"I don't believe in retirement," said author, motivational speaker and consultant Mitch Anthony.
"Retirement is kind of imposed upon us when we reach a certain age number," said Anthony. Speaking to this reporter from his home office in Minnesota by phone, he believes that one of the first issues older people approaching retirement must face is a dialog-communication on what they want the rest of their life to be. "Having that type of dialog and building a relationship with the future, (such as what we are going to do with our time and how much money is needed to live comfortably?) These two questions are critical, he noted.
On February 17, the 4th Edition of Anthony's book "The New Retire-Mentality:" Planning your life and living your dreams at any age you want,"
will officially be released by booksellers John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Initially written in 2001, his main goal was to get the point across that "retirement is an unnatural act," as he put it. Being forced into or in some instances coaxed into retirement creates an existential crisis. "Especially for men, he said, because traditionally a man's existence is defined by the work he does." As the founder and CEO of Advisor Insights,
Anthony knows well and has provided talks about all the phases and conditions of retirement to thousands of people.
Anthony also acknowledged that this "being defined by work" or career also impacts women too, especially now as more and more women are the primary bread-winner for themselves and their families. "When I first started speaking on this topic of retirement more than a decade ago and presented my point of view about it, people would look at me cock-eyed, but now they get it," he said.
"Pensions are a thing of the past," said Zack Clow, regional Vice President of Northern California for Invesco.
Back in November of 2013, he was the guest speaker at the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 21 for Edward Jones Investments financial adviser Daren Blonski.
Clow made use of a workbook based upon Anthony's concepts and philosophy outlined in "The New Retire-Mentality." The audience present for that evening with Clow all agreed retirement is not what it used to be and as the decades roll by, ideas about retirement are going to continue to change.
Blonski, later said to this reporter by phone that in his work as a financial advisor the issue he faces most when helping people with their retirement ideas is "the sense of entitlement." "The ideal or frame of mind that someone else or the government will provide some retirement income is foolish." Blonski noted that at present there are over 85 million people in the baby-boomer generation and the sense of entitlement in our culture is unrealistic." He described the current situation as "an interesting paradox" within our American contemporary culture.
Aware of the shifting social demographics, Blonski quickly pointed out, "yes, there is a difference between one generation to the next, but rather than characterize or 'demonize' one generation over another, I recognize the obvious life stages," he said. "People in their 20's are going to be more care-free and a bit careless with money than people in their 30s and 40's," he said. "Their stages of life and the responsibilities that each stage brings, dictates what will be required financially." For example, someone in their 30's is getting married, having a child, seeking to buy a home, etc. The focus has changed from college days of partying all night and living for spring break, to working hard to save for the future.
"My work is to help people realize that saving money and setting something up for retirement as soon as possible is far better than no plan or an assumption that all will work itself out all by itself." Blonksi like others believes that future health-care costs will be a tremendous strain on everyone's finances. This is why people need to start saving and setting money aside as early as possible. "A person needs to set goals and recognize the reality," he said.
Anthony would agree for he was as the saying goes, "ahead of the curve." He could see things were changing. By nature Anthony is a self-made man, who has worked in more than one field and has reinvented himself many times. As an individual who not only thinks outside the box, Anthony strives to actually see where a future is going. "I deal with looking at outcomes and discerning where things are going." "When you take a moment to really think about retirement, especially a comfortable one, what a person in retirement is dealing with is a subtle progression of ease."
When Anthony speaks of ease, he means in the sense that a retired person has no pressing schedule or goals other than to 'relax and enjoy.' "That's all wonderful for about the first year or so, after initial retirement," he said. "Yet once that person has been around the world, slept in on countless mornings through out the year, and has a slow pace in motion, then what?"
"This type of ease in retirement, Anthony said, will only lead to problems, such as failing health, boredom and loss of purpose." Anthony also noted that many people, even those with plenty of funds, end up spending money in such a way that puts their retirement future at risk. "Spending, ah, that is a huge topic, because it leads into other issues such as health, goals, purpose, etc. "People must be cautious of just buying stuff and having lots of play time," he said. "Leisure can only go so far and only do so much, I advocate for the 'un-retirement' trend," he said.
Anthony holds steadfast and rather aggressively to the idea that retirement needs purpose. "Institutionally, retirement has pushed people into obsoletes." "Traditional concepts don't resonate anymore," he said. Anthony also thinks that current trends in "assisted living" or "retirement communities" only add to a person's sense of isolation and dependence.
As a baby boomer he confronted the notion of the "me-decade." "Let's turn that around it is not as selfish and negative as some would think" Anthony sees it this way, "Me-decade (people) = autonomous." "My autonomy (independence-freedom) in retirement needs to be paid for. He like Zack Clow of Invesco understands that the days of pension plans and packaged retirement benefits provided by a company or employer are gone. To learn more about Mitch Anthony and his book "The New Retire-Mentality," visit his web site.