"Going Off Script"
That was the title of an article at Financial Advisor Magazine by Robert Laura. The article boils down to 3 questions that Laura, an advisor and author, likes to ask clients about their thoughts on retirement. I think the questions though can apply far more broadly than issues related to retirement.
1. "Whose rules (or script) are you following?"
There is a tendency for some people to think of what retirement should be from preconceived notions influenced by other people's ideas. I would ask someone what their idea of retirement is. How will they pay for retirement? What will they do with their time?
2. "Why are you following them?"
The first two on this list are very much related. Are you pursuing what you think retirement should be and if so, might you actually be pursuing the wrong outcome?
3. "What would happen if you changed—and went off script?"
This is about attaining self-awareness to realize that you are pursuing the wrong outcome and make changes. The stereotypes of retirement that maybe we grew up with (I did anyway) sound awful and <harsh comment coming> pretty much amount to waiting to die. The opportunities, paid or not, are endless for people who invest the time to learn what is out there and actively engage in activities.
I have friends from college who have evolved into the stereotypical middle aged guy sitting in their chair yelling at Fox News. That sounds awful for being unfulfilling and uninteresting. My hope is to keep things very interesting and engaging and challenging until I am very old.
4. A chance for individuality
Laura say that the above questions to ask clients can also help advisors figure things out for themselves too. We all know people who are one-dimensional, their job is their one dimension. I think this might be more common with salespeople but either way, we all know people like this. You can love your job and still have multiple dimensions. For someone who does not love their job, that's all the more reason to avoid being one-dimensional.