It was confusing and frustrating because, after his kids had all left home and he’d paid off the mortgage, he still had to put in another ten years – grinding away and slowly paying down the debts on his practice – so that he would have enough equity to retire comfortably and travel.
Now he wondered if all that hard work was worth it.
After all those years of working and dreaming about traveling, he missed his career. He’d lost his social identity and missed being a respected member of the community too.
So, what did Dr. Jack do?
Instead of reopening his practice, he joined a traveling medical service and filled in for doctors who were on vacation.
What a difference!
Dr. Jack still got to travel all over the U.S., which he loved. He also got to be a doctor again, which he missed.
However, now he picks and chooses which weeks he wants to work, has plenty of time to focus on other areas of his life that are important to him, and he only "works" when he feels like it.
It’s the best of both worlds: He experiences all the benefits of retirement and enjoys all the things he missed about his work.
There are two “takeaways” to this story:
First, although he thought he needed to “retire” in the traditional sense, it turned out he only needed an extended vacation and to rebalance his life. After taking some time off and traveling the world, he was ready to return to what he always loved.
Second, after some investigation and working through the homework that I gave him, he discovered that traditional “retirement” wasn’t his only option.
With a little introspection and exploration of possibilities, he realized there were many ways for him to enjoy his “retirement” – ways that he’d never considered and that nobody had ever mentioned to him before.
Now he had options that were far more attractive, exciting, and fulfilling.
What is more…
Instead of grinding away for that decade to build up enough equity to retire and never work again, he could have become a traveling doctor years ago. He also might have had more energy to enjoy traveling. (Not that he's not enjoying it now!).
Can you relate to Dr. Jack's story?
Maybe you’ve been sold the idea of “retirement” by the financial services industry, and perhaps you’ve always believed it was the only option for your golden years.
If so, then I hope Dr. Jack’s story inspires you and offers you food for thought.
Do you have a retirement dream too? Are you still grinding away to make it happen someday? Could there be another way to continue doing work you find meaningful, but still do all the things you’ve been saving for retirement?
If you knew that other options were available, would you want to know more about how to make them a reality?
I encourage you to give these questions some thought over the next few days, while I share two more stories with you – because I have something to tell you about later that can help you take these thoughts further.