Beyond The Money: How To Achieve Your Ideal Retirement Lifestyle


When it comes to retirement, many people worry about money. “How much money will I need? How will I even save that much? What if I run out of money?” These are questions I hear all the time.

Money can easily dominate the conversation. While creating a holistic financial plan is central to guiding people toward retirement, I also spend time helping them think beyond money to understand the psychological implications. Retirement isn’t just about whether you have enough money; it’s about choosing the kind of life you want to live and then using money to achieve your desired lifestyle.

Understanding the Emotional and Mental Side of Retirement

We live in a society where titles carry tremendous weight and our occupations are intertwined with our identities. When we’re kids, everyone asks us what we want to be when we grow up and we usually answer with a job title. As adults, we are constantly asked what we do or how we make a living. Work consumes us. That’s why many retirees struggle to find meaning or a sense of purpose after they stop working, with some experiencing boredom, loneliness and isolation. There’s even a term to describe some people's restlessness and uncertainty: sudden retirement syndrome (SRS). While SRS is not an actual medical or psychological condition, it is a genuine phenomenon that many people experience when they leave the busy routine of their professional lives.

Whether it’s SRS, retirement blues or a general sense of aimlessness, entering retirement can be a challenging transitional period. I don’t say this to make you nervous, but rather so you’re aware of the emotional shock that often occurs when your working life ends and so you can feel empowered to start shaping the vision for your ideal lifestyle in retirement.

Find Your Identity Outside of Your Professional Life

One key to a fulfilling retirement is exploring who you are outside of your career. Separate yourself from your job title and get in tune with your hobbies and interests. Pay attention to what activities you naturally gravitate toward in your free time. Ask yourself, “What would I do for a living if all of my living expenses were paid for and money wasn’t even a thought?”

A friend of mine is a former architect and designer who retired five years ago. He has always dedicated time for his personal interests, which include visual art, music, public speaking and leading worship. Shortly after he retired, he took up painting and created his own studio. His dedication to his craft has led him to successfully host several artist receptions.

One of his paintings was juried and selected to be in the Maryland Federation of Art’s Circle Gallery in Annapolis for the month of May, and in June, he will set up a private gallery showing at Kurtz’s Beach, in Pasadena, for my clients. He is the perfect example of finding fulfillment and purpose during your golden years.

Retire With More Than Just Money

People look at money as the ticket to retirement but often overlook the psychological aspect of stepping into this new phase of life. The money is important but it’s also just as crucial for you to focus on the life you want to live when your working years are over. The last thing you want to think when you retire is, “Now what?” A huge part of my job is to help my clients discover their identity outside of work so they can find comfort before making the leap into retirement.

Risk Disclosure: Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance does not guarantee future results. This material is for information purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information; no warranty, expressed or implied, is made regarding accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability, or usefulness of any information. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. For illustrative use only.


Jason LaBarge, financial advisor and president of LaBarge Financial

7 Riggs Avenue, Severna Park, MD 21146 443-647-4321


Securities offered only by duly registered individuals through Madison Avenue Securities LLC (MAS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory products and services made available through AE Wealth Management LLC (AEWM), a registered investment advisor. MAS and LaBarge Financial are not affiliated entities. 2443552-06/24


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