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How's Your Retirement Hogwash Detector?

Posted Sep 12 2008 1:58pm

Are you apt to buy into the lifestyle vision that marketers so keenly advertise...despite the fact that it doesn't correspond to your values? What's your ideal retirement? Do you picture yourself in a community of other retireds where your neighbors are much like you? Do you prefer diversity...perhaps a university town with lots of young people and access to courses through an OLLI (Osher Life Long Learning Institute)? Or a Costa Rican village where you can learn to speak Spanish fluently?

And what about the enticement of youthful appearance? Do you study the before and after photos of people who've had facelifts and tummy tucks? Does it appeal to you or no?

Robert Powell of Market Watch reviews John Nelson's book, What Color is Your Parachute? for Retirement: Planning Now for the Life You Want. Nelson cautions consumers to put up their hogwash antennae to distinguish between what corporate marketers want us to purchase and what fits with our own needs and pocketbook.

How does one do that?

  • Get to know yourself, what makes you contented, curious, excited? what activities give you a sense of meaning and purpose?
  • What are the benefits suggested by the music, wording, appearance of people in the ad?
  • What emotions are triggered?
  • What's the marketer's motive..a one night stand or an enduring relationship? This might determine how responsible the marketer is to your needs.
  • What are the underlying values implicit in the ad and do they correspond with yours?

How good are you at knowing who you are, what you want for this next step in your life? Do you cave in under pressure from advertising...or have you already done it and regret it? Are you a prisoner of your own (unrealistic) fantasy of what retirement is supposed to be like...based on stereotypes, what friends are doing, or outdated assumptions about this age?

Go to my website at and download the Discover Your Goals questionnaire. This will get you started knowing who you really are and want to be.

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