What Would Extending Your Retirement Plans Make Possible?

This is a guest post by Russ Crosson, the President and CEO of Ronald Blue & Co, LLC. He is the author of Your Life Well Spent and The Truth About Money Lies.

If I asked you your “magic number,” chances are you would look at me and wonder what I really meant. Magic number? Is that like a lucky number?

Family of Four on the Floor - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/H-Gall, Image #7889488

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/H-Gall

If, however, I asked for your hoped-for retirement age, I bet a number would quickly pop into your mind. Was it fifty-five, sixty, or sixty-five?

The truth is after a few short months at our first job, we enroll in a retirement plan. And then we start dreaming about that magic age when we can stop working and really start to enjoy life.

Unfortunately, all too often this magic future number looms so large in our minds we forget the importance of today. We pour our lives into our careers funding our retirement plans to the max, forgetting we really only have twenty years to raise our kids.

In raising our three sons, my wife Julie and I lived by principles that allowed us to order our lives so we could give our family the precious gift of our time—when they were young and needed it.

Here are two strategies that worked for us:

  1. Limit your work hours. Put balance into your life by limiting the time spent at your vocation. During seasons where working more hours could have potentially increased my income, I set work time limits.

    I did what I could do within that time and trusted God for the results (see Psalm 127:2). I went home for dinner most nights and rarely did I work on weekends.

  2. Extend your magic number. I stopped thinking retiring at age sixty-five was normal. The fixed retirement age concept came into being in the 1930s when life expectancy was around sixty-three.

    The truth is man was created to be productive and at age sixty-five, we just might be healthier and more fulfilled if we keep right on working.

    Extending your retirement time horizon will slow down the pace of life. You won’t be in a hurry to quit. You might find you can also free up funds earmarked for retirement for use on family vacations or to pay down current debt.

How good would your retirement years be if you never take the time to build a relationship with your kids?

Questions: How much of your twenty years with your family do you have left? What would extending your retirement time horizon make possible? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    I have about six or seven years left.  We’re trying to make the most of those years.  (It goes by fast!)

    As for extending my retirement age, I haven’t thought a lot about it.  I’m sure I’ll want to be doing something even after I “retire”.  That seems like such a long way off, but it’s probably good to be thinking through these plans.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      It DOES go by fast. My boys are now 15, 18, 20. When my husband and I watched the older two graduate from high school, we kept asking each other, “Could we have done more? Spent more time? Shared more conversations? Laughed more? Played more?” We weren’t thinking about our careers at all in that moment.

      • Brandon Becker

        Thanks for that perspective! My wife and I are in our mid-20s and we’re starting to set the pace for the rest of our life. Recently my work  moved us to southern California and we feel more and more pull to be busy and involved in things. It helps to be considering what we will value most when our kids are grown. 

        • Crossonr

          thanks for reading. you are at the perfect age to pick a path for the rest of your life. extending time horizon and understanding work is normative and good will go a long way to not getting out of balance and overworking. Your Life…Well Spent is a good read about perspective.

      • Steve Hawkins

        Sunrise, Sunset…

  • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

    Retirement is a relatively new concept. I don’t plan on it, myself. I hope some day I have more time and money for playing around and traveling, but I don’t ever plan to say “That’s it. I’m done being productive. Somebody pay me to not work. I’m going to golf or drive an RV around or something”.

    The health of most men declines rapidly after retirement, especially if they have nothing meaningful left to do. It’s not going to happen to me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m with you, Eric. I don’t plan to retire either. But I do want to get to the place where I only work because I want to.

      • http://www.learntodobusiness.com/ Kenneth Acha

         I agree with you Eric and Michael. I don’t plan to retire. I honestly wonder if retirement is a biblical concept especially for the Christian. The Christian is Christ’s slave, he is a stranger on earth. His chief goal is to work for his master Jesus Christ. As long as Jesus has work on earth, I doubt that a Christian can honestly convince me that he should retire and just chill. The earth is not a place for chilling for believers. Rest, yes. Vacation, yes. But to just retire, that seems to say my work is done when a Christian doesn’t have his own work, he belongs to someone else. Is evangelism ever finished? Is being the hands of Christ ever finished? Is praying and being an intercessor for the state of the world ever finished?
        I’d love to have enough money and resources that I don’t work because I want income, however, I pray that I would never cease to have a burden to work for Christ. The only time that the work is done is when rapture happens for me. Even then, for those left behind, God will still have work in the earth till Christ returns and this age ends…
        In heaven, I plan to party as much as I can (lol)

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          Amen to that, Ken!

        • Crossonr

          Hey guys thanks for reading the article. YOu are correct in that the concept of retirement is not biblical. Only the Levites in the old testament could retire from what they were doing but no one retired to a life of ease comfort and pleasure like we are told is the goal today.

      • Steve Hawkins

        I grew up watching Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes.” He didn’t leave CBS until he was about 87 and stayed sharp. He enjoyed journalism, and was one reason I got into writing. I hope to get to the same place–where I only work because I want to. 

      • Crossonr

        thanks for reading the blog. we need to realize work is a gift from God and considered good. Right thinking about work will help us a lot with right thinking on retirement.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      It seems more like “not retiring” is a relatively new concept. At least, the idea has taken root since we moved from a production/sales mentality to one where we develop new technologies, etc. The more recent direction in America has been toward finding what you love to do then doing it.

      I know my father, at 83, retired from his job almost 20 years ago. He and my mother did travel in their RV, make friends across the nation, and enjoy life until her health restricted their travels. After her death, he’s continued to be active in the life of his church and his family.

      Because of his example, I know that you don’t stop serving God and others, enjoying life, or engaging in new opportunities after “retirement.”

      • Crossonr

        Thanks for reading he article. Retiring is the new concept. New to this generation. Only the Levites in the old testament could retire and no one in Scripture retired to the ease comfort and pleasure we are told is retirement today. We should live with a no retirement focus and if we have money to change to form of our vocation great.

    • Steve Hawkins

      I read a book recently entitled “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge. The book stresses the important of exercise past 50 and the need to get moving. But interestingly, the authors stress the importance of having a committed relationship with your spouse and being involved with other people through volunteering, church, etc. “There have to be people you care about and a reason to keep yourself alive.” If not, your health will decline despite the exercise. 

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I loved that book. I read it last year.

      • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

        That’s a great point, Steve. I notice in our culture people tend to want to focus on one thing. I’ve started calling it a single-disciplinary approach. I’m not sure if it’s a modern affectation or just part of human nature. People define success solely as their careers. People think health is just diet and/or exercise but neglect building relationships. What we truly need is balance across several areas.

        • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

          I like what Zig Ziglar once said: “You can get anything you want in life as long as you help enough people get what they want.” So by helping others, you ultimately help yourself too. 

  • http://www.thegeezergadgetguy.com/ Thad Puckett

    I want to be productive at whatever age I am.  At age 73 my wife’s uncle was called back out of retirement to work at the company he had retired from 8 years prior.  He is a great inspiration to me.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       A great example!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Thad,
      Awesome! What industry was he in?

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       Thad, your uncle is certainly an example of the Boy Scout motto–be prepared.

  • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

    I might formally “retire” some day, but I suspect I’ll be one of those retirees who’ll be a Walmart greeter or some other lower stress job that gets me off of my butt a few days a week.

    Honestly though, at only 27, I really don’t think about it that much. I do try to put enough into 403(b) to earn my company’s full match, but beyond that, retirement is just some faraway dream.

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    I have been thinking this very thing. I may not havevthe same job at 65the that I have now, but I want to be working at something. I’m inspired by a 90 year old man who loves to get up and come in to work every day.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       What does the elderly gentleman do?

      Your comment reminds of my seminary’s former president. J. C. McPheeters was in his 90’s when I attended Asbury. He rose early, prayed and studied, then lifted weights. In his 80’s, he took up water skiing and set some state’s record for time on the skis for men over 70. He was an impressive godly man.

      • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

        That’s a great question. He comes in at 5 am and walks around the building turning the copiers on. Then he eats breakfast. Then I see him in the building, but can’t really peg a job on him. If you need a stamp, he will sell you a stamp. He gives Hershey Kisses to the ladies. Basically, I think he is insurance against age discrimination.

  • Sherri

    We don’t have kids, but it’s still easy to get caught up in pushing for early retirement. The thing is, we are never promised tomorrow. That’s not being morbid, it’s just a fact. We both work hard at stressful jobs: he’s a program director for a mental health facility and I’m a hospice social worker. We love our work – most days, but we have also discovered that we love to travel. We just got back from Ireland and England. I know that financially it might have been wiser to put that money towards paying off the house, but we didn’t go into debt for the trip and we got a much needed break. We are planning and saving for retirement, but we don’t want to forget to live a little on the way. It’s a balancing act sometimes, but I don’t want to quit everything when I get to be 65. In some ways I feel like I’m just getting started. We were made to be active and productive and to get satisfaction and pleasure from our work. What a gift God has given us in that! 

    “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God.”  Ecclesiastes 3:12-13.

    Great post and reminder of what is important. Thank you!

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       Sherri, as a friend of mine says, we all have a place where we’ll spend money. For him, it’s a new car (he just bought a new Ford Escape this week). For me, it’s travel, so I understand what you’re saying about you and your husband’s choice to take a break and get out of town (and even out of the country). I’m glad you’re able to enjoy that experience together.

  • http://ignitechange.net/ Craig Morton

    I’m glad that you wrote about this.  I’ve seen a lot of people quit working in their 60’s, be in good shape but then in 2-3 years see their health dramatically change for the worse.  This idea of retirement and then just sitting around is rapidy changing.   I think more and more people are either taking on second careers (or at least part time ones) to maintain a purpose in life.  I think that either changing the outdated number can really have an impact on how we live now (like you suggest) as well as how people view their self worth and esteem.  Thanks

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I’ve noticed the shift too, Craig. I used to think it was because people couldn’t afford financially to retire. Now I think it’s more often about the satisfaction that comes from doing purposeful work.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Craig,
      Yes! Retirement is not merely a transition to what you do with your time, but so much more!

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       I know that I didn’t retire five years ago but I did have a major life shift when I changed from pastor to factory worker to unemployed. For several months, my life became disoriented. Once I began to write, something I’d wanted to do but hadn’t, I discovered a passion and a purpose I wouldn’t have seen without the bad experiences leading up to that direction change.

      I know that doing what I do now doesn’t have an expiration date attached to it.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Interesting post, Russ. Living in California, I’ve seen how tough it is for young families to get by with the high cost of housing and transportation. One of the best things young people can do is to set aside savings and stay out of debt. Credit cards and  refinanced mortgages to pull equity out have cost many people their homes and their family life.

    While a later retirement might be a solution to some, paying off credit cards and living within their means will be helpful to many of today’s families struggling to get along.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       John,
      Great advice!

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

       Agreed!

    • Crossonr

      you are right on. spending less than you make and doing it for a long time is the key to financial freedom. one shouldhave a healthy fear of debt and avoid it. live in the older smaller house a little longer and drive an older car are all good tactical steps to reverse the devestation of debt. Truth about money lies is a good read on this.

  • Barbara @ www.therextras.com

    I wholeheartedly agree w/ #1. The life of 2 f/t employed parents was unappealing & we learned to live one income. The same is true as we approach 60. Our definition of ‘retirement’ is that neither of us is employed f/t. We are looking forward to flexibility, slower pace, meaningful work.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great point, Barbara. “Retirement” might be working less, rather than not working at all.

      • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

        Or maybe giving yourself the permission to do the work you’ve always wanted to do. 

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    Good morning!  FYI – The email for the blog post today doesn’t match the blog post. I received “Penguin Leadership” in my inbox, but when I clicked the comment button I received an error message. I popped over manually, and it’s a different post. 

    Regarding this post, it’s like the old saying that no one ever says on their deathbed, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office!” I’m thankful my husband is actively involved in our children’s lives.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I made a mistake and posted two posts today. Sorry about that.

      • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

        Not a problem. I saw your twitter post after I commented here. Have a great weekend.

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

           Thanks for your Grace Kelly.

          • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

            Grace Kelly…wasn’t she an actress turned princess? *smile* I’m just glad to be a part of this community. And 2 posts in 1 day is twice as nice if you ask me. Have a great weekend, Barry.

          • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

            Yea, That’s why I capped the “G” glad you caught that… ha!

  • http://crashleadership.com Curtis Marshall

    This is such a great post!

     I too have plan to never retire, but this is the firs time I thought of living life based on that decision.  Most of the things I read talk about how to retire earlier, so a later retirement is somewhat counter-intuitive.

    On the other hand, I want to make sure my kids aren’t forced to take care of me in my old age if I am unable to work.  I think there must be a good balance.

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    My husband and I don’t plan on retiring. We both love what we do, and we believe work is a gift and privilege. We also believe in having fun right now, and not waiting until we retire. That means we go on vacations every year, we take days off, we take the family skiing in the mountains and spend the weekends on a boat. Although we save and still put money aside in retirement accounts, we also recognize there’s no guarantee any of us will be here at age 65. It’s more important to us to live and love each other fully right now.

  • Lyn

    As a widow with young children, I am still planning to retire after my 30th year of teaching. Since my late husband was the stay-at-home parent, I did not take extended leave when my babies were little. In less than a decade I want to be there as a full time mom and volunteer when they are in high school. (They are both in elementary school now.) I do not consider retirement a time when I cease from working. It will be time for me to go where I am needed as a volunteer and possibly a missionary when my boys go off to college.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Lyn,
      Thanks for serving as a teacher for 30 years,  and your “new mission” goals after you retire from teaching sound fantastic! Some of us will retire from one profession and move into a whole new profession!

    • Rachel Lance

      Great definition of retirement, Lyn – all the best to your family in reaching that goal!

  • doughibbard

    When I’ve been asked why I’m spending money on formal education, hoping to nail down at least a pair of post-graduate degrees in the coming years, instead of saving for retirement, my answer is this: my retirement plan is to spend those years investing in young minds like college students. One of my main mentors in college did essentially the same thing: when he was ready to shift from full-time pastoral ministry, he “retired” to being a speech professor at a small college. Worked at that until his passing.

    That’s my plan…although there are some safety-net plans in case of health issues, I want to work out those days like he did.

  • http://www.CrazyAboutChurch.com/ Charles Specht

    No one should ever retire.  Just my opinion.  

    It is amazing how many people die shortly after retiring.  They lose purpose, a reason to wake up.  If you’re going to “retire” from your job, go full-time into something else.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Very true, Charles.  I am sad to personally know of multiple high-capacity, very successful leaders who retired, and then committed suicide within two years.   I’m so glad that there are voices out there like those on this blog that are encouraging folks to live out their purpose past retirement!

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    I am so blessed to be running across great content like this while I am young. I have a year and a half old boy and one due in June. So we still have all of those years. I want to make the most of my time with them! I shoot to leave the office no later than 4:30 everyday and be home to spend time with my wife and son. Sometimes we plan youth events in the evenings but I always make sure to rearrange my schedule for my family. 
    I actually thought about retirement this morning for some reason. I can’t think of a good time to do that. If I love my job then as much as I do now, I may never stop!

  • Pingback: What Would Extending Your Retirement Plans Make Possible … – Retirement How To

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    The 20 years are up but I am thankful that “out of the house” doesn’t mean “gone and forgotten.” My son will turn 26 this summer but my wife and I continue to invest in him. I write him on a weekly basis and end each letter with: I think of you often, pray for you daily, love you always.

    As for retired at …, I’m 57 and writing–something I chose to do five years ago. I’m still learning the craft of storytelling but I’m enjoying the new venture. It’s not a lark. It’s what I love to do. I cannot imagine “retiring” from this work at all. There’s still another story to tell.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Tom, what an excellent practice to write your adult children weekly!  Most of us in our adult lives could use the encouragement reminders that our parents gave us when we were kids.  

    • Rachel Lance

      Tom, thanks for sharing these blessings – the ones you write to your son each week, and that of your new writing venture. Sounds like you’re living this season well. 

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

         “… living this season well …” Those are powerful words, good ones to set sail on. Thanks, Rachel.

  • Bonnie Clark

    As part of an exercise for our financial advisor, my husband and I outlined a 25 year plan on a one-page spreadsheet.  We looked at a number of things:

    –  the age of our children and transitions from daycare to school to university,
    –  the age of our parents (and how much time we could reasonably expect with them),
    –  the years left in paying off our mortgage,
    –  the predicted time for vehicle replacement,
    –  our anniversary milestones
    –  our home maintenance needs (e.g. new roof)
    –  when we could (and should!) book in major family vacations,
    –  the year we are eligible for retirement.

    When you look at a single page with the years of your life marked out in rows, the time before my 2-year-old goes to university seems *really* short. 

    It allows us to make choices about our careers, our savings, and our spending today so that we balance what we want in all arenas of our life.  I found it to be a useful exercise.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      That’s a great exercise, Bonnie!  That fits really well into 
      Michael’s free life plan exercise, too.

      • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

        That’s awesome! I subscribe to a productivity site that encourages you to do a 15 year plan every year, but I’ve never been able to get far with it. I was probably thinking too small. I’ll have to give this a shot this weekend.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      What a great exercise, Bonnie. I like it!

    • Anoop

      This resonates so well with our experience too Bonnie…well put !!

    • Rachel Lance

      What a great exercise, Bonnie. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/jerburroughs Jeremy Burroughs

    Love the limiting your work hours idea. I have made a concerted effort this year, and it has paid off. Thanks for the post!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      I love the idea also!  This is the third blog that I’ve seen in 24 hours making an argument for less work hours.  Seems to be a trending topic right now.  

  • Curtis Fletcher

    Based on our curent economic outlook the “horizon” for retirement is far enough out there as to be completely obsucred by the rlling waves of endless effort.

    As far as limiting work hours go, I try to work as little as possible on a normal and ongoing basis. :) Smarter, not harder.

  • Tammy B.

    Ya’ know…our kids are grown and we have three grand kids now.  My husband and I, even at this point in our lives (61 & 50 years, respectively) don’t focus on retirement as a goal.  We’ve always believed that we should be doing something everyday that we enjoy; not something that we’re anxious to quit doing!  If we’re not in that place, then we need to make a change now, to enjoy all of our time to the best of our ability. 

    There are no guarantees that any of us will be around “later”.   It’s a shame to waste your life waiting for that!   Making a contribution is SO important.  If I wasn’t getting a paycheck to work, I’d be working in a volunteer capacity!

  • Asia

    A powerful post! And true! It has always been my feeling: do what you love and you won’t think about retiring. I met a cheerful 82 year old man who works every morning, Monday through Friday.

    He loves what he does.

    As a mom, wife, and business owner, family time is deeper and more meaningful when I spend my nights and weekends enjoying laughs and great conversations with the ones I love.

    Thanks for sharing your awareness!

  • http://www.workyouenjoy.com Adam Rico

    I couldn’t agree more with this post. In fact, I wrote a post on my blog last year that shares this same sentiment. I think traditional retirement is going the way of the cassette tape. You can use it but why? There’s a better way. Great post!

  • http://twitter.com/JimCarpe_Diem Jim

    Fabulous clarity of thought. Seize the day and make it extraordinary!!

  • Mary E Hood

    I am right at the “normal retirement” age, and have no plans to do so. However, as we get older (or really at any age) it is more about balance than anything else.  I have to balance my work, my ministry, my personal time, etc., including time for exercise and family. What is the purpose of making money so you can have freedom to travel if you never actually do it?

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      I agree, Mary.  It is definitely about balance throughout life.  I have many friends who became much busier after retirement.  They say they have no idea how they ever fit in the time to work!  Balance is a tension that we manage throughout every stage of life.

  • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

    Great post, Russ–very thought provoking! I love your point about priorities, especially with regard to family. My first son will graduate this year, and even as a work-from-home Mom, I don’t feel I’ve had near enough time with him.

    I’m not really planning on actually retiring. Perhaps quit some of my less desirable tasks meant to pad the income, but I plan on continuing writing and speaking, encouraging and inspiring (God willing) until my Homecoming. That is our true calling, our most important vocation–to minister for His Kingdom. Instead of thinking of it in terms of retirement, perhaps we need to put it in terms of transitioning to our full-time, life-long job of glorifying the Lord. How can we ever retire from what we were created to do?

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Julie, you have a great perspective on retirement!

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    Two years ago at the age of 37, my husband told me I could retire. Really? Yep! He was/is successful in his job, and my income was supplemental. If I was going to retire, that was the time before my income became necessary. Since then, I have not stopped working. We have two boys (11 and 13), and I am working toward a successful blog ministry. My husband jokes that I will “hit it big” by publishing a book or through some other writing-related venture. Maybe. Maybe not. Views of his retirement continually change. We are focused on raising our boys to be godly men, and we know we can look at his retirement perhaps more closely after that happens. We enjoy life fully now, and my being “retired” really allows for him to have more family time since I can pick up the slack at home. So, I guess you could say that we have already done what you talked about and extended my husband’s retirement time horizon. But we are both at peace with why that is happening. (Well, I still really would like to “hit it big,” so he could retire sooner rather than later.)

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Kari, this really speaks to your great tagline “Be determined.  Pursue simplicity.  Find balance…”  Love it!

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        Thank you for pointing that out. I had not thought of that while I was writing my comment. Maybe that means my tag line is really a part of who I am. I appreciate the observation.

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  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I have five kids.  And I’m in the located ministry.  There is no magic number for me…

  • http://amylynnandrews.com/ Amy Lynn Andrews

    Cool story: 

    There’s a couple in our church who recently started the process of “retiring to Florida” but abandoned their plan when they sensed God was calling them to something much different. 

    In the end, they retired to a country in the Middle East. Why? Because it’s a country where our church has sent several missionary families. Their role there is simply to be parents and grandparents to these missionary families. They spend their time encouraging, supporting, praying for, spending time with and loving on these families who are on the front lines doing hard stuff. I know it’s not easy for them as they’ve left everything they’ve known here in the States, but boy, what a way to finish their race and what a gigantic blessing to our entire church family.

    • http://amylynnandrews.com/ Amy Lynn Andrews

      My husband and I have no plans to retire either but expect to keep going as long as we can.  We have been greatly impacted by John Piper’s book Don’t Waste Your Life (you can download it for free here) as well as Randy Alcorn’s Money, Possessions and Eternity.
      For me, I have spent a lot of time pondering how retirement meshes with Matthew 6:34 (“Do not worry about tomorrow…”). We have struggled to know how much to save for retirement. My husband puts it  well when he says, “It’s so difficult to know how much we should save for needs we might have someday when we know so many who absolutely need it today.” We don’t want to be flippant or unwise, but it’s been challenging to know where the balance is.

      I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that our children are benefitted by us being present and involved now, rather than working like crazy only to slow down when they’re gone. Tim Ferriss addresses the idea of spreading out your retirement throughout your life in the 4-Hour Workweek and I have appreciated his thoughts even though he’s coming from a completely different perspective.

      I know I want to finish life spent (financially, spiritually, physically, etc.), meaning, I have had the privilege of being poured into by so many and I have so much that I would hate to die without having passed on as much of that on as I can. 

      • Rachel Lance

        That’s a great story about the couple in your church and a great perspective on finishing spent. Thanks for sharing!

  • DavidN

    My 20 years are gone and I couldn’t agree more.  Order your life to give your family the gift of time.

    As parents we build relationship with our kids a little bit at a time, at every age and stage of their lives.  There are no do-overs.  The time I miss with my son when he’s six can’t be made up when he’s ten.

    My kids are grown now, and the investment we made – in time and money – during the hands-on parenting years is paying dividends.

    Making the choice to limit my work hours and make my family a priority has NOT hurt me in my career.  I’ve got less money in my retirement account than all of the IRA experts say I should.  But my kids are becoming adults I admire.  That’s priceless.

  • Anoop

    Thanks Michael..for a thought provoking write-up :)

  • Rusty Castleman

    Retire early?  Give more time to your children when they’re young?  That’s not a choice you have to make.   Retiring early doesn’t mean you have to work like a maniac to make a lot of money as fast as possible.  Retirement is not a function of how much you make, but how carefully you spend what you do make, and how early you start investing.  I will retire at 60 and we plan to travel the world, doing short-term missions.  Retirement shouldn’t mean “stopping”.

  • http://www.christopherneiger.com/blog Chris Neiger

    Thanks so much for writing this. I’m a new dad and there is so much pressure in our culture to be “productive” in every area of our lives except with our families. Great to hear. 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s something I’m scared of when I become a father, Chris. That my priorities will become skewed and I won’t have enough time with my children.

      How are you setting boundaries to avoid that?

      • http://www.christopherneiger.com/blog Chris Neiger

        That’s a great question Joe. It’s one I’ve asked myself and others since my son was born. I’ve taken some tips from Jon Acuff and have planned the things I want to do (workout and write) around my family time.

        For example, today I got up at 5:30 and worked out then went to a coffee shop before work to write. My wife and son were still sleeping so I didn’t miss any family time. Since I did what I wanted to in the morning, I can spend my evening playing with my son before he goes to bed and then hang out with my wife as well. 

        If I do take significant chunks of time for other things, I talk with my wife about it to see how she feels. If she needs more time with me, then I make sure she gets it.

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          Thanks for sharing that Chris. It sounds like you’ve gotten your boundaries well established and are doing well. I hope to be able to do that as well once children come along.

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    Great post Russ and so true. What good would it be to save a whole bunch of money but not have a close relationship with your kids? The bible actually doesn’t tell us to retire, it doesn’t mean punching a clock for the rest of your life but doing some kind of activity (could be ministry). Tim Ferris says that if you find your “muse” why would you want to quit?

  • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

    None of this is currently applicable to me but it has strengthened my resolve that I don’t want to retire when I get old. I just want to keep on working!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Awesome Daren! I see you’re a musician and educator. That must be a blast!

      • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

        It’s not a normal life to say the least. And God has just blessed me with an amazing position as a casual teacher in an arts university. The stories that come from working with creative types in a uni setting and playing with musicians all over sydney are extraordinary.

  • toddh

    Very Amazing Great Inspirational Neato Awesome!

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    I like your line of thinking Russ. It always frustrates me when I see people so anxious to retire and do what they love. Be it spend time with family, travel, or volunteer.

    Just by setting boundaries and priorities, you can get the most out of your life now instead of the possibility of later. 

  • Grant Cullen

    Thanks Michael, this post has life changing implications for me and my family.

    • Grant Cullen

      Sorry Sean,
      Thanks

  • Kjreusser

    Sadly my husband is approaching retirement and we’re both
    earning far less than we were 10 years ago because of the economy. It scares me
    a lot to think of him not working full-time for at least 10 more years. But he
    wants to retire in 3 years. He could live another 30 years like his father
    did after retiring. That’s a long time to live on savings. I know this is a personal
    matter between my husband and me,  but it’s
    like what was said in the post – the life expectancy has raised considerably but the public has not changed its view of standard retirement age.
    If I can work, I’d like to do so  until I am 70 or so.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think the key is finding something you love, so that it doesn’t feel like work. You might want to check out Dan Miller’s book, 48 Days to the Work You Love.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1398138107 Dale William Melchin

    I think this is a great post!  The Book Thou Shalt Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin teaches a different concept.  We don’t want to think of the “magic number” as “retirement,” we want to think of it as the “not work as much, and spend more time doing stuff you love” age.  

    I personally will probably never “retire” in any sense of the word.  There is always something to do, and we should do it, or else we shrivel up and pass on.

    • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

      Rabbi Lapin shaped my views on retirement. I highly recommend his book.  The man has incredible insight into how the world works.

  • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

    Great post Russ. I have more than 20 years left, so I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.

    I read a book years ago by Gail Sheehy entitled “New Passages” where she maps out major life events that occur in each decade. Based on the interviews she had with people across the country (her book is the result of those interviews), life for most people actually improves in the latter years. I realized in reading her book that the things I experienced in my twenties and thirties were things that most people were struggling with as well. Staying connected and being in a loving marriage was an important aspect of having a good life in the retirement years, but most people’s picture of retirement was staying busy and active doing things they enjoyed. She also wrote “Men’s Passages,” which basically highlights her research on men. 

  • Groves01

    My husband & I are contemplating retirement – he’s 58 but lots of pain from 2 failed knee replacements.  We have discussed that we definitely do not want to sit at home, realizing the consequences of an inactive life.  We have a severely handicapped daughter (totally dependent) who we take everywhere with us. We are seeing Financial Advisors this week as we would like to be able to purchase a motor home and travel to locations where there have been disasters and help with cleanups.  That is a ministry that stays in my mind all the time. Life is short and we both want to give back for the blessings we have received. Hopefully we can do it!

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Russ! I have never thought about my retirement till now in my life. Though I am single and yet to start my family life, I struggle with the work-life balance. I beleive limiting our work hours really help us in drawing a line and make our life more simple and clutter free.  Love your both ideas. I wish to implement those in my life.

  • Marilyn

    I understand this post and as someone in my mid-50’s, I
    relate!

    It’s also worth discussing the collective implications of
    our generation’s decisions on younger co-horts. Right now, it’s very difficult
    for young people to enter my profession because there is no mandatory
    retirement age, defined-contribution pension plans have been decimated by
    negative market trends, and those of us with secure jobs are responding by
    working until 70+ instead of retiring at 65.

    Is the aggregate impact of our retirement decisions having a
    negative impact on the next generation? Or, can this this issue be ignored
    because the underlying problem  is a deficit of /innovation/new job
    creation?

  • Girasol83607

    Our bodies may allow us to work past 70 but our prejudices peg “old” at 40 (except in IT, where it’s 35).  Having been “early-retired” at 50 in a downsizing effort and landed overage in a declining job market opened my eyes. I found a good position but my job is not secure. People my age struggle to find work.  Will I be able to work past 70 as I’d like? As a culture we can’t keep saying that 40 is too old to work and 65 too young to retire.

  • thomas felmley

    Once we adopted our daughter, my wife, a dentist, and much wiser than me, decided that we were where we needed to be and she cut back to three days a week.  However, she plans to continue those three days a week as long as she can hold a dental mirror.
    We have our financial house in order, so it will not be a “need” to work, but she loves her job. 

    Find your God-given purpose and build a life around it.  It may not be easy, but it won’t be boring.

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com/ Chris Jeub

    I got some sobering advice from retired friends. They said they worked their entire lives toward retirement, but then when they finally got there, they didn’t have the energy to enjoy it. They’re advice was loud and clear: sieze the day.

  • Jessica Zirbes

    I read this just in time. My hubby and I are getting ready to start a family and will certainly keep this in mind. Thank Russ.

  • Francarona

    Dear Michael,
    My husband and I are both 66 and still working, although I just work 3 days per week.  He is looking forward to cutting back to three days next year.  We don’t see totally retiring anytime in our near future.  We still enjoy our careers and feel like working helps keep us young.  We are blessed in that we both have very flexible jobs that allow us to take several vacations a year and a long weekend whenever we want.  We have the best of both worlds and are not ready to give that up yet!

  • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

    Retirement? If you love your work, why retire? Living out our true vocation brings value, meaning, and significance to life.

    What’s more, I love your thoughts on investing in our families. Kathy (my wife) and I have done the same sort of things to invest in our family, and it has paid huge dividends. Our 3 kids, who are all currently teenagers, love our family. They really do, as do we.

  • http://www.itechrep.com/ Doug Layne

    I would like to consider that I will never retire. I will just change what I do from doing what others are asking me to accomplish to… doing what I would like to accomplish. 

  • http://www.CFinancialFreedom.com Dr. Jason Cabler

    My parents retired at 55 and I always thought I wanted to do the same.  They were well fixed for it financially and have really enjoyed it.  But I’ve decided that for me that may not work.  

    I may not work full time when I’m older, but I will need to be doing something productive that makes the world a better place and gives me a sense of worth.  I’ve seen way too many of my patients decline rapidly after retiring and certainly don’t want that happening to me.

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  • http://www.johngallagherblog.com John Gallagher

    I have 5 & 7 years respectively left with my 15 and 13 year old sons.  I have traveled a good deal in the past two years and am smack-dab in the middle of changing that and increasing my time with my sons in these important development years of their lives.  Being present with them is the most value-earning task I can do at this time.  Thanks for this post, Russ.

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