Picture Your Retirement in HD

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by: Cory Carlton

A friend told me this story the other day when he was in Costco. He was walking past the TVs and stopped next to a few other guys to look at one of the newest TVs available. The picture was so clear. He told me that he played football in college and he could not even see the blades of grass like he could on this new TV. 

The first guy made an audible, “Oooo.” So did the next two guys and my friend did not want to break the chain, so he let out an “Oooo,” too, as they all stood amazed at the high-definition TV.

That got me thinking about people planning for retirement. Generally, when we ask what people will do in retirement, they say they want to travel, spend more time with family, or pick up a new hobby. Then the dream stops.

Sure, some people know where they want to go but don’t know much beyond that. When planning and saving for retirement you need to be dreaming in HD.

You need to be able to see the blades of grass on the football field (or pitch if we’re talking about the other kind of football). So, what are your blades of grass when it comes to your future and your retirement? The motivation to get there will intensify when your picture is clear and your goals are set.

Let me walk you through a conversation I recently helped a client with dreaming in HD…

I asked them what they wanted to do in retirement. They responded with the classic, “We want to travel.” 

“Great! Where to?” I asked. They looked at each other and then back at me and at the same time replied with, “Iceland!” I think that sounds great and got me thinking of going there too. My next set of questions is what got them thinking…

“What are you going to do when you get there?” I asked. They plan to “see the sights” as they say. I probed a bit more by asking, “What sights exactly?” I want to know what specifically they are going to do. I want them to make it real for me. Because if it’s real for me then I know it is more real for them.

They mentioned they wanted to see some of the famous beaches. So, I asked some more questions…

“What are you going to do when you get there?”

“Are you going to walk up and down the sand?”

“Are you going to dip your toes in the cold water?

“Whose hands are you going to be holding?”

“What’s one thing you want to do at that beach.”

When I had this conversation with my friend who has a new TV he had a great picture of what he wants his future and his retirement to look like.

He said that he wants to take he wants to take his kids and grandkids to Disney World. He wants to look up at the castle and feel the sticky hands of his grandchildren in his hands. He wants to do better and more as a grandfather than he was able to as a father. 

He painted the picture. I could almost smell the turkey legs as he described what he wanted to do. His picture, and his goals, are clear. When we’re helping people plan we want to know these kinds of details.

So, think about what you want to do. Where do you want to go. Who do you want with you in the future. Here are some questions to help you think this through…

Where are you going to go?

What’s the first thing you are going to do?

What experiences do you want to have when you are there?

Whose hands will you hold?

What do you want to feel?

What do you want the people with you to feel?

What new hobby do you want to try?

What will that new hobby allow you to do? To create?

What memories do you want to create?

What do you want your legacy to be?

Retirement looks different for everyone. For some, it will begin sooner. Others may not retire but enjoy more of a “work-optional” lifestyle. The reality is that your next phase of life could be anywhere between 30 and 50 years long. 

Make sure you have a plan. Make sure you know what you want to do and achieve during that time. 

Get a clear picture and dream in HD.