Retirement is Like Halloween

Bill Del-Sette |

“Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night.”

Steve Almond

I’ve always liked Halloween. To me, the holiday brings back fond childhood memories, like watching scary movies all night, getting sick on candy and being grounded for spreading toilet paper over my neighbor’s trees. It also comes at my favorite time of the year, a time that signifies change as the leaves are falling and the days get shorter.

Retirement also is a time of change, and as I was thinking about a client’s pending financial independence while eating my eighteenth fun size Payday candy bar, it struck me how much retirement and Halloween have in common:

1) Both Halloween and Retirement Can be Scary

Perhaps not the monster kind of scary, and hopefully the thought of retirement doesn’t leave you hiding under the bed. As much as starting a new chapter in life is appealing, fear of the unknown can be frightening. But just like the vampire at your front door on Halloween, what you’re scared of is most likely an illusion, as retirement can be the most fulfilling chapter in your book of life.

2) Both Halloween and Retirement Involve Assuming a New Identity

After having worked in a particular field for many years, people have to lose the professional part of their identity when they retire. But, like on Halloween, you might choose to try something totally different. This can be a challenge, but with proper planning and goal setting, your new retirement identity can be whatever you want it to be. Let’s just hope you are not forced to be a hobo like the kid who waits too long to decide on a costume!

3) Both Halloween and Retirement Involve Some Tricks

When I was young, Halloween entailed soap, toilet paper, eggs and shaving cream. Retirement has its own set of tricks, like applying for social security, or working through the maze of tax and Medicare issues. Just when you thought things would get easier, you have a new set of issues to worry about, like long-term care and estate planning. But like a little soap applied to a car window, the tricks can be relatively painless if you know how to navigate them.

4) Both Halloween and Retirement Involve Treats!

Happily, for the prepared retirement can be more fun than Halloween, full of treats year ‘round. Spending more time with the grandkids, wintering in a warm state, or pursuing a passion take the place of a bag full of candy. And no need to worry about stomach aches or cavities!