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Are We There Yet?

February 26, 2023

Whether your parents were driving, or you were shuttling your own family on a road trip, we’ve all heard the age-old question, “Are we there yet?”

As an adult, we know the details and timing of a trip, but kids just can’t comprehend it. No matter if you give them a time frame for arrival or a visual like, “When you see a giant body of water… or miles of sand, then you will know we are there.”

But even with these cues, they still ask, which is interesting because they really aren’t asking. Instead, they are making a statement about their current situation. They may be either bored, uncomfortable, annoyed by a sibling or tired of playing car bingo or watching movies. And quite frankly, simply telling them how much longer it’s going to be, isn’t enough… no matter how many times you say it.

This phenomenon can also take place with people as they approach retirement. They get this, “Are we there yet,” mentality about life after work. Similar to kids on a trip, they may not just be asking if they have enough saved but also expressing their fears and concerns about making the transition.

Woman sitting in adult classroom with students in background

As you might expect, the more times someone asks or alters their retirement date, the more worried or anxious they may be about the transition. Reality is, there are no big marquees, welcome centers, or oceans that signify that you have arrived and it’s time to unpack. That nebulous nature of retirement can be one of the factors that holds people back from retirement.

Good news is that being nervous or anxious about the transition is a good first sign. It suggests you are thinking things through and not just assuming it will all magically work out.

A second consideration is to read more on the topic of retirement transitions. There are a growing number of books that talk about more than the financial aspects of life after work. In fact, we have one available for free on our website for clients titled, Reframing Retirement Guidebook.

Finally, people who are concerned about the transition can find a mentor, or someone who has spent the last 3-5 or more years in retirement. They can serve as a great source of knowledge and help you avoid falling into common traps.


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