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Numbering your Days: Creating a Focused Long-Term Mindset to optimize your Retirement Years

“Sir, the Days are...112 Days until Thanksgiving, 143 Days until We Beat Army [Army-Navy Football Game], 164 Days until Christmas Break, 281 days until Herndon, 285 days until Graduation, etc…..”  

Every Plebe (Freshman) at the U.S. Naval Academy, as part of the indoctrination program (in order to integrate the individual into a self-less team and to prepare Midshipman for their commission and subsequent leadership roles as Junior Officers in the Navy and the Marine Corps) is required to memorize and repeat back (on immediate command) to any upper-classman Navy Reef Points (traditions), Fleet knowledge, and various songs from Naval Academy history.  

One of the items required for memorization, are “The Days”.  

It was 26 years ago, but I still have distinct memories of reciting “The Days”, and the various perspectives and emotions this exercise produced, depending on which stage I was sojourning through.

As a Plebe, my focus was on Climbing Herndon (which signifies the end of Plebe Year), Final Exams, and the next vacation/break which I could visit family and friends.  As I went through the Naval Academy journey, the goal I focused on and my attitude toward the “The Days” evolved.  My focus changed as I drew closer to specific events.  The overall point of “The Days” exercise was to look continually look forward and be intentional each day with the preparation (mental and otherwise) for that specific event.  Ultimately, this gives us hope, helps us focus on what is important, and it provides us with a mental timekeeper and milestone, ensuring we spend our resources (time and energy) wisely.

This got me thinking, now in my current role as a Financial Planner, what if my clients “Numbered their Days”?  What kind of impact would that make on their lives?

  • What if we counted the number of days until our retirement?  
  • What if we counted the days we have in retirement?  
  • What if we counted the days we have to spend with our children before they graduate high school and leave the house?

Would we live our lives more intentionally?  Would we place more importance on certain aspects of our lives, like our relationships, the way we spend money, the way we invest our time?   Would we quit worrying about the things out of our control, the things and people we don’t have influence over?   How would we live our lives differently?   What changes could I help my clients make in their financial lives, which would help them live their lives to the fullest?

Your Days are Numbered

“Translating years to days, two-plus decades of retirement is about 8,000 days. 8,000 days is also roughly the same amount of time from birth to legal drinking age – 21 years old. Put another way, life between 21 years old and what many might call midlife in their later 40's, is another 8,000 days. And, from midlife, to the seemingly preordained retirement age of 65 years old, is – you guessed it – about another 8,000 days.”

-Joseph Coughlin, MIT AgeLab

How long will you live?  No one knows…

The most important variable in retirement planning, is knowing how long you will live.  

Although this is an unknowable variable, what would it mean for your life if we approximated it.  Took a best guess based upon of your family history, longevity statistics, your lifestyle, your current health.  How would this change your mindset?  How would it help you make decisions, planning for your days, and optimizing your resources?

8,000 Days

If you knew, that your retirement years were numbered and could most likely last 20 years or 8,000 days, how would that change the way in which you planned for this stage of your life?   

For many, the Retirement phase of your life will encompass more than a third of your days.  Does that change your perspective?  Some say that retirement is like one long never-ending weekend or summer vacation. 

As a financial planner, I focus on my client’s life goals and values and make recommendations which align their resources with supporting their goals.  I not only want my clients to make it to and through retirement, but I want them to thrive and live to their fullest potential.

Therefore, it is crucial prospective retirees’ and retirees number their days and envision how they will spend this time in retirement.  

For some working through retirement provides a social, financial, and purposeful use of their time?  For some, travel, hobbies, time with friends and family provide structure and goals to daily living.  Whatever your retirement stage looks like for you, it is important to maintain mental and physical health in order to provide the best quality of life during your retirement years.  

It is important to number your days so you live your life with the hope, purpose, and intentionality…..whatever phase of life you are in.   

Set up a meeting with Certified Financial Planner™ professional, Michael Bisbee, here:

https://calendly.com/michael-enduro/30min?back=1&month=2019-07



  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/josephcoughlin/2019/04/13/why-8000-is-the-most-important-number-for-your-retirement-plan/#10eef25c42ae

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Enduro Financial, Inc. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.  Enduro Financial, Inc. is  Registered Investment Advisor registered in CA.

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