A Retirement Story: Living an Incredible Retirement

Brian Fricke, CFP®Financial Planning, Retirement, Retirement Planning

incredible retirement story

No matter how you choose to define your incredible retirement, make sure you stay active and involved. By doing so, you are guaranteed to lead a life filled with purpose and passion! This story is how one client of ours achieved his incredible retirement.

Several years ago, John accepted an early retirement package. About six months into retirement, he called me for some advice. His former employer had contacted him to see if he would be willing to work on a project as an independent contractor. His primary concern was how this extra income, if he accepted the project, would affect his Social Security benefits.

Before answering his question, I asked him if doing this work would bring joy and satisfaction into his life. John told me that he had finished all his “retirement” projects and was starting to get a little bored. While the opportunity seemed interesting, he was concerned for his wife, Wanda, as it would require him living overseas for the duration of the project. I asked John whether his wife might want to visit and spend time with him overseas. He was sure that she would like this opportunity but he wasn’t convinced that the company would pay the additional expense.

I recommended that he let his former employer know that he would be willing to accept the assignment if the company was willing to accept his terms. I told John to be ready for either an initial turn down or possibly a delayed response. John asked the company to fly him and his wife first class and provide them with a Marriott-type quality level hotel suite. I also advised him to ask for a daily fee that was 30% higher than his previous salary, if calculated on a daily basis. My reasoning was that the firm was still saving money because John was no longer an employee and the company was saving this 30% because the company wouldn’t be paying Social Security and Medicare taxes as well as other employee benefits.

Sure enough, John’s initial request was turned down. However, a week later his contact called back to see if he was still interested at his original terms. As it turned out his immediate supervisor only had financial authority up to a certain level, so he had to get permission “from above.”

That was nearly ten years ago and John is still doing project work for his former employer and has no plans to quit. He occasionally turns down projects that conflict with his personal travel plans or if he doesn’t like the project. The last time we spoke John commented that he’s having more fun now than ever before. I’m not surprised as people are generally happier when they feel that they’re in control of their time.

For more great stories of people living their version of an incredible retirement, pick up a copy of Brian Fricke’s book, Worry Free Retirement. Start living life doing what you want, when you want!