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The Retirement Number Hoax

We have all seen the retirement number commercials…


“Everybody has a number, what’s yours?”


“With our help, you can use your number to get guaranteed income through your retirement.”


“It’s hard to imagine conquering such a big number so to demonstrate let’s instead close this street down, hire some actors & actresses, build a domino the size of a small building & knock it over with tons of smaller ones…”



Seriously? Do you have to work this hard to prove a point that, ultimately, does not need to be proved? What well-paid, senior level marketer came up with the brilliant “what is your retirement number” campaign idea anyway?


As consumers, we have been “taught” through commercials, billboards, parents, agents and pamphlets that, in order to retire, we must first reach a certain dollar amount of savings. I completely disagree with this theory.


Look, it’s not that I don’t want you to have a substantial amount of savings when you retire (of course I do), or a goal to be savings towards, nor is it that I don’t find savings important (here are 11 reasons they are for me) but why would you want to stop earning altogether? Why would you want your number to reach a peak upon retirement & then begin to shrink? Isn’t retirement supposed to be care-free?


Woody Allen once said,


“In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day…”


Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want “my retirement number” to be at its highest ever when I receive my gold watch at my retirement party. I would love for it to still be growing when I’m debating playing Pebble Beach with my pals, or when my wife wants to visit Napa in prime picking season.


I get it, though, I do. Of course, you want to stop working upon retirement and logic has taught you to believe that when you stop working you stop earning, right? Wrong. Despite what you have been commonly taught, there is income that could work for you for the rest of your life.


This income could provide you with the same monthly amount every single month while you sit back and enjoy golf, bingo or whatever it is that you do at the fun age of ____. Oh, and that “number” of yours continues to grow, not shrink, throughout retirement.


No, I am not talking about social security or pensions (as if they will be around by the time you Millennials retire anyway) I am talking about passive income. Passive income can be described as income that is received on a regular basis with little effort required to maintain it. It is one of the 3 broad types of income categories according to the Internal Revenue Service. The Internal Revenue Service states passive income as “trade or business activities in which you do not materially participate…”


Can you think of some basic passive income sources that you currently have or are working toward having? The tops of my clients most sought after passive income streams include:


  • Investment Property (rentals)

  • Bridge Loans

  • Life Settlement Funds

  • SERP Annuities

  • Timberland

  • Invest in a business

  • Property leases (hunting clubs on your land)

  • Website advertising


“But I need tens of thousands of liquid dollars to invest in all of the above. I don’t have the liquidity for that right now.” First, let’s work together to get you to that point. You can do this. Second, you don’t need tens of thousands to start earning passive income today. Think about the following passive income assets:



You don’t need a “retirement number” to retire. What you need is a whole group of numbers out there working for you. Would you rather take $60k away from your $1,000,000 every year for fear of running out, or add $20k to it each and every year? Would you rather work harder & play less during working years to save an additional $1,000,000 for retirement or invest in passive income sources that produce income throughout your retirement?


Remember, just because you are in retirement does not mean that you have to stop earning income. Unless, of course, you follow the logic of a well-paid, senior level marketer who has taught you to find “your number”.


Which of the passive income streams listed above are you most interested in?

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