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Take Your Best Shot
A framework for making decisions about your retirement
I came across something in my reading the other day that at first seemed mundane, but then I got to thinking about it. It’s actually kind of profound. It said: “you only get one shot at this life, so take your best one.” It’s true. And if you can figure out your best shot, there’s no reason not to take it. In fact, it’s imperative that you do. To not take that shot is to live with regrets later on. I’m going to take you through my thought process on this as it relates to retirement. Hang on. Sometimes my thoughts are a bumpy ride!
What are you aiming for?
In order to take your best shot, obviously you have to decide what your target is. The best place to look for your target is among your values. What’s important to you? Is it family? Health? Social impact? My friend Russ writes a fabulous newsletter at email@example.com. If you haven’t checked it out, you should. In one of his newsletters he told us about a tool to help you really narrow down and define your values. You can find it here.
Below is my result. These are my Top 10 values. (My Top 5 are on the top row.) OK, so now I’m clear what I’m shooting for.
It’s time to take your best shot.
All of the questions that I get asked in my conversations with people about retirement can now be answered by asking “what’s your best shot?”
“Jeri, when should I retire?”
What’s your best shot? Do you value health so much that you’re aiming to be a top competitor in Iron Man competitions? Maybe waiting until you are 75 to retire is not your best shot. Do you value status and aim to be a deep, well known expert in your field? Maybe waiting a few more years so you can really cultivate your network makes sense so you can truly take your best shot.
“How much money do I need to retire?”
What’s your best shot? Do you value family above all and aim to be a fabulous mother and grandmother? Maybe your budget will be mostly ice cream cones and plastic park toys so you’ll need less in retirement. Like me, adventure may be a value and (unlike me) you are aiming to be a world traveler? You may need a few more bucks under your belt before you call it a career.
“How will I fill all of my time in retirement?”
You get the drill by now. Ask yourself “what’s my best shot?” If mindfulness is a value, find meditation classes in your area, research wellness retreats and find books on mindful eating, walking, and living. Is service a value you’re aiming for? Research volunteer opportunities, network with like-minded people in non-profits or government jobs.
Personally, my values include adventure and achievement. BOY, did my job deliver on those values for many (25+) years! That is, until my last role at my company. That one was neither adventurous nor did it hold much opportunity for achievement. I wasn’t working with people that I enjoyed and I wasn’t even sure what I was tasked with doing was in the best interests of the company (so my values of relationships and integrity weren’t being fulfilled, either). I could no longer take my best shot in my role. Thankfully, the timing of that role aligned with the time that my financial situation could support my retirement. So, I retired and now I’m taking my best shot starting a businesses (adventure, achievement), and having the time of my life with my friends (relationships, health)!
Find your target and take your best shot!
See how this works? Choose your target! Then, don’t be afraid to take your best shot, even if it’s not what anyone else is aiming for.