REPURPOSED: The Untold Story of Retirement in America by Ben Taatjes

Book Review
  • Approximate Time Commitment: 7 minutes

This book review was written by Hank Griffith of South Suburban Evangelical Free Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

Partner: Grow2Serve

Resource Description

Sioux Falls, SD: Throne Publishing Group, 2017


Are you thinking of retiring soon or know someone who is? If so, I recommend this short, easy to read book to you. It is written by a Christian financial advisor who has worked with many people who have made the transition from work to retirement. The author, Ben Taatjes of Willmar, MN, has learned that being financially prepared is by no means the only or the most important thing to consider.

Taatjes writes that the worst advice he ever gave someone was telling him that he could retired because his investment portfolios would permit it. The client retired two months later, but was miserable because he had not prepared for it. He ended up sitting at home watching TV, gaining weight, and missing his work friends because he hadn’t planned properly for retirement.

Here are some lines from the book that resonated with me:

One of the biggest revelations of my career was when I realized living out my life purpose is the only way to true fulfillment.

Our purpose on this earth is far greater than the accumulation of things. Instead true wealth is found in our legacy’s positive impact on people’s lives.

People who are approaching retirement have more to offer in almost every facet of life than just about anyone else.

Retirement isn’t just the finish line; instead it can be the beginning of the greatest leg of the race.

The first myth to dispel is that retirement will bring an end to stress. You have been working hard, running a business or raising a family for years, so stress-free living is attractive. However, what will you do with the eight hours or more per day you used to spend working?

What I have experienced and what we see in our clients’ lives is that I am happiest and healthiest when giving to and serving others.

If you make retirement only about yourself, you will be unhappy.

Retirement does not have to be the autumn of life. Instead, it can be the springtime, a brand-new season.

When we retire without a plan we are setting ourselves up to fail.

To live at the pinnacle of the happiness pyramid is to pass down your wisdom, knowledge, and experience. This is your legacy, teaching what you have gained and learned through the lifetime. When I taught my daughter how to shoot a rifle, the joy I experienced when I had first learned came exploding back.

Are you retiring from something or to something?

As my clients prepare for retirement, I help them consider their lives in five key areas: financial, social, emotional, physical, and legacy.

While the nonfinancial aspects of retirement are crucially important we do start with money because that is the foundation for preparedness.

I have a friend who told me that he felt as if he retired only to lose his entire family the next day because when he left, he left his close-knit community of work colleagues.

Reflect on what’s been important to you over the course of your life. Have you spent your time investing in it? Whether on people, organizations, or service projects, what value are you going to leave behind? At the end of your life, will you be able to look back with peace and contentment, knowing you served well?

Every plan is only as good as its implementation.

Practicing retirement is the proper mindset propelled by a plan.

When you near the end of your working years, make certain you can leave work at work and let your life take shape outside of the office.

Find your passion and what makes you tick.

There is the great importance in defining guard rails. What I mean is that whether we realize it or not, our employers have given us guard rails, or boundaries, to live and work within. They have defined everything from when we wake up, to when we eat, when we go home, and even when we go on vacation. However, when you walk away from the workplace, you also walk away from the structure that has been in place for many years. There is something tremendously healthy about guard rails, so to lose them is a danger. … How do you maintain (guard rails) after you leave the workforce?

Believe it or not, money is different once you retire, and understanding the distinct between wealth and income is paramount. For example, it is pleasant watching investment portfolios grow fatter by the year, but what happens when you need to start drawing from the wealth you have worked so hard to build up? What happens when the paychecks dry up and you are on your own?

Instead (of focusing on wealth) what retirees need to focus on is income, which I define as money received on a regular basis to provide for your daily needs.

If you are putting your hope in wealth, you’re storing up treasures in the wrong place.

Income is your ability to give and to do.

In simplest terms, legacy is what you are going to be remembered for. … You can foster a greater legacy or begin to live a new one right now.

Your role is simply to positively contribute to your sphere of influence, no matter how big or small.

I am intentional about showing my children what my grandfather passed on to me.

Happiness and fulfillment are possible only when we lose ourselves and find joy in adding value to others.


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