Interview with Mitch Anthony; a sought-after financial services consultant, popular speaker, and host of “The Daily Dose” radio program. His RetireMentors column appears regularly on CBS marketwatch.com and he has been quoted numerous times in The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and The New York Times.
Mitch Anthony joins me in a discussion about redefining retirement. His book, The New Retirementality, helps us understand this relatively new word. Find more about Mitch Anthony and his books at mitchanthony.com.
There is a problem with the current definition of retirement:
Retirement is an artificially imposed finish line
Somebody else, an institution or government or culture, is telling us when we should retire. We didn’t choose that date, someone else did.
Retirement is an unnatural act
The word “retirement” didn’t really exist until 130 years ago. It made more sense to take you out of the physical activities, such as the assembly line, and replace you with a 22 year old.
We need to redefine the word “retirement”
Mitch Anthony says we should think of retirement as emancipation savings. The best thing money can buy us is the freedom to do what we want.
We should save for a goal, not save for a date. We need to find balance between our vocation and vacation
“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius
Today we trade intellectual capacity, not physical capacity
What is the expiration date on your intellectual capital (knowledge)? Bodies tend to wear out as we age.
What is the expiration date of your physical capital (labor)? Mental capacity continues to grow well into your mature years.
Ask 83 year old Warren Buffett what the expiration date is on his intellectual capital. Think about the compound effect of wisdom. The compounding effect, whether it’s financial investments or intellectual, begins to kick in at about 10 years. That is the worst time to begin drawing down on your “assets”.
In other words: As long as you are fascinated by what you are doing and are lucid you can keep doing what you are doing. It’s when we stop using our intellectual capacity is when we begin to spiral.
The most dangerous day of your life
The price of everything begins to matter the day you retire. One of the most dangerous days of your life is the day you cash your last paycheck. This is when you begin your life, as Uncle Leo says, “on a very fixed income”.
Taxes aren’t going down. The price of gas isn’t going down. Food costs aren’t going down but your income has become static. That gap becomes wider and wider over a period of time and it becomes a very scary thing.
ROL – Return On Life
Return Of Life is a juxtaposition to the term ROI – Return On Investment. We focus so much of our efforts to make as much money as we can and get the best ROI.
Mitch says we should move ROI into the secondary or tertiary seat and focus on getting the best Life we can, ROL, with the money we have:
- Spend less than you make
- Save all you can
- Don’t do anything stupid
It’s number 3 where we get tripped up. We buy things we can’t afford to compensate for the imbalance between our work and life.
In other words, we spend a lot of time and money trying to escape a job we hate only to have to re-engage our jobs when we get back to make the money for our next vacation.
A young person’s challenge for retirement
In his book, The New RetireMentality, Mitch Anthony illustrates Maslow Meets Retirement. It uses the principle of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a basis for explaining why you can’t engage a person about their high level needs until their basic needs have been met.
The challenge for young people to think about saving for their future is to get past the survival stage of money. The early years of an adult’s life is spent finding their way around the market and get past survival. People don’t get engaged in the whole retirement savings mode until they are well into their 40s.
You can motivate young adults by encouraging them to get started now and be smarter than all their friends by understanding how this chart works:
Link to Dave Ramsey’s Ben and Arthur chart: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/254664553901936735/
The real benefits of working
90% of those over 65 were still working in 1975. Okinawa, an island of Japan, is said to be the healthiest place on earth. The Okinawan’s secret lies in their diet and their attitude towards life. They also do not have a word for retirement.
They do, however, have a word “ikagawa” which Mitch translates to mean “what is your reason for waking up today”. Retirement has stripped that from many people’s lives.
Mitch goes on to tell us about a retiree who was looking around his garage and basement for something to break so he’d have something to repair. One study showed the average IBM retiree collected 24 checks before passing away. He attributes it to working themselves to death or completely unplugged themselves from having purpose.
Purpose is very powerful in keeping the mental state alive. You need to allocate your money towards purposeful engagement.
Collect a Playcheck
Mitch Anthony leaves us with this final bit of advice:
Look for the thing that unites your hands, your head and your heart where you are fully engaged in what you do. Only then are you no longer working- you are collecting a playcheck