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://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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