The Journey from “Should” to “Can”: Embracing the Freedom of Retirement

Happy retired couple kayaking

By Nick Gertsema, CEO & Wealth Advisor, CFP®, ChFC®, RICP®, AIF®


Throughout our lives, we’re conditioned to follow a well-trodden path. From the early days in school, we’re told to excel to get into good courses. Then in high school, the pressure mounts to secure a spot in a reputable college or trade school. The race doesn’t stop there. We hustle in our jobs, always sacrificing for the “next big thing.” Whether it’s climbing the corporate ladder, working toward that big promotion, or saving for retirement, we’re always working toward something.

But one day, the race stops.

Imagine spending a lifetime building an identity; maybe you’re a doctor, an engineer or a teacher. That title becomes inseparable from who you are.

Then retirement arrives, and you’re told, “It’s okay now. Stop saving and start spending.” For many, this transition is jarring. The idea of letting go, especially after years of conditioning to save and sacrifice, can be daunting.

Retirement is really about getting to do what you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time or chance for.

It’s not about keeping up appearances or getting the next job promotion. It’s your time to live for you. Think about it: there’s that car you’ve been eyeing since you were a teenager. Or that place you’ve always told yourself you’d visit one day. Maybe it’s about helping your kids out now, so you can be there to see them enjoy it. It’s all about making plans that let you say “yes” to those dreams without feeling guilty.

And that is the beauty of comprehensive financial planning. It grants you the permission to enjoy life’s pleasures, both big and small. It assures you that it’s okay to do things you’ve always wanted to do.

In the end, the goal is clear.

None of our clients have ever said, “I want to have as much money as possible when I die.” Instead, they seek a fulfilling life, rich with experiences and free from financial worries.

So, as you approach or navigate through retirement, remember this: You’ve earned the right to live freely. Whether it’s buying those measuring cups or taking a dream vacation, give yourself the permission to enjoy it.

After all, it’s your time now.

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