Key Ingredients: Time, Health, and Money

June 8, 2021

What factors have made your retirement so successful? This is the very question I asked Doug and Debbie over dinner in their Florida condo overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. I have been fortunate to know Doug and Debbie for over a decade, and they have truly mastered the art of retirement. Deb, as usual, cut right to the answer: “My grandma told me to retire successfully, you need to have two of the following three ingredients: Time, Health, and Money, and for us, we are blessed to have all three.”

Unfortunately, this was not always the case for Doug and Debbie. Doug was a hard-charging business owner, and Debbie was a nurse at the local hospital. How did they gather the three main ingredients to retirement?

Time – They retired from their careers and are as busy today as they were while working. Doug and Debbie split their time between Chicago and Florida. They are active in their communities and volunteer at a local hospital. They routinely visit their children and grandchildren, who are located across the mid-west. They spend their time doing what they enjoy.

Doug and Debbie loved their professions. Doug, like many business owners, treated his business as an extension of his family. He made many sacrifices to grow and manage the business. He was a thought leader in his industry and enjoyed the grind. Debbie is one of the most caring, thoughtful individuals I know, and if I were in the hospital, I would want her as my nurse. They had no intention of slowing down, but Doug’s health had other plans for them. Doug was having vision problems and went to the doctor and found out he had a tumor in his brain. This was a wake-up call for the two of them. Doug’s health forced them to re-evaluate how they were spending their time.

Health – Doug’s health scare forced him into retiring and selling his business. Without that, he might still be working today and would have never known how good retirement can be. Because of this, Doug and Debbie do not take their health for granted. They continue to plan trips and family get-togethers, and they remain active biking together daily. They get regular doctor checkups and live a healthy lifestyle. As much as we think we are invincible, our health is fleeting, and we need to take advantage of living while we still have our mobility and cognitive skills.

Money – For many business owners, the third ingredient to a successful retirement is often the easiest to obtain: money. Not saying building a business is easy, but the money component often comes at the expense of your time and health. Doug, along with his partner, built a business that provided him the wealth to retire early and retire well. While working, He was a diligent saver and a wise investor of his savings. In retirement, Doug focuses on his financial plan, similar to how he managed his business. He has a complete understanding of how his investments are doing and is very thoughtful in managing his cash flow.

Doug’s health issues were a blessing in disguise as they forced him to retire early. He couldn’t be happier in retirement, and he would’ve never taken the time to enjoy his retirement had his health not gotten in the way. You most likely already have the three key ingredients to a successful retirement; it is now up to you to turn the oven on and enjoy your retirement meal.