#185 – Exit From Work With Dr. Gregg Lunceford

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Episode Summary

What do you think of when you hear retirement? It can have negative connotations and/or lead to heart palpitations for many.

Instead, think of it as an exit strategy, which I think better describes moving on to your life’s next adventure. The old paradigm of “retiring” is being retired itself in recent years to suit our evolving life architecture.

It is never too late to start planning for your future. Sixty-two is the new forty-two as we move forward from the industrial revolution when the quality of life and life expectancy was much lower. Your wealth is your health, which I am always saying!

The first step is to admit where you are currently on this financial journey. Let us help you take the next step forward with this episode.

Dr. Gregg Lunceford is a retirement researcher and a 25+ year veteran in the financial services industry. He is the author of the book Exit From Work, where he helps to redefine what retirement can look like when you take actionable steps in your life. Dr. Lunceford earned a BBA from Loyola University of Chicago, an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Ph.D. in Management from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH where he conducted studies on retirement. He is a Certified Financial Planner professional and holds a Certificate in Financial Planning Studies from Northwestern University. Dr. Lunceford is also a registered financial advisor with the NFL Players Association.

We touch on lots of topics that I resonate with, including:

  • Gregg’s philosophy on retirement
  • Mentors
  • How people are reinventing themselves after they exit
  • What is meaningful to you, as opposed to what is only productive and or expected
  • Strategies that take you to that next stage
  • Career Design
  • Lifestyle Architecture
  • Wealth, Health, Love
  • Rules of thumb such as the Rule of 72 and the 4% Rule

Enjoy this episode with Dr. Gregg Lunceford.


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This transcription was made by using Otter.ai so it is not 100% accurate.

Krisstina Wise [0:00]
Welcome back. This is Krisstina Wise your host and this episode I interviewed Dr. Gregg Lunsford. Greg is a retirement researcher and wealth specialist who has several impressive letters behind his name. He’s an MBA, a PhD, and a CFP, certified financial planner and wealth advisor. Whoa. Gregg’s expertise is on retirement transition. He’s been a contributor to Forbes, finance and other publications. He’s the author of the best selling book exit from work, and he’s a registered financial advisor with the NFL players Association. He’s held roles and wealth management in corporate and investment banking. We talk about the myths around retirement that what most people think about retirement simply isn’t true, which as a result, creates a lot of unnecessary stress and oftentimes financial crisis when approaching the retirement years. I love this conversation. We share the same point of view when it comes to the antiquated mindset around retirement, and he shares new ways to think about middle wage and how to financially prepare today for a long, prosperous life. Please enjoy my conversation with Dr. Greg Lunsford. Greg, what a pleasure. Thank you for being on the welcome monkey podcast.

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [1:15]
Good morning. Thank you for having me.

Krisstina Wise [1:18]
All right. So first of all, before we really dig into your expertise, I’m so excited to talk about this today because I know you have a very unique approach when it comes to the subject that we’re about to discuss. But before that, please just share a little bit about Greg and I’ve never met you. So I just like to know who you are what brought you to this place in your life to be sitting here with me right now.

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [1:40]
I’m just a guy that grew up on the south side of Chicago, and spent 25 years in financial services with various assignments in corporate banking and commercial banking, private client and wealth management, which I do now. I am married and the father of two children. two teenagers, one college kid, one high school kid. So looking forward to empty nesting. And in addition to doing that, one of my focuses is retirement research. So, one of my joys is I’m researching the person I’m becoming at the same time. So that’s just a lot of fun for me.

Krisstina Wise [2:19]
That is fun. That’s really kind of my whole approach to life. I really teach and educate through my own life experience and learning and it’s like, Whoa, that didn’t work. I’m not going to do that. Like, okay, this works. I can share with others, like, don’t do this and maybe try this. You know? Exactly what Great, let’s first so everybody listening, we’re talking about this word called retirement. And for me, Greg, I’ve, I really don’t talk about the word retirement. It’s such it’s so embedded in our culture to retire and but I found it’s really built an industrial age thinking the idea that you would work in the same job for maybe 40 years, you would retire at 62 good maybe live to 68, maybe 72 on the rocking chair, just kind of hang out those last few years with the grandkids have enough money to pay those bills. And then there’s real life. We don’t live that life anymore. And we’re living a lot longer and so is there a word when you’re looking at you know, we use the word retirement since it’s just a typical or normal term that we’re used to. But tell me what you think about the word in general like is retired like the word retire really like retirements, death to me. I’m just curious what your what your kind of overall philosophical point of view is with this word called retirement.

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [3:37]
Absolutely. And your your couldn’t be more correct. And I am explaining that to you’ll have to share a little bit about my journey, and how I got to this place. But one of the things that I found and my journey getting to this places, most people are like you, it’s a very negative word. And the word triggers a lot of anxiety. We’ve been conditioned to think that It triggers these great feelings of freedom and excitement. But for a lot of people, this is one of the toughest decisions that they’ll ever have to make in their life, one of the toughest transitions that they’re ever have that they’ll ever have to make in their life and one of the most unenjoyable and we’ve been conditioned to your point, because we have this Industrial Age way of thinking about things that this is going to be this great experience. And for many it will be but it won’t be that it won’t be that for everyone like it has been in the past. So my journey is, as I mentioned, I work with clients and doing wealth management and retirement planning. And when the bust occurred in 2008, in the financial industry, I started seeing people walk into my office that were given the opportunity to retire at a very with very generous packages that look like they had suffered. The worst incident that ever occurred in her life like the dog had died. And this one is everything I’ve ever been taught, especially the way we’re taught in our industry, that work is an economic choice. And once you get to the point where you don’t you financially don’t have to, you will self select that and you won’t do it. And I’m looking at all these people that had the ability to do whatever they want, whenever they want. It couldn’t have been sadder. And so I was trying to explain to the company that I work with that there’s something wrong with our clients. And I wasn’t getting a lot of traction there. And I was trying to figure out what was going on it so I independently decided to go back and I went to school at Case Western earned a PhD and study the transition. What happens socially, emotionally, when you go through this, in addition to what happens financially when you go through this transition, and what does it mean and why Why are things different than we thought they are and how we got here. So that’s where I spend my time and You’re exactly right. One of the big findings is that most people don’t like this face. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want some leisure in their life. But this is a very tough stage.

Krisstina Wise [6:12]
Yeah, and by the way, I you know, when I was, you know, looking through your, your bio, in your profile I’ve had I got there’s a lot of people that have a CFP and a PhD behind there. Yeah, so, that’s remarkable. Yeah, the fact that you’ve really studied this at the PhD level is really why I wanted to, to pick your brain a little bit and really learn what you’ve discovered. So let’s chat about there’s a few different things like i’ve i’ve seen, you know, when like, let’s say retirement, people just stop working so much male or female, but those of us are really find a lot of satisfaction and a lot of value or identity, or kind of a big part of who we are wrapped up in what we do in our work. It doesn’t mean it’s the be all end all. But if that just stops one day, I mean, I’ve seen statistics like a lot of especially men like die without years of retirement that so many golf games that they thought it’d be great to golf every day. But finally, it’s like, this just isn’t what I thought it was going to be as soon as. And so it just kind of creates this end of life type energy. And that’s, so if you found that to be true that just kind of absolutely

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [7:17]
this concept like

Krisstina Wise [7:19]
on this age I’m gonna retire life is happy ever after. And that’s not true, right?

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [7:24]
That’s not true for everyone. For some people, they have a great mastery of that. But that’s not true for everyone. I have a classmate who jokes about one of his neighbors when we were in class and I was explaining what my dissertation study was going to be about. He said, You know, I have this neighbor that tells me all the time he failed retirement, you know, life was great. And so what I think people are looking for what I find from my research is that people don’t want to exit completely. What they want to do is redefine life on their own terms. They want better work life balance, and for the first time, they have the ability To set the terms on their own, they just need to figure out how to get to that point where they can do it. And that’s challenging for a number of people for a number of reasons, you know, retirement. And that’s why in my book, one of the things that I do is I define what is work because a lot of times people don’t have a full understanding of what work really is. We go into work for financial reasons, for the most part. And as we get towards the end of our careers, we start to recognize some of the value in addition to financial value that work brings. But for many people, what you do has a lot in defining who you are, there’s a strong tie between your work and who you are, and your identity. And so, you know, I we often demonize professional athletes because of some of their behavior when they stopped playing, but imagine if someone took you from age seven. And that’s all you did was The sport or the career choice that you made you were fully engaged in it. And then one day, they just walked up and told you, you know what, we no longer need you anymore without any training without any conditioning or whatever. That’s a very hard transition. Right? And so that’s what’s happening to us as we live longer. Once upon a time retirement, as you mentioned, that industrial society that you’re talking about, when we did more manual labor, and we were in industrialized workplaces, the reason people left the workplaces because they were exhausted, there was usually some physical ailment that was pulling them out. That usually happened around a certain stage that was tied to a certain age, and that’s no longer the case. And so, the the the parts of work that you enjoy outside of the parts of work that you enjoy outside of just earning a living, such as the socialists, We’re friends. And also being able to accomplish something every day that define who, who you are and what and what makes you who you are, you were willing to give up because you were just so physically worn down. Or maybe you had an ailment that arthritis from being on that assembly line or maybe you had brought, you know, a breathing problem from from inhaling certain things in that workplace. That’s no longer the case. And so the longer the older we get, what we start to recognize is, as we start to hit our financial goals, and those start to go away a little bit more, we start to aspire for what is meaningful to me and what gives me purpose. And we recognize that having friends around every day and most of them are work colleagues, because that’s where we are the largest part of the day, they bring us joy and they bring us value. Even the people that you know, we don’t like it work at some point in time. There’s something they do that we laugh about at the end of the day, and then also work gives a structure in our day. It gives us a purpose to get up for we accomplish things in our work lives. From our work lives, we build a reputation where we get become known for something we become admired for something. And those are important things too. So when when people just completely exit from work without planning on how you do it, not only financially, but psychologically and emotionally, it can be traumatic.

Krisstina Wise [11:26]
Yeah, that’s so well said and yeah, I really hadn’t really, I hadn’t thought about it from the manual labor and just the hardship of going in there and, and working like that, and, and to the point that, that, yeah, those days it was so manually exhausting. You’re spending your whole life using your body and doing that is real labor. What I find today is that when people are thinking of retiring and I work with a big entrepreneurial and small business community, so we’re talking about money and finance in business, And what I found for most, you know, for those that are really like in the business side of things, is they love their business, right? That’s kind of business ownership, you do it because you’re called to a mission, you have a passion. And it really causes us to be these crazy things take all this risk and, and all those things that come with it. But what I found with a lot of my my students and clients, it’s not that they want to retire, per se. They love what they do, but they want to retire from the grind. Absolutely. So back in the manual labor day, so we’re grinding every day and just physically exhausted by the end of the day. And the end of the 40 years now is just the grind of having to get up and do the same thing today without the choice to the freedom or the financial well being to be able to have more work life balance by choice. So it’s not like I just want to retire and give up but retirement sounds really good. Because I’m just tired of grinding this out.

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [12:54]
Correct. So one of the things that I cover off on the book is how do we get Get here. And is it natural for us to be here. And so what I start from is looking at work from the colonial area, which was before the industrial period. And the first retirement plans were very informal. So you would have a farmer, as he got to a certain age, he went to his children and he said, I will deed my land to you, if you allow me to stay on the land and you care for me. And in exchange for that, I will be able to determine or define what I want my workday to look like. So it was no longer all day out in the fields plowing the fields, but they may have taken four hours out of the day to feed the chickens, hatched eggs, maybe do some bookkeeping and there was a great deal of respect for the wisdom that that person had from work so they were used in negotiations when they went to go trade for the what they what they brought in the harbor. That year and they go sell it, that wisdom was brought in the place. And so it was not uncommon for people to work until they died, some kind of work there. There is a parallel between our longevity and our work life. And there are many people. So Ben Franklin was in his 80s when he fired when he signed the Declaration of Independence. And so when this industrial society comes along, that you mentioned, what happens is we start looking at a period where Management Science comes in. And so to get manufacturing plants to produce more, there is now a supervisor with a clipboard and a stopwatch and is saying, I only want people on the assembly line, it can make 30 swings of this hammer in a minute. And those were usually people under 40. And so the law comes and it makes h 40. Anybody over 40 in this protected class because They were being pushed out of the workforce. And you still see that written into a lot of policy right now, which needs to change because a 40 year old is not old anymore. So where we’re getting these disconnects between our longevity and work happiness is because a lot of this policy has not been changed. And a lot of the mindset has not been changed. And so we still think that we’re turning old when we’re not. If you look at average life expectancy when you start doing your rmds for your clients, your required minimum distributions, you’re looking at age 90, so I’m leaving the workforce at 60 I’m really middle age. Correct. So there’s you we don’t tell 40 year olds that they don’t have hope and promise and that they should throw in the towel. So why are we telling 60 year olds that and so what happened, right?

Krisstina Wise [15:46]
That’s right, isn’t it? Yes. And it’s it’s funny to like on the mindset, please continue. But just to interject there a little bit. I remember when I was young, my grandparents is 62 seems so old, but now 62 My friends are 60 Kids, they’re young, they’re vibrant. I mean, they’re getting their their real stride and the kids are grown and have more to offer and engaged and like 62 years old, 42 properly, right?

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [16:10]
Absolutely. And I would argue it is the best time of your life because for the first time in your life, you’re you don’t have commitments to others. You’ve raised your family, you’ve pleased your parents, in terms of them, being the helicopter parents telling you what they want you to be when they grow up, you’ve done it or you have it and you’ve made peace with that. Hopefully, you have more financial resources than you ever had before. You’re wiser than you’ve ever been before. So what better time in life have you personally had to take care of you? Is the stage right? But we’ve been told that we’re supposed to be old at this stage, when really what this stage is, is our opportunity to be better. So and to me when I sit down with clients and we start Talking about retirement planning. I take this holistic view where we cover off all of these things. Because to me, the traditional way we’ve done it was really testing financial readiness. And that was appropriate in the period of time when, you know, average life expectancy was maybe 10 years, at best, but now we’re looking at this now life bonus of 20 years or so on top of that, and we need to talk about holistically what helps you feel fulfilled, because there are links between that and depression. What makes you feel like you have purpose. We have friendships and social relationships because there are links to that and your longevity because people who have strong networks and friendships tend to outlive those who don’t. So there are a number of factors that we look at beyond what we have looked at in the past.

Krisstina Wise [17:49]
I love that yes, something I love even about the title with your book. I talk a lot about exit strategy and my work and but different than, you know in the kingdom Business entrepreneurial world, you know, the those entrepreneurs who go in for the big exit, you know, they’re they’re going in and they’re putting all this you know, risk and time and capital and all that, because they want to have this big exit. And so when I talk about exit exit, just it just means exit from that. So let’s pretend, for example, that built a great business over 10 years, and let’s say started 25 now and 35 get it, you know, nice, you know, some zeros in the bank account. But it’s 35. That entrepreneur probably isn’t thinking, all right, I’m just retiring and sitting on the beach and golfing every day or whatever the case is, for the rest of my life. If Game Over, I’m retired, I’ve exited. It’s like the athletes that you’re referring to. It’s like, well, I exited from that stage and that company and that part of my life and 10 years of hard work went into it. But now with that exit, I have a little bit more space. I have some more financial resources. So I have two more time. Now I get to play My next strategy, like whatever that is, and maybe I won’t work as hard as that 10 years because I don’t have to because I, I now have, you know, some some money in the bank and in assets that you know, can provide that, that find those financial resources that I didn’t have before. But now what’s my next thing that would be a natural thing and most entrepreneurs they go to start their next business or the next thing and, and so similar thing that’s why like you talk in terms of excellent like, we’re just exiting from this thing, but it doesn’t mean came over.

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [19:30]
That’s exactly right. And so what you’re supposed to be doing is you’re you’re you retire to something, and that’s why the book is exit exit from work, but if the sequel would be exit to something, what is the to thing and so, I remember I was doing my research, I sat down with a gentleman who had worked for the same company for 50 years, and I said, you know, what, why do you continue to do what you do and he’s like, I’ve always enjoyed This was a key point, I’ll touch back on it a little bit. I’ve always just done what I was told. And so for one, the reason I haven’t made the next move is nobody’s instructed me how to do it. And so I recognized that there was a gap that I needed to help people with. And the other one thing he said was, you don’t retire. Most people say, I’m retiring from my job, you never retire from anything, you retire to something, and I can’t find that too. And so one of the things that I work with clients on is, you know, how much mindfulness have you put into this? Have you envisioned? What you want to do is your next step, don’t don’t just leave because you feel like you have to leave because I’m 65 and therefore, that’s what I should do. I mean, you have to have vision around this and understand why it’s important to you and how it makes you feel satisfied and complete. In addition to that, if you have a partner, it has to be a shared vision. Else is not going to work. Right and What we find and I’m sure you find this a your your line of work as well as when it comes to the the retirement transition. There’s not a shared financial vision, let alone a shared global vision and a lot of cases, right. And you need both to work together. And so what I learned as I was doing my research, is that if you look at boomers, they may be the hardest to make this transition for and I’m talking in general terms here for for a number of reasons. The first one is depending on what age you are as a boomer, so if you’re a little older, older Boomer, when you came into the workforce, there was great economic prosperity. And so when you walked into your career, there was someone there who said, Look, there’s the company is growing, there’s opportunity in Philadelphia, I think you would be great for it. We’re going to send you to Philadelphia, and so there was always this mentor. In a lot of cases that guided you through your career. And so now, we get to where we are right now, where there is not the great economic prosperity or growth that we once had in a number of sectors. And this person is looking at exiting the door. And it’s scary because one, I don’t have that mentor, they helped me think through the decision, that person is gone. Now. I’ve had a mentor for every decision when I really think about it, regardless of how successful I was. And number two, this decision is irreversible. If I go into retirement, and I leave the company and decide to come back in nine months, my job is gone. There’s a new person, my role and I can’t get it back. And so this becomes a very scary experience for people. And that’s why there is this negative view around the word retirement. Some people can’t stand the word we think. And as, as younger people in the workforce we think we are giving this person this tremendous compliment. We’ll be working walk up to them and say, hey, you’re gonna retire soon great for you, because we envy the position that they’ve gotten to where they can choose what they want. The way they’re hearing the messages, you’re trying to push me out the door. And there’s additional anxiety that comes from that interaction.

Krisstina Wise [23:18]
Yeah, and I’d say, Would you agree that, you know, so much of our culture, there’s not a lot of value around age, like, it’s like, oh, you’re a certain age, you’re not valuable anymore, versus the opposite. If I can, you know, different cultures and the ancient, you know, the elders had the wisdom, that’s who you go to. There’s a lot of, you know, admiration and respect and like what you said, and the colonial days, and, and that’s been lost a little bit. And I think then there’s this identity crisis of, wow, I’m just not valuable anymore because I reached a certain age,

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [23:49]
right? And the reason for that it occurred in that industrial age that you’re talking about of production and what we’ve learned from that Or we’ve been conditioned to believe that that was a normal time. What was really more normal is sort of the colonial work structure. What we’ve experienced over the last 70 years or so, we kind of have to look at as an anomaly, and it’s hard for us to look at it that way. Because we don’t have much understanding of what happened prior to that. But there was never supposed to be this life of leisure at the end of work. The original pension systems came along as the result of this negotiation between management and labor. And so as I mentioned, you had this Management Science come in, and they wanted the person to be able to swing the hammer at 30 swings in a minute. And so management wanted a young workforce. And the unions wanted to reward seniority. And so what they came up with was a pension system. So That management in their minds was were really rewarding people or paying them to leave the workforce so they can get the younger worker that will be more productive. In addition to that, you know, when you look at things like railroads, as a person got older if they couldn’t hit the nail hard enough in this 33rd in these 30 swings, and the bridge fell apart, then the amount of legal liability on the company for pushing these workers this way, it was just cheaper to pay them to stay at home. Now, what occurred in that period is, for whatever reason, workers be older workers became devalued. And it was unfair, it was greatly unfair, no one looked at to them for their wisdom. And we kind of got into this cookie cutter workplace where the wisdom of older people was not valued as much because we’re management. We have the wisdom all we need To someone to robotically swing the hammer. And so now we’re getting into this point where we’re transition. We are transitioning from a manufacturing economy to more of an economy that is service base, where that intellectual capital has a lot of value. And so what we really need to do is embrace our older workers because every day your most valuable resource in that company walks out of the door when your employees leave at five o’clock. And, and so now you have older people that are just doing all of these innovative things, tourney, hobbies in the businesses, figuring out how to reset business models, and they need to be given credit for that.

Krisstina Wise [26:49]
I love that. I love that. Well, this is great just to just to maybe reshaped some philosophical or mindset around retirement. Let’s switch to some more the pragmatic practical. So in your line of work both as a financial planner and as a researcher, where do you see some of the biggest mistakes? I mean, I’m finding to that one a lot of people don’t know their quote unquote retirement number. And to a lot of it’s still based on maybe a 10 year plan, like if we’re gonna live 30 years if we work 40 and we’re retired 30 that’s not enough money. So where do you see there’s a lot of mistakes when it comes to let’s call it exit planning, from you know, that, you know, just the the 40 to 60 hour work weeks. So what do you Where do you see some of the fundamental mistakes and where people because they’re just kind of leaving it up to the company or the 401k or whatever it is just thinking that there’s going to be enough at some 62 or kind of this, this age that’s been culturally given to us.

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [27:53]
Where see the mistake is somewhat avoidance, but it’s really taking control of your career earlier. And so, there is a what is called protean career theory to be looked at in the social sciences. And what that really means is a person who has these protean behaviors is one that takes control of their own lifestyle, and they set what is career success based on their own definition. Many of us have this belief that career success is that traditional track success that was where the company defines our society defines what we are supposed to be. And so we’re followers in that regard. So it was amazing to me as I interviewed people, a number of them, you say, Well, how did you go into your career? And they say, it was it ranged from this was the career that my parents chose for me, or, and or this is where I thought I would get the most respect in my community if I did this. And when you start asking them, what did they want to do next? It turned out to be all of these things that were so far from what they did. So you’d be talking to someone who’s Chief of Surgery and you say, Well would you like to do and they would say, I want to write mystery novels or you’re talking to someone who has access to a successful attorney, and they say, I want to work at Disney World. And so what you realize is that they came up in a period of time where they were told what was socially acceptable, and they had to aspire to it. And as it related to work, after you followed the path to take on this career, as an accountant or an engineer, whatever that someone else planned for you are highly encouraged you to believe it was your idea to do once you got into that career for a number of years. You realize you didn’t really enjoy it. So now you wanted to do something else. And that’s why I think this is the greatest part. This next stage is the greatest part because you could go back and reclaim that thing you wanted to do. And so the mistake you make Many people have made is they never figured out what was meaningful for them. They figured out what was productive for them. But they didn’t figure out what’s meaningful for them. And now they’re looking at it as much as you want to demonize Generation X and Y for being selfish and self absorbed. Just like you wanted to join that rock band, they go in their garage, and they start this technology company. And that’s good for them. Right? And so you have to maybe learn from them how to be more protein and take control of what you want from a career standpoint. So success for somebody who has values maybe I want to see my kids play soccer in the evening. I do want to put food on the table. I do want to provide a good life. But if I don’t become CEO, that’s okay with me. I never aspire to be that. Whereas in the past when we had this traditional view of work, if you didn’t get promoted every three years, you felt like a failure and people looked at you as if what was wrong with you. And there was nothing wrong with that you have to take on your own career design. And so with that being said, and taking on your own career design, we also have to be thoughtful about not only has that traditional model work change, but the benefits that came with it are different. And a lot of people have their head in the sand this what I mean by avoidance, the pitch and plans are gone. For the most part. We have to accept that and we have to figure out how to adapt and that means that we have to take more responsibility for our saving and our strategy. Just like we have to take more responsibility for our career. No one’s going to come and put that arm around you and say here, there’s an opportunity. There’s an opportunity in Philadelphia like they did. It’s going to come work from you fighting and saying, this is where I really want to be as Philadelphia, make sure that’s what you really want it then you take the actions to get there. This The other thing is we are also have to look at health, this healthcare is going to be one of the larger expenses after age 70. average household spend six figures for health care. Being healthy when you’re young translates into value when you’re older. So that’s another thing that you need to do a little bit differently. Thinking about where your support and your networks come from. Having a life outside of that nine to five environment is very important and healthy. So restructuring how you go about being you is something that isn’t necessary now, because you’re responsible for more of you.

Krisstina Wise [32:38]
Oh, I love that you’re responsible for more of you. That’s that’s a good quote right there. When it comes to the numbers, you’re saying, I agree with you that you know, it’s time we’d need to be responsible for our own exit numbers and how know how much money is enough and do some calculations and and be mindful and be be following and tracking How much money we have to make sure it will be enough? Do you find that a lot of people that are retired really reaching that exit age, if you will, that are kind of getting to a place like I want to slow it down a little bit? How like what percentage have enough like if they wanted to make that choice, they’re actually financially able to do so that the money will last the next 30 years?

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [33:19]
Well, I find two things. And we It’s no secret. We have not been a generation of savers the way we should have been. So most people or many people will not have enough. That doesn’t mean that you can’t deal with this. I think what happens and one of the problems is you get this thing of avoidance where people know they read the numbers, they see the statistics, they don’t know what side of the numbers they’re on. And so they choose to do nothing because they’re afraid. And I’ve had a number of people walk into my office that have never sat down to figure out the numbers or do the analysis. And then you sit down with them and they find out this is doable and they’re just pleasantly surprised. You go, why didn’t you know that this was doable. And so as a practice, when I do planning, when I do planning work with with clients, as soon as they walk in the door and we sit down after I have done the analysis, I tell them up front, if there’s going to be a good outcome or not, because I find they relax in the meeting. The other thing is, couples don’t work together tend to work together. So and I think one of the PARP problems people have and one of the reasons they stick their head in the sand is now I got to have this tough conversation with my partner. And I may have to admit that I haven’t been haven’t been doing enough as well as I may have to hold them accountable for not doing enough as well as the family structure is changed. So we have blended, we have blended families now. And so in me calling, making this call to action. We may have to have some conversations of baby about children from another relationship or about parents. That is very uncomfortable. So people just don’t get started. And they build this fear and anxiety as they get closer to the number. But to meet that what needs to be understood is that the longer you wait, if you find that there is a problem, once you uncover all of this stuff, those are days you’ve given up that you could have Correct. Correct at your course. Correct. So, you know, there’s never a better time than today to get started.

Krisstina Wise [35:32]
Yeah, right on it’s reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, that when’s the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago, when’s the second best time right now? No, like you got the second like listening to this podcast if you’ve been neglecting or avoiding like just now today, today’s today. I mean, it’s just gonna get harder. And you know, like you said, you know, the, when you don’t have enough time to if you have more time, you can turn the trajectory, you can turn that ship around and make those course corrections, but they’ll Do you get and closer to that if you don’t have enough time to make to make the corrections?

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [36:05]
Well, I also think the older you get, you don’t have time to make the corrections. But then also, if you’re entering into this period where you now think you’re six, you’re 16 or old, you don’t have the confidence, right? And so if you start to look at it as middle aged, you go, Wait a minute, I have some more time where I could convert a hobby into a business, negotiate what my employer that maybe we go from five days a week to three days a week, figure out some things that I want to do, and things that I want to change that prolong you having to fully exit work that you find enjoyable. We never told 40 years that to consider the fact that it was all over for them. So why are we telling six years so it’s not only not taking an action to correct yourself financially, is also when you don’t Start to plan at this stage, you’re not developing the vision about how you’re going to feel fulfilled going forward.

Krisstina Wise [37:08]
Yeah, that’s so important and right on. And I mean, now that you mentioned it, I find that in my work a lot, because I do a lot of client consulting and coaching and when it just comes to money and finance and how much money is enough and exit strategy, like we’re talking about, that’s my word for retirement. But, you know, I start working with those that are, you know, maybe they’re in their early 50s, for example, and they’re just scared to death thinking, Oh, my God, it’s, you know, I’ve been avoiding and these different things and now I’m just so afraid I can never retire and I’m just doomed. And, you know, this doom and gloom type fear that causes them to want to neglect and put their head in the sand even more, but I’m like, dude, you’re only 50. Again, we’ve got this cultural mindset that 60 is old and 60s that we can work if we want to. You still got another 20 years working years. If you want To be highly productive and to make a lot of money and to start the savings and investing plans 20 years you can do a lot in 20 years money can compound and grow when you like you said the lifestyle architects, you know what you want, you’re just going to do 20 years out, we’re gonna work backwards, those numbers, you can start that today, you’ve got so much time we have to get rid of this cultural narrative. It’s 60 years old, and Game over.

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [38:22]
Absolutely. And so we’re we’re in our business, we’re all familiar with the rule of 72, you take 72 divided by your rate of return that tells you how many years it takes to double your money. And I say just do the rule of 72. So now, you may not need to save as aggressively as you did when you were working and raising this family. But if you found that next thing that you really enjoyed to do, they gave you enough income to take care of your operating expenses. So your nest egg could double and then you would be ready. But if you tell yourself you have no promise, nobody wants you is too late. Who all or you listen to someone who tries to convey that message, you will never get a chance to take the rule of 72 and double your money. And, you know, people aren’t like I said, Ben Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence in his 80s. Colonel Sanders had his breakout in his business in the 70s. I mean, there, there are plenty of examples of that are out there where people have done this, and you’re capable of doing it too. And I would argue that having those successes, as you go forward will lead to longevity and better quality of life.

Krisstina Wise [39:36]
Yeah, right on right on. Well, this is so good. Is there anything? Do you have any like rules of thumbs to share when it comes to? Just like the 4% rule, like you’ve said, the rule of 72? Are there any rules of thumb or just some financial metrics that you can offer people is ways to start thinking to start moving into taking more responsibility for this.

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [39:58]
Well, I First of all, financial literacy is a challenge. According to researchers at the universe, Chicago, only 30% of the population is financially illiterate. And there are very intelligent people, highly successful people, very wealthy people that just don’t know a lot about a month a lot about money. And so the first thing I tell people is, don’t beat yourself up about it and don’t feel embarrassed to say, I just don’t know a lot about about money, right? I mean, some people just don’t know basic things about what compound interest is, and that’s okay. And it’s okay, if you pick up, go to the library and you pick up a middle school book on on finance until you can figure out how to read the most advanced thing about finance and money. So the first thing you know, rules of thumb that I tell people is, first of all, just admit to yourself where you are, and it’s okay wherever you are. There is nothing wrong with it. We all learned At some point in time, we all had a starting point. The second part is, you know, basic blocking and tackling just basic simple budgeting. Ask yourself, what are your What are your What are your, your flows of money come from? What are your inflows? And for most people, that’s easy. I have a job, I have a nine to five. What are the threats to those inflows? What would you do? If, because some of us think that money is going to go on forever. We never think about, you know, every household if I were if I were a company, I wouldn’t just have one product. So we need to think in terms of if it’s possible, how do I get multiple streams of income? And that’s where I think, you know, models like Airbnb, and Uber and Lyft have been rewarding and exciting for people is because it teaches them how to get that extra hustle on it gives them that confidence. If something went wrong, I have the ability. I’m smart enough. I am capable enough that I can rethink this. And so we think about in this covert period, we’re alive. People are sidelined. I have friends that have sewing machines and they make mask and you know they’re doing well. Or they start walking dogs for people or whatever, whatever that little hustle is that you can do it to bed go get those inflows going. That’s great. Also, budgeting, understanding of outflows I find a lot of people don’t know where their money goes. They know they go to Starbucks, get that great cup of coffee, they forget about the fact that they maybe do it 10 times a week at six bucks a shot and with that could add up to so my basic rule of thumb is understand where your money comes from, understand where it goes, and then we can build from there.

Krisstina Wise [42:39]
Right on great. Wow, so good, so good. And just so in alignment with what I believe in teach and so I just love this. It’s just a more validation, and I just love your philosophy and point of view and your energy too. And what I love about the way you’re sharing this, which I say the same thing, like there’s no shame we don’t know. We don’t know and just be Learning and you’re wherever you are is just fine. And we can start from here we’re all a beginner is something that some time if we can start with this beginner mindset, with the desire to master this over time and to get to know more and start changing things with more of this responsibility, accountability and desire, it can change everything. And money is not that complicated. I mean, when you get into this, just like, you know, it’s not rocket science, it’s what we do in our day jobs is much more difficult than, you know, figuring out this money thing. So to, to kind of wrap this up here, I like to ask all of my guests a few questions. Okay. So the first question and if you said, Christina, if you really really knew me, you would know that what’s something that people don’t really know about you?

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [43:43]
Well, some people don’t know that I have a twin. So people who know me really, really well know that I have a twin and oftentimes people were going I never knew that about you and I know you for 10 years of like, when was last time when have you ever asked me to sit down and have a cup of coffee with you? You would know it so. So sometimes we have associations with people, but we really don’t know them. And that’s another thing I would encourage people to do as we look at a multi generational workforce. And I talked about in my book, there’s a chapter on laddering, your bonds and buddies. And so I think friendships should be ladder just like we ladder, a bond strategy, you should have a friend and every generational cohort, and a group of them because we all can learn from from each other. So take the time to figure out who’s older than you take the time to figure out who’s younger than you and develop a meaningful relationship.

Krisstina Wise [44:38]
That’s so good and without without judgment, sometimes like, oh, that person’s older, what do they know? Or that person is younger? Would they know and versus like your point? Yeah, there’s value across the board like youth and wisdom brings equal value just so and perfect. All right, tell me something. I’d like a brag moment. Tell me something you’re really proud of. You don’t get an opportunity to share very often. You know, I’ve thought about this one a little bit. And it’s really difficult for me.

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [45:08]
Something that I’m really proud of. So I’m Another fun fact that people don’t know about me is I’m a PK, I’m a preacher’s kid. And so, I grew up being taught that when we do things for others, those are things that we don’t talk about that we do them quietly. And we do them as because we want to do them. And we always want to let the person that we helped maintain their dignity. So in telling you about something that I’m really proud of, then I would tell you something that I don’t want to disclose because I never, but I am proud of the fact that I have raised children that care about others and are generous and charitable. And when I go to them and as a family if we say someone else needs something, therefore we may have to give up something I never get resistance. So I am proud of that. And I won’t disclose too much about that, because I always want that to be very discreet.

Krisstina Wise [46:09]
I love that. Well, thank you for sharing. And that’s, that’s really beautiful. And yeah, just, you know, pride around our children and giving them the parenting to develop these incredible children’s. So that’s, that’s beautiful. All right, tell me maybe just an abysmal failure like something like, oh, man, I had to do it all over again. I wouldn’t do that.

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [46:30]
Oh, where do I start? I mean, yeah, the learning process comes with failure. Right? Correct. I mean, we learn from our failures. I don’t I don’t know. You know, I know we talked about money. And we talked about being conservative and taking calculated risk. But I also think, you know, being a banker trained me to be very conservative. So there, maybe there’s some opportunities where I didn’t take risks the way I should have I you talked about working with entrepreneurs. One of the things that I enjoy about working with entrepreneurs is just this, once they get this thing in their head that they want to be successful for it, they just go all out. And so, you know, so one of the big flops, I have never been successful in real estate. I’ve tried it on my own. I’ve tried it with friends. And so I can’t say that maybe because I didn’t take more risk in that space. And what I mean about that, sometimes we go for that, oh, let’s start with this house, we only pay $20,000. For instead of this, you know, in this in this in this situation where we’re not going to get the best, or the best renter, maybe we should start big right out of the box, right? similar to some of our entrepreneurs. So something I feel that is in that space, but that’s maybe due to my inability to take more risk when appropriate, and

Krisstina Wise [47:54]
that’s a good point too. And that’s a good point. That’s a combination for another day, but there’s all different types. Have some investments for different types of personalities, you know, and, and I’m more of a risk taker. So real estate’s my jam, but I don’t really I don’t recommend real estate for everyone. And so that’s, that’s a really, I think, important point that is to understand myself in a way. All right, so one final question and to wrap this up, and I know you’re just a mythbuster. In fact, your book exit for work, just really bust a lot of retirement mess, if you will. But if there’s just one big fat myth you’d like to bust, what would it be?

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [48:27]
Well, you know, the book starts off in chapter one, which goes to 10 myths that we bust about retirement. And so what I would just like to say to me, the biggest myth, we’ve already discussed it, we’re not old. We’re middle age, when we hit this point, you can do more than you ever dreamed, ever thought about. And this is the best part of life. We’re no longer transitioning from middle age to old age. we’re transitioning from middle age to this undefined period. Some call the Third Age that no one before us has ever done and we can make it whatever we want it to be. And so the myth that is all over because you’re heading in the old age is so wrong. You’re 20 years away and don’t use these next 20 years feeling that you couldn’t do something awesome because it may be where you discover the most and have the most success and

Krisstina Wise [49:26]
then go Alright, well, that’s a perfect completion point. Greg, thank you so much for your time. Again, I just I’ve got a whole page full of notes here of your your nuggets in your wisdom. So thank you for spending your time with us. Thank you for the opportunity.

Dr. Gregg Lunceford [49:43]
My pleasure.

Krisstina Wise [49:46]
If you’re inspired by today’s show, and you’re the kind of person who likes to help others, there are some easy ways that you can help me first, please subscribe to the wealthy, wealthy podcast by doing so. It helps both of us you’ll never miss an episode. It helps me and my ratings. And if you’re able to leave a review, hopefully five stars even better. Finally, if you think your friends and family would enjoy the show, I invite you to share the wealthy, wealthy podcast with everyone you know. If you have any questions, I’m here you can email me at support at wealthy, wealthy calm, and I may even use your question or suggestion for a future podcast episode. Also, if you want to be motivated and inspired more regularly, connect with me on Instagram or LinkedIn at Christina wise, that’s KRISS ti na WISE. I believe we are all on this journey together towards finding our sovereignty and freedom. And I’d love to be part of your journey. I’d love to help you and especially on the financial side, so learn more at sovereignty. academy.com. As always, thank you so much for listening and being part of the wealthy, wealthy community

What We Covered

[1:34] Who is Dr. Gregg Lunceford?

[2:37] What is your point of view on the word retirement?

[12:27] More and More people don’t necessarily want to retire from work. It is the daily grind they want to retire from.

[15:58] People seem so much younger at 62 now than when I was growing up. Some people seem to be hitting their stride at 62 so that is the new 42 as I see it.

[18:20] How do we develop the exit strategy that leaves us with more options? Exiting from a carer isn’t game over.

[23:25] We have the lost value that comes with age. Instead of looking at an older person for their wisdom and life experiences, we look down upon them as a culture. How did that start happening?

[27:05] How do we find our retirement age? What are the fundamental mistakes you are seeing on the planing side?

[33:10] What percentage of people do you find have enough. How do they plan for the future and know what is enough?

[37:11] We have to get rid of the cultural narrative that 60 is old. It is never too late to start planning for the future.

[39:38] What rule of thumbs you can offer? What are some general principles that could help people start planning now?

[43:30] Kirisstina if you really really knew me you would know that?

[44:55] Tell me a brag moment.

[46:20] Tell me an abysmal failure of yours.

[48:12] Tell us a myth you would like to bust.


“So it’s not like I just want to retire and give up but retirement sounds really good, Because I’m just tired of grinding this out.”

“Having a life outside of that nine to five environment is very important and healthy.”

“I would argue that having those successes, as you go forward will lead to longevity and better quality of life.”

“What we’ve experienced over the last 70 years or so, we kind of have to look at as an anomaly, and it’s hard for us to look at it that way. Because we don’t have much understanding of what happened prior to that.”

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