4 Obstacles That Will Keep You from a Happy, Fulfilled Retirement

Interview with Chris Hogan

Episode Description

You’ve probably heard statements like these on the radio:

“The average working household has virtually no retirement savings.”

Then you skip to another channel — even if your retirement account is near-to-nihl and your 20-year high school reunion happened a long time ago.

There’s a reason for this. In the marketing world, we know that people think of their future self as another human being. So when there’s talk about retirement, you just can’t emotionally connect with it. That financial calamity is going to happen to some other older person. Not you.

That’s dangerous thinking. You’re going to retire someday. And we’re not talking about just a few years of your life. People are living longer. More people will live to 100 than ever. So you might be in financial stress for a good 20 to 25 years of your life if you don’t make some changes. Worse, you could end up becoming a burden to the people you love the most.

As the wit Max Asnas points out:

“Money is something you got to make in case you don’t die.”

I know I haven’t painted a pretty picture, but I’ve got some good news. Chris Hogan, the author of Retire Inspired, is joining me on the podcast today. He calls his book “America’s wake-up call” and his goal is to motivate you to think about retirement now and think about it differently.

From our conversation, I’ve pulled out four obstacles that get in the way of you taking smart and thoughtful measures to prepare for retirement and summarized them here for you.

But there’s more wisdom in the podcast than I can possibly recap for you here. I also dig from Chris some of the steps you need to set yourself up for retirement so make sure you listen to the entire episode this week.


Obstacle #1: Misunderstanding Retirement

As I’ve said before, most people think of retirement as happening to somebody else. But that’s probably because we’re thinking about retirement all wrong. It’s negative or a scary unknown that makes us uncomfortable.

Chris says a lot of people see retirement as the end, but you should see it as the beginning.

Chris says a lot of people see retirement as the end, but you should see it as the beginning.

“If you do retirement right, you’re going to have more of two things than you’ve ever had before in your life,” he explains. “You’re going to have more time and more money.”

If we start to envision retirement as a chance to fulfill some of our dreams, we may be more motivated to plan for it. Whether you long to do charity work, participate in the civic activity in your community, spend more time with your family, or travel to Venice or Patagonia, you should be looking forward to these years.

Stop thinking of retirement as a negative. It will play a large and important role in your life. With a clear image of a successful retirement in your mind, you’ll naturally steer your life toward that goal.

Obstacle #2: Relying On Social Security

Gone are the good ol’ days when people could rely on government payouts for the remainder of their retirement.

No one is going to take care of yours truly except yours truly. If you face that squarely, then you’ll make better decisions about preparing for your future.

Even though most people are aware of this, Chris says that they still are unpleasantly surprised when they realize just how little it will supplement their retirement savings. The truth is social security payouts are well below the poverty line. The average yearly distributions are about $16,000 a year which equates to about $1,333 a month, Chris explains. And these numbers are destined to get worse.

The upshot is we have to change the way we see social security as fitting into our retirement plan. “I call it icing on the cake,” Chris says. If it comes through, awesome. But don’t count on it.

No one is going to take care of yours truly except yours truly. If you face that squarely, then you’ll make better decisions about preparing for your future.

Obstacle #3: Following What Everybody Else Is Doing

Chris calls this obstacle “acting like sheep.”

Sheep are stupid creatures, he explains. If one sheep wanders off a cliff, the others will follow.

It’s not a pleasant comparison.

But acting like sheep may be an appropriate metaphor for the way we spend our money if we try to keep up with the Jones’. Sure, your neighbors, friends and relatives are probably enjoying their money right now. They’ve got that boat or motorcycle. They’ve gone on those cool vacations that rock their Instagram world.

But we’ve got to see those purchases in a different light. If you’re not careful you can get caught up in giving in to what you want now at the expense of saving for the future. Don’t lose sight of what paying interest means.

There’s a difference between having stuff and stuff having you.

“Five minutes of stupid on a car lot means you leave for home with a car payment,” Chris explains. “That $595 car payment would become $95,000 if it were invested over five years.”

That’s a pretty expensive car.

Neither Chris nor I are telling you to drive a junker until it dies. I mean, I enjoy cool stuff as much as anyone. I’ve got an upgraded ‘70s Landcruiser in my garage that I love to drive. And a motorcycle. But I’ve got money in my retirement account too. And I wouldn’t be buying that stuff unless I did.

Chris reminds us that there’s a difference between having stuff and stuff having you. If you spend all your money now, you’re setting yourself up for a retirement that’s full of worry and anxiety. It’s just not worth it. Don’t follow people over the cliff of overspending. Smarten up and plan for the future.

Obstacle #4: Not Having a Plan

Remember Y2K?

For those millennials who are too young to remember, a lot of people in 1999 believed the world was going to end when all of our computers changed over to the year 2000.

People prepared for it. They stocked up on food and survival kits. They made plans with friends and family about what they would do when the catastrophe hit. But nothing happened. It was so overblown.

Retirement is different than Y2K, Chris points out, because it’s going to happen. Yet, most people ignore it. A recent survey revealed that over half of the study population has less than $100,000 in their retirement account and one-third of those people have less than a thousand!

Chris hopes people will get around this obstacle and start planning. He points out how people spend a month planning for a week’s vacation but they still haven’t thought about their ultimate vacation — the last 20 to 25 years of their lives.

People spend a month planning for a week’s vacation but they still haven’t thought about their ultimate vacation — the last 20 to 25 years of their lives

For some of you, these great points aren’t enough to spur you on to make some changes. If that’s the case, then consider the people you love. You would never wish to become a burden to them. You may be one of the lucky ones who can take care of yourself until you die in your sleep. But there’s a slew of not-so-lucky scenarios that can drain your family financially. Think about them.

Start asking about what you do to be ready for retirement. And if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the people you love.


Don’t let any of these obstacles trip you up on the road to retirement. You owe it to yourself and your family to spend your golden years free of worry and anxiety.
Just a reminder, in the podcast, Chris gives us the steps we need to start working our plan. Listen to it sometime this week and you’ll be on your way to a secure, exciting retirement.

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