The Gift of Fulfillment


Please grab a pen or pencil. I don’t want you to take the time to think about this, but instead, I want you to complete this sentence with the first thing that comes to mind.

Retirement is . . .________________________________________________



This is an exercise I’ve done in retirement seminars, but it’s also one that I use in my Fundamentals of Financial Planning class with college juniors and seniors. The range in answers is astounding, and I’ll share later in the chapter what I think a college student at the beginning of his or her financial journey has to teach an experienced adult contemplating retirement.

But first, what picture comes to mind when you read the word, retirement?

Is it Picture #1? A handsome, gray-haired couple manning the helm of a restored, vintage sailboat in excess of 35 feet that must have cost them at least a half million dollars. Strangely, the sailing seems to take little to no effort, and all they do is smile lovingly at each other.

Or perhaps, Picture #2? A similar couple, equally as abnormally thrilled about their surroundings, playing their third round of golf—that day.

Or finally, Picture #3? The slacker couple, who have made it their lives’ work to simply sit on the beach in khaki pants and brilliant white shirts toasting Pinot Noir looking over their shoulders ...

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