What We Strive For In Retirement

According to my friend Joe Polish the founder of The Genius Network, there are three types of businesses: One that is E.L.F ™ and two that are H.A.L.F. ™  ELF is what we all strive for as business owners – Easy, Lucrative and Fun. The first HALF, (Hard, Annoying, Lame and Frustrating) can be easy to escape but the second HALF is not so easy because that’s when your business is Hard, Annoying, LUCRATIVE and Frustrating. After helping people over the years separate from the workforce, I will assure you the same issue exists for people wanting to retire.

For decades individuals have told me they simply don’t want to retire. “Joe, I love my job, I love the income and I really don’t want to do anything else.” This may sound like a fairy tale but it is not that rare. Personally, assuming I remain competent, I fall in the same category. This would go under Joe Polish’s category of E.L.F.

Sadly, there are the other two types of businesses and retirements. There are people who flat out despise going to work in the morning. They don’t like what they do, don’t feel they are compensated fairly and lack fulfillment. This negative momentum can quickly run away with the rest of their life and spill into personal and health difficulties.

One of my coaches, Lee Brower, calls this the “Pringle Principle.” (You will quickly recognize that he is talking about Lay’s Potato chips, not Pringles but the point remains.) “You Just can’t eat one.” The theory is to begin with the smallest thing you can do to begin any task. Momentum will take hold and carry you to the next.  It really works – positively and negatively.

If you do something in one area of your life , work a job that you love for instance, many things in your life will seemingly go right. If you allow yourself to stay in a bad place, that momentum will sneak into other areas of your life.

The second type of H.A.L.F. (where the “lame” becomes “lucrative”) is the most dangerous of all. People feel trapped in a job because of what they have to give up in order to make the right decision and move on. The ability to rationalize almost any thought is perhaps the greatest wonder of the human condition. There are simply too many reasons and too many excuses to stay where you are and suffer the emotional consequences. Don’t let that be you.

There will be days where you may find your retirement oscillating in all three categories.  Things change as Social Security income starts, social requirements decline and health gets in the way of life. Few things become easy, lucrative or fun overnight. Set up a retirement budget to know what your costs will be when you separate from work. Save while you can and don’t add monthly costs to your fixed expenses near the end of your career. Last, enjoy your life after work. Have Fun!

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