Retirement Isn’t All Sunshine and Palm Trees (Part 1)

As someone in her mid-30s, I had only a vague, romanticized picture of retirement. I imagined I’d do lots of traveling, see my (future) grandkids, and maybe even train for an Ironman. And it would definitely include enjoying the sun and palm trees of Florida. Sure, I thought there’d probably be some health issues here and there. But that’d only be toward the end, right? Yes, I appreciated the importance of saving and investing for retirement early. However, I had little understanding of what people really experienced while preparing for and transitioning into retirement.

A completely accurate image of retirement for everyone

The Motley Fool’s member base has a very different perspective. Our members are typically in their 50's or 60’s, and retirement is right around the corner. They are navigating a multitude of micro-decisions that could significantly impact their retirement and financial security. It’s no wonder our content about Social Security is so popular. Our audience not only reads a lot of it, they purchase subscriptions related to it at an astonishing rate. Unfortunately, they cancel at a startling rate as well.

A Product Manager, Michele, and I dug into why this was happening and if there were something better we could offer. As we and most Motley Fool employees are maybe half the age of our members, we had very little personal life experience we could lean on as a starting point (also, insert preachy stuff about designing for yourself). Therefore, we took the opportunity to study the retirement planning and transition as a whole and where Social Security fit within it.

I’ve broken this into a series about how we discovered the retirement journey in Part 2: Take a Ride on My Golf Cart, what we’ve done to put our insights to work (Part 3), and the results of those efforts (Part 4).