One of the most misunderstood logical fallacies is known as “begging the question.” The term is almost always used incorrectly, even by educated people, who assume it means “which raises the question.”
According to Cornell Law School, “Begging the question is a logical fallacy in which an argument’s premises assume the truth of the conclusion.”1
For an example, look at the headline of this article: “How much money do you need to ensure a happy retirement?” This question takes for granted the huge assumption that there is an amount of money guaranteed to make you happy in your post-work years. Having enough money is important, but there’s no magic total that will automatically bring happiness.
Steven Vernon, a Forbes contributor and author of Don’t Go Broke in Retirement, is a former actuary. He’s spent decades helping companies distill the risks associated with human behavior down to dollars and cents.
Vernon’s biggest piece of advice, as you might guess from the title of his book, is don’t run out of money. But as he explores the topic of planning for an enjoyable retirement, he finds that people must look beyond mere finances.2
For starters, “happiness” is difficult to aim for.
“It turns out that happiness can be a complex goal,” writes Vernon. In fact, it’s not really the best word to describe a satisfying life. Psychologist Martin Seligman prefers words like “wellbeing” and “flourishing.” He suggests that these concepts have five dimensions: positive emotions (such as pleasure), engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment.
Vernon notes that much of the advertising around retirement focuses solely on the first dimension. “They often depict a smiling couple walking hand in hand on the beach at sunset,” he writes. “They focus only on the ‘vacation’ part of retirement.”
While retirement should include pleasurable experiences, living as if you’re on a 30-year vacation soon can lead to dissatisfaction. It’s an expectation that’s impossible to sustain. Long-term wellbeing depends on having a fully rounded life.
Vernon points out that one area that can have a big impact on how much you enjoy retirement is your relationship with your family. He writes, “It’s been said that parents are often as happy as their unhappiest child. As a preventative measure, you might want to consider how you can be of service to help your extended family thrive.”
What’s necessary for this isn’t often your money, but your time. And being involved with your extended family also helps satisfy the positive goals of engagement and relationships.
That’s why working with a trusted advisor makes so much sense. They can help you avoid potential pitfalls and free up your time to do the most meaningful things in your life instead of worrying about money.
Having the financial resources to meet your needs is important for a successful retirement. But money by itself won’t make life fulfilling. Remember to consider meeting with a financial advisor to help plan for the other key components you will need to thrive during your golden years.
If you ever have any questions about your investments or retirement plans, please feel free to give me a call at 801-545-0696.
Stonecreek Wealth Advisors, Inc., A Financial Advisor in Utah
11576 S State Street, Bldg. 1002
Draper, UT 84020
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