Last year, my French teacher, who was nearing retirement, asked our class what mental image popped into our heads when we thought of retirement. He volunteered that his retirement vision was spending time at his cottage while immersing himself in nature. He went onto explain that he had even starting to convince his wife of the merits of selling their house in the city. Although I immediately thought of my wife and I holding hands while lounging on a white sand beach, I don’t think that mental image represents an accurate retirement vision.
The easy answer when someone asks what you plan to do when you retire is to tell them you’ll do more of the things you enjoy doing, while eliminating the tasks you dislike. Using that logic, I’d like to travel, read, write, analyze investments, and work out more, while eliminating commuting, meetings without purpose, stressful work, and conducting difficult home maintenance/renovation activities. Although very factual, that list is hardly motivational and could apply to almost anybody.
Sadly, I lack a compelling retirement vision. As interesting as I find other people’s plans for travelling the world, living in a recreational vehicle, designing and building their dream house, or running a marathon in every state, none of their retirement visions speak to me. Don’t get me wrong, I respect and support other people’s dreams, I just can’t be passionate about them.
As an introspective introvert, my inability to create a compelling retirement vision bothers me. The things I feel most passionate about, such as my love for my wife and son, and my desire to make their lives as comfortable and fulfilling as I possibly can, don’t necessarily translate into a compelling retirement vision that would justify the amount of time, energy, and money I put towards realizing financial independence. Luckily, not having a compelling retirement vision hasn’t stopped me from aggressively pursuing the nebulous destination of retirement.
As mentioned various times here, and most recently in my Thanksgiving post, I find the stories, journeys, and goals of fellow dividend and personal finance bloggers very inspiring. If you’re brave enough to share what your vision of retirement is, and why that’s your dream, I’d love to hear your thoughts.