Where is His Fulfillment?

Julie in Boise and her husband have nice retirement accounts. Due to some income changes, Julie is uncomfortable with loosening the purse strings.

QUESTION: Julie in Boise and her husband have had some recent income changes, and they have nice retirement accounts. However, due to the income changes, Julie is uncomfortable with loosening up the purse strings. Dave doesn’t like the idea of Julie’s husband doing nothing at 52 years old.

ANSWER: In 20 years, your $700,000 in retirement is going to be about $7 million if you don’t touch it and if it continues to grow, assuming you’ve invested well. You’d be 60, and he’d be 70. It might be $6 million. It might be $5 million. The $700,000 in 20 years would grow to that if you add nothing to it and it’s invested in good growth stock mutual funds, based on the past averages. If you don’t touch that money and you only live on your income or less, then you should be okay when you get in your 60s and he’s in his 70s, but you’re going to have to create income until then. Those are your numbers.

I’ll just be honest with you. I can endorse what you’re doing; I can’t endorse what he’s doing. He’s underperforming in his 50s. He could go and do a lot of things. I’m not suggesting he kill himself and work 100-hour weeks or be desperate or crazy or anything, but to not fully apply yourself at any point in your life is not something I can endorse. Fifty-two years old and doing nothing or virtually nothing is not impressive to me. I’m 51. I work a lot. I don’t need to work, but I have found work that matters. I help people in a lot of different ways—our company does. I enjoy the challenge of the marketplace, the challenge of being here on the air, the challenge of being on stage speaking, the challenge of leading and growing a company. I just can’t relate to that, and I don’t think it’s very fulfilling for him being quasi Mr. Mom in this situation. I would challenge him to find something to apply himself to and find some way to serve. Service is ultimately where you get your joy. I think he’s going to get real bored and real cranky when he does or he’s a lazy person—one of the two. I don’t know which. It doesn’t sound appealing to me.

I’m probably on the other end of the spectrum in that I have no plans for retirement. I’ll just die. I’ll be doing something all the time. I won’t necessarily be running the whole business, but I don’t intend to quit. My friend Zig Ziglar is in his 80s, and even after a head injury, he’s still out there with Julie and Tom doing stuff—not because he has to. He certainly doesn’t. There is a thrill that comes from serving. There’s a joy that comes from serving and helping and doing something for others. This idea that I’m going to kick back and put my feet up is not how we’re wired as people.