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?
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:
- 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.
- 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?