Retirement Be? Archetypes of Retirement

If this is the first time you’ve thought about retirement styles, one really useful tool I’ve used is to think about retirement archetypes.

If you look around the world, there are a variety of archetypes for retirement and for what you can “retire to.”

Examples of retirement archetypes include:

  • Legacy Builder: I am building a legacy that will span generations and continue to build enterprises that add value to the world and to my family.
  • Sage: I am devoting my time and efforts to finding ways to share the knowledge and wisdom I’ve acquired throughout my life and experiences.
  • Avocationist: I will retire early and develop a second career that embodies my true passion.
  • Artist: I am finding new creative outlets to share my unique perspective and interpretation of the world.
  • Contemplative: I am withdrawing from the world of day-to-day concerns to focus on spiritual and personal growth.
  • Missionary: I am finally able to take the opportunity to share my faith, talents and abilities with people in other areas of my country or the world.
  • Tribal Lead: I want to spend my time creating traditions and enriching the life and values of my family and community.
  • Adventurer: I want to travel the world and seek new experiences in new areas.
  • Life Career: Work is an important part of my identity and I want to explore new careers and work opportunities that I have never been able to explore. I plan to work as long as I can and use it as an opportunity to grow and experience new things and new people. I enjoy being valued.
  • Gardener: I want to make the space around me fertile and beautiful. I see my home and garden as an expression of beauty and a way to participate in the natural ebb and flow of the world. I appreciate the simple elegance of nature.

Do any of these archetypes inspire you to think about retirement options in different ways? You may not believe that you have options, but you do. Thinking holistically about your retirement enables you to find new ways to create the future you really want for yourself. That may mean thinking in new ways about retirement income, living in places that have lower cost of living or greater retirement benefits, planning ahead.

The fact that you are reading this and focusing on it is a positive step toward getting somewhere meaningful and fulfilling in retirement.

So be bold and courageous!

Stay tuned because next week, I’m going to share a powerful tool that is going to help you determine what kind of income you are going to need for the future you envision for yourself.

Your Retirement Reality Sherpa

*Nelson, John E. (2010). What Color Is Your Parachute? For Retirement, Second Edition: Planning a Prosperous, Healthy, and Happy Future. New York: Ten Speed Press.

Reality Check: It Might Be Time to Revisit Your Retirement Income Plan

Funding your retirement today has changed dramatically from planning a retirement income a few decades ago. Today’s economic circumstances have created a new reality that requires a different approach.
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