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Over the last year, working from home has become standard practice and many professionals now see more flexible options for how they live and work. If you are within 5-10 years of retirement, you may be rethinking the way in which you want to retire.

During the past decade, we have seen a growing number of people blurring the lines of what used to be well-defined chapters of work and retirement. The old idea of full-stop retirement – going from full-time employment to no employment – is now neither sustainable (people are living longer and must finance more years of retirement) nor desirable (sense of purpose may be lost).

More Semi-Retirement Possibilities

Today, the idea of delayed or semi-retirement is more relevant than ever. The pandemic has forced us to work differently, and thanks to modern technology, many of us are able to work remotely at home. The experience of more flexible workdays (via remote work) combined with the fact that people are living longer and crave a sense of true purpose makes semi-retired life preferable over full retirement. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13 million Americans age 65 and older will be in the labor force by 2024.

Enter the Victory Lap retirement, an opportunity to step out of the rat race of corporate life sooner and develop work/life balance at a younger age. A Victory Lap is a complete, all-round lifestyle that each person designs for him/herself. In your Victory Lap, you continue to work, but have the luxury of choosing opportunities that give you what you want (i.e., purpose, paycheck), when you want (i.e., flexible schedule). Some examples are consulting, teaching, contract work, starting a new job, working part time from home, and a passion project.

Benefits of a Victory Lap Retirement

A Victory Lap has many perks, including:

  • Less financial anxiety. Receiving a paycheck during your Victory Lap helps by postponing the day you start drawing from your retirement savings and receiving benefits from the government. This allows you to better finance your desired lifestyle and worry less about outliving your money.
  • A longer life. Numerous studies show that people who delay retirement live much longer than their fully retired counterparts.
  • Staying healthier longer. Retiring early increases your chances of intellectual atrophy and boredom.
  • Avoiding burnout from boredom. Boredom can be dangerous, leading to self-destructive behavior that accelerates the aging process and increases the odds of a short and unhappy retirement.

Start Planning Early

Smart Victory Lap “retirees” plan their exit from the corporate world well in advance. If done right and planned 3-5 years in advance, a Victory Lap retirement can help you live the way you want.

Knowing the answers to the following six questions will set you up for making good choices about how you can live a successful Victory Lap:

  1. What lifestyle do you envision for your retirement?
  2. How much will you need to spend in retirement to fund the lifestyle you envision?
  3. What is your financial independence “number?” In other words, how well funded are you to live your ideal retirement?
  4. Do you need to save? When do you have permission to stop saving?
  5. What is your need for earned income? Knowing how much income you will need each year (from all sources) will guide you in determining what work choices make sense for you in your Victory Lap.
  6. What is your strategy for healthcare? The top reasons people don’t take a Victory Lap are psychological (they’re afraid or don’t know how) and they don’t have their health insurance situation figured out.

It’s time to rethink retirement by replacing a one-size-fits-all retirement with a custom-tailored Victory Lap that fits your life and your preferences. It’s a bold idea, but many people have been successful in their Victory Lap retirement.

This article was co-written by Jakob Loescher

Robert E. Morrison Robert E. Morrison Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer

Rob has been coaching clients since 2001. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from DePaul University, is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, and co-authored “Victory Lap Retirement,” second edition.

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