“Age to me means nothing. I can’t get old; I’m working. I was old when I was twenty-one and out of work. As long as you’re working you stay young. Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.” George Burns 1896-1996
One of the most unsettling aspects of the recent 2008-2009 economic downturn is the fact that many people on the horizon of their golden years have just had about 50% of their retirement portfolios wiped out. Hard-earned money put into 401(k)’s, IRA accounts, stocks and bonds or market funds as per the advice of a trusted advisor – virtually gone overnight! Not only have huge sums been erased, but now companies affected by the recession have frozen access to employee 401(k) accounts! Who knew? (401(k)’s Hit Withdrawal Freezes – Wall Street Journal May 5, 2009)
If that wasn’t bad enough, those depending on Social Security benefits to make ends meet just got some bad news. For the first time in 30 years they will not get their COLA (cost of living adjustments) for 2010 and 2011. Older Americans on fixed incomes who received a 5.8% COLA increase in 2009 will be hard pressed to keep up with the cost of living going forward. (Social Security Benefits not Expected to Rise in ’10 New York Times May 2, 2009)
Oh well so much for thinking it was your money in the first place! Reality paints us an entirely different picture.
Most Americans have worked through the prime of their lives with one eye looking forward to that magical moment when they could leave it all behind to golf, fish, garden and spend time with their grand-kids. While many suffered through jobs they hated hours away from their families shouldering stress of professional responsibilities they didn’t really care about, retirement provided the carrot to cross the finish line.
Unfortunately that carrot is hard to find these days since retirement as a social concept is in its sunset years. The writing has been on the wall since the 90’s with pension plans discontinued or bankrupted and jobs sent to other countries. The 2008-09 recession has shifted the retirement scenario from bad to worse. Even so, the majority of Americans prefer to keep their fingers crossed in hopes they might be the ones that make it through the window of retirement before it closes forever. Lest we forget, the employer of last resort, the federal government, continues to dangle a healthy-pension carrot.
The good news is that an alternative already exists. Retirement’s 21st century extreme make-over is REINSPIREMENT. Reinspirement has been born from the ashes of the exponential loss of purchasing power in a debt-based monetary system.It is an idea whose time has come. Similar to conventional wisdom that tells us to begin retirement saving when we are young, reinspirement offers a similar journey of a lifetime.
In order to access a comfortable independent life in later years, the willingness to re-tool how we think about money and plan for the future is called for. Reinspirement asserts that you (with the help of friends, colleagues and professionals) can design and implement a work-path to fulfill current and future needs starting simply from where you are and what you have today.
Life-long cash flow is the name of the game but it does not necessarily mean life-long hard work. Part of the challenge of reinspirement is to learn how to leverage your hard assets (not fantasy digital numbers on a statement) to work for you into the future. Each person’s unique talents, interests, assets and skills offer the key to unlock and unfold a customized reinspirement strategy.
A commitment to reinspirement means you will blaze a trail beyond current societal expectations about when to hang up your saddle; i.e. when private monies will stop flowing into your life. Should you accept this mission, you will lead by example to provide a critically-needed role model for future generations. Since given a central-banking system, the value of currency will continue to be devalued. That means young people will need viable options for their later years even more than we do.