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Watch out for this Retirement Trap

July 24, 2020

This past Sunday I went scouting for a site along the ocean to be used for a future outdoor evening meeting. Last Fall I had sat with friends on the rocky coastline star gazing. Finding this spot was needed so I could give directions to others. It was a hot sunny day. I anticipated there would be a lot of people and cars doing just what I was doing, and I was right. The stretch north of Ipswich, MA and through Amesbury was salt marsh giving way to the beach towns of Salisbury and Hampton Beach.

Both of those locations had plenty of beach, lots of people, and lots of metered parking spaces wrapping around the beach apartments. Not the secluded setting I was seeking or that I remembered.

North of Hampton Beach the congestion of people and buildings gave way to a two lane road snaking along the coastline with beautiful large homes on the inland side and views of the rocky beaches. The views were unobstructed because there were No-Parking signs across from these properties. At other stretches of the coast there were beach clubs, or state parks, and at the few pullouts, temporary barriers. The spaces available for parking were filled with usually two to four cars waiting for someone to leave.

The spot I was seeking was just south of Odiorne State Park, in Rye NH. Like the pullouts I passed earlier there were temporary barriers and signs posted stating no parking.

This exploration covered roughly 30 miles of coastline with no opportunity to stop that whole distance to admire the view or eat a sandwich without paying. The ocean front on this stretch of the coastline is fully controlled. If parking were allowed the risk of injury or accident would increase because of the number of cars driving past and the people walking along the road to get to the entrances to the beaches. My days of spur of the moment inspiration in the summer to drive to sit by the ocean are gone. Viewing the ocean now requires more intention than ever before.

Are you using your past to plan your future?

My reality had been knowing I could get to the beach anytime I wanted. I described my current location as being equidistant from the mountains, the ocean and Boston. That is no longer true for I will need to travel further North or East into Maine to find such a spot during the summer.

This introduces new decisions to be made if I want to go to the beach. Drive further for that “free” view, or become more intentional by scheduling, renting or buying a beach club membership, hotel room, apartment, or house. Which is the right choice for me? How to pick what will add to my joy vs add burden?

What are the things you have relied upon? If those things were to change or possibly go away in the future would you act differently now? How would you choose between the options? Which choice would add to your pleasure or would it be more burden than it is worth?

Many of us have the strategy for the future or our retirement of things will be pretty much the same as today and I will figure it out when I get there. Following this approach may leave you with options you hadn’t considered and wish you had planned differently. Life is full of decisions and choices. There are ways to identify the choices or strategies which will enhance your life versus add another burden. What are the decisions you are facing today, and can you tell which choice will enhance your life?