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Lonny, When Are You Going to Retire?

retirementWith increasing frequency I am often asked the $64,000 question (showing my age with that reference). The question is:

“Lonny, when are you going to retire?”

The honest answer is:
“Not a clue. Not on my radar screen.”

I realize that as a consultant,  I am in different employment strata than most folk. I do not have a “job” and haven’t for 20 years. I have clients. Good clients, clients who I like, respect and take pleasure in their success. Bottom line is that I like to work, so I do.

I will continue to work as long as:
1. I am mentally sharp
2. My skills can help their business
3. My health is good
4. I feel like it
5. My current clients (or new ones) feel I provide value

I am 5 for 5 for the moment, but we all know a health curve-ball might be around the corner—for any of us.

However, the issue of retirement for those who are employed by a “company” is tougher and a little more black and white. You work and then when you retire, you leave. In the corporate world, at some point you retire or you “get retired”—it’s the Business Circle of Life.

In yesteryear, one worked into their 60s, sometimes until 65, retired, and got a gold watch, a cake and went off and then passed away just a few years later. With a 70-year life expectancy back then, there were realistically few post-employment “golden” years. However, today’s 65-year old on average has 20 years of tread left (and some have more). Where will I fall in that spectrum? No idea obviously.

But I do know this about myself:
1. I don’t like golf
2. I like visiting Florida, but not for extended periods
3. I like the diversity of my current life
4. I still have a lot to give my clients (he says, humbly)
5. I like New Jersey, despite its drawbacks
6. I really like Yankee Stadium and attend Yankees games as often as I can (have bought tickets for 30 games this year—perhaps I will get to 20—and more in October I pray!)
7. We like seeing our children who work in NYC.

Things change and my feelings could as well (though not for my Bronx Bombers). But for now, the answer to when are you going to retire. “No time soon”. But for those of you who are considering retirement, be sure to think it thorough as there are many issues for your consideration:

1. Can you afford to retire?
2. Have you done a long-term financial plan–will your money last another 30 years?
3. Have you reduced/eliminated debt (a good thing for all ages)?
4. Have you assumed significant medical expenses in the future, assuming the need for assisted care in the latter years of life (that’s on you—Medicare doesn’t cover that)
5.  What will you do with your time? This is really important. Think deeply about this.
6.  Where will you live?

If you have thought these through and are ready to retire, go for it.

But not for me. Or not for the foreseeable future. Go Yankees.




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2 Comments

  1. Mike Crowther says:

    Lonny-
    As I mentioned before, I – your faithful birthday twin – am retiring at the end of this year.
    I’m doing it primarily for another reason that’s not on your list: If you have REALLY good talent on your team, you’re eventually going to lose them if you don’t give them the opportunity to drive the boat. I worked hard to build the best crew I’ve ever had, and I don’t want them to jump ship.
    For those of us in the nonprofit sector, our first priority should be the best interests of our institutions, rather than our own. If we’re not servant-leaders, we should not work for what are often known as “public-benefit corporations.” In order to best serve my institution, I needed to give my board a solid transition plan, and that included specifying my endgame.
    The outcome is that we have a great succession program in its final stages; a committed, well-prepared and well-integrated successor in place while I’m still sitting on the edge of the pool, ready to dive in if needed; and an organization that’s not wondering if its next CEO is going to institute a radical change in direction.

    • Lonny Strum says:

      You are the man, Mike. Wise here in the east as well as Indy. Maybe consulting is your next chapter? Allows for a variable work schedule, lots of flexibility, and good clients are usually very grateful. We could consult together under the “Separated Twins” moniker, or perhaps not. In any event, all my best for your next chapter.

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