A Priest, an Accountant and a Doctor 

A Priest, an Accountant and a Doctor 

You remember some of the old jokes that started with such a line?  Well in the last month I’ve had conversations with all 3 regarding their plans to retire and claiming of Social Security benefits.  What’s interesting is all 3 want to continue working, but at greatly reduced hours and responsibilities.  Welcome to the future………

Phased Retirement

It’s interesting is that these 3 individuals love their current professions, but they desire to eliminate certain aspects of their current responsibilities.  The priest loves saying Mass, but not all the responsibilities of managing a parish (staffing,  property maintenance, fund raising, >90 different ministries, etc.). My accountant friend just desires to spend more time with her husband on the coast, their children and  grandchildren, besides traveling while still while in their Go Go Years.  My doctor wants to spend time more time with his wife and sons without many of the same issues facing my priest (staffing, always on call, dealing with insurance companies, etc.).  What’s absolutely magnificent in their chosen professions is the ability to redefine their work schedules & desires as they Navigate their Back 9’s.

Paint by Numbers

Back in 2008 I attended a 3 day workshop in Dallas at the Halftime Institute.  The institute is a non- profit organization that helps, partners and consults with individuals making the transition from the Front 9 to the Back 9.  The Front 9 of life is that time where you did what you thought you were supposed to do as defined by parents, society and friends.  I call this the Paint by Numbers Phase of Life, you went to school, you got a degree, you got a job, fell in love, got married, bought a house, had kids, raised kids, etc. and before you know it you either reached retirement years or you had a mid-life crisis and started wondering about the meaning of life and what you really really really wanted to do with the rest of yours!

Blank Slate

What I learned in the workshop in Dallas is that the Back 9 is a Blank Slate.  The ability to look at my life, where I am, what I’ve accomplished to date, what I desire to do going forward.  Each one of us is designed by our creator and given certain unique gifts, unlike anyone else who has ever walked on the face of the earth.  No one is like you and there will never be anyone like you.  The Back 9 is the ability to draw the picture you wish to draw for your future.  This is your chance, this is your opportunity, this is your mission!  There are No Mulligans in life, we have but one life to live so we best live it wisely.

WISH 4 Purpose

What’s great about the 3 individuals mentioned above and many of us as well,  is that we have the ability to take inventory of where we are at financially for this journey and then decide how best to use these 4 components on our journey on the Back 9.  They are;

  • WORK – as in the cases above we can design, structure and negotiate an income stream to offset our expense. I had an engineer call me yesterday wanting to update the Social Security analysis I prepared for him several years ago.  He gave 5 month notice and they came back an offered him a consulting agreement that fits his schedule.  Work also helps offset any income deficiency thus allowing people to still delay Social Security until age 70.
  • INVESTMENTS – this is where most people put their entire focus on as it relates to retirement planning. With the market down 15% YTD many potential retirees have rethought their retirement date and have pushed their plans back until the market corrects.
  • SOCIAL SECURITY – I still recommend that the higher earning spouse, delaying their benefits until age 70. Thus, using a combination of Work – Investments – Lower earning spouse claiming might allow this delay option to be implemented.
  • HOUSING WEALTH – 2/3 of most retiree’s net worth is in in their homes and with the booming real estate prices, we’ve had over the last several years the use of a HECM – Reverse Mortgage might be most prudent and should be explored. I especially like the option of using it to set up a Non Callable, Non Cancelable Line of Credit that can be used in conjunction with W-I-S.

Upcoming Book

Back in June I had ankle surgery, thus I’ve been relatively stationary and unable to drive or do much of anything but read, write and think while it heals.  I decided to turn lemons into lemonade, this time out has given me the opportunity to finish a book I started 12 years ago.  Hopefully by year end I’ll have it out and ready for you to read.  The topic will revolve around Navigating Your Back 9 Successfully.

Happy Football Season – Go Pack Go!

Dave Zander, CFP®
MLS# 1603774