Meet “Jack.” He was a potential client of mine in the late 90s. At that time, I was about 5 years into my career and had little experience dealing with retirees. Jack worked for a large oil company, was in his early 50s and just received a “golden parachute,” i.e. an early retirement offer. The offer was over $500,000 just for him to walk away from his career.
After asking all of the normal questions such as his risk, goals, fears and dreams, I stumbled upon a question I had never asked a potential retiree before… “Are you mentally ready to retire?”
Jack looked at me with a puzzled look. I could tell immediately he had never been asked this question before. He looked at me and I noticed tears streaming down his face. He paused for a moment, looked me straight in the eye and said, “No.”
It was at this moment that I realized, that no matter how much money someone may be offered to retire on the company’s terms, not theirs, it didn’t really matter.
I asked Jack to explain why he was not mentally ready to retire. He wiped the tears from his face and went into a lengthy explanation. Being in his prime earning years, for most, Jack was on the fast track of his career with this oil company. He had hundreds of people that reported directly to him. Jack had a purpose in life. He was responsible for accomplishing the goals the company gave him, but more importantly he thrived on being wanted by his group.
Jack went on to explain his fear in greater detail. I asked him what he meant about being wanted by his group. He said that these two hundred employees relied upon him for his leadership, goal-setting abilities and his uncanny ability to solve problems. The tears started again.
As I dug deeper into his inner mind, he revealed to me that if he retires early, and cannot find another job with this level of responsibility, then no one would need him. Jack was married with two teenage children. I asked if he felt his family would need him and he said they would, but it wouldn’t be the same. It was at this moment that I realized that no amount of money can entice someone to retire if they are not mentally ready to retire.
We as human beings need to be wanted. We need a purpose to get out of bed every day. Up until this point, I had always thought that if someone was offered a large enough sum of money to retire early, the attraction would be enough to retire. I must not be alone in this thought process, since this is why companies routinely offer golden parachutes to employees.
Isn’t retirement the reward at the end of a successful career? No more alarm clock or bosses telling you what you can and cannot do. No more Sunday night stomach aches, knowing that come Monday morning, it all starts again.
As my career has progressed nearly 25 years, I have asked this question hundreds of times: “Are you mentally ready to retire?” Each time that I present it, I still obtain that same puzzled look that Jack gave me. Most advisors have probably never asked this question so it shocks people when they hear it.
I have learned over my career that no matter how much money a person may have, it really doesn’t mean much if their life is shallow with no purpose.
You may be asking, “Now wait a minute Jon, how can life be miserable if I have millions of dollars saved for my retirement, so much money that I can do whatever I want?”
It’s very simple and it comes back to my initial point, that we all need a purpose in life.
Whether it’s knowing we are needed by our employees, clients or friends and family, we just need a purpose. We as human beings need to be needed. If we are not, we shrivel up and die.
Let me give you an example. I have had many clients over the years that have done everything right.
They worked hard, put their kids through college, saved aggressively and were able to retire in their early in life. Suddenly, one of the spouses contracts a disease. The couple goes through hell for a couple of years, and then the spouse passes away. The survivor still has her millions of dollars, but for what? To travel alone? To wake up each and every day with no one beside her in bed? This is my point.
We all need a purpose in life and we need to be wanted.
Not to sound chauvinistic, but I find this much more common with men than I do women.
Maybe because us men are more egotistical and we want people to need us. I find this in my own marriage. My wife is much more of the behind-the-scenes person. I, on the other hand, like to be out front. She could retire at any time and never feel she is unwanted. Myself…well
I am still like Jack. At 52 years old, and even though my firm has a high focus on working with retirees, retirement scares me. I find myself always wanting to be needed by clients, employees, friends and family. I don’t know if this feeling will ever go away. My fear is that it won’t, and I will find myself being one of those 75 year-old stockbrokers still coming to the office every day. Not because I have to monetarily, but because I need to be wanted.
Will you and I ever be mentally ready to retire? Only time will tell. Unfortunately, we can train our brains to do a lot of things but I am not sure if the world of mental health can help solve the question…”Am I mentally ready to retire?”
Jon Sanchez is a registered representative offering securities and advisory services through Independent Financial Group, LLC (IFG), a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. OSJ Branch: 12671 High Bluff Drive Suite 200 San Diego, CA 92130. Sanchez Wealth Management, LLC and IFG are not affiliated entities. CA Insurance Lic. #0772626.
Jon G. Sanchez is the CEO of Sanchez Wealth Management, LLC, located in Reno, Nevada. He is the host of the Jon Sanchez Radio Show heard each day on Newstalk 780 KOH as well as an author of The 3 Pillars of Life, a speaker, cattle rancher, volunteer firefighter, a husband and father of three beautiful children. He can be reached at email@example.com or (775)-800-1801.
© 2022 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.