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Left Brain or Right Brain Retirement

March 9, 2023


It’s fascinating how the brain works. How it helps us process information, make critical decisions, avoid problems, be outgoing or creative, and engage with others. As many of you know, these various functions stem from different sides of the brain and have resulted in a centuries long suggestion that people have right-brain or left-brain tendencies. Inclinations or personality traits that cause us to act and think a certain way based on ones more dominant hemisphere of the brain.

So-called left brained people are described as being logical, analytical, and detail-oriented. They tend to be objective and factual, so they are good at math, engineering and other fact-based tasks and careers. Right brained people are considered creative, perceptive, intuitive, and freethinkers. Their perspective and approach are more subjective and expressive, so they’re associated with creative tasks and careers.

All very interesting information, but it’s simply not true. The right brain / left brain concept is myth rooted in old and outdated information. What research actually proves is that different sides of the brain are responsible for different tasks, we use both sides equally, meaning logic and creativity are not separate or exclusive.

Happy elderly couple discussing details of private insurance with agent

This myth busting reality is valuable for retirement planning because for decades we have all been trained to believe that the financial side is more dominant and valuable. That it’s the primary engine to a successful life after work. But nothing could be further from the truth and it’s time to level the playing field.

This “need” for the two different sides to work together highlights one of the biggest voids in traditional retirement planning. The fact that there is no universal definition of a successful retirement. Take a moment to process that. There is no single bast way to define a successful retirement. Now many people will say, a good or strong retirement is one that has a financial plan, ample savings, the right asset allocation, safe withdrawal rate, essential estate planning documents, and the right insurance coverages.

Which logic suggests is a good start But quite frankly, if you have all that right financial pieces but are unhealthy, alone and watching TV all day, or turn to alcohol or other drugs to deal with problems, intuition suggests that retirement won’t feel good or be very meaningful. Which is why is so important for individuals and couples to realize the hard side needs the soft side and the soft side needs the hard side.


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