How retired are you?  For most people, that question has one of two answers:  They are either retired (100%) or not retired (0%).  They associate retirement with a particular age (65+) or work status (not working) and if they can’t check those boxes, then they’re not retired.  They see life as a timeline and retirement comes at the end, somewhere between Medicare and Forest Lawn.

If you’ve read much of my writing, you know that I think a bit differently than your average bear about retirement.  I define retirement with one word: Control.  I don’t view life as a timeline with retirement at the end.  I view it as a pie chart, divided between time I control and time controlled by others.  Retirement is a gradual transition from doing what I have to do to doing what I want to do.

The upside to my philosophy is that, for each and every one of us, retirement begins today.  It is no longer some sort of “Promised Land” that we hope to survive long enough to see.  Instead, it starts now, and evolves over the years as we gain more control over how we spend our days.

How much do you control?

Management guru Peter Drucker was fond of saying: “What gets measured gets managed.”  In order to make something better, we need to be able to measure it.  That way we can track progress and see what works and what doesn’t.  This is why our world is so full of ratios like earnings per share, body mass index and miles per gallon.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer a new ratio for each of us to consider.  I call it the HRAY Ratio (or ‘How Retired Are You’ Ratio).  It is calculated by adding up the Time You Control and dividing it by Time Controlled by Others.  The bigger the ratio, the more retired you are.

Your assignment for the weekend is to calculate your HRAY.  Download the Time Budget Worksheet from the Retirement Planning Toolkit if you need some help figuring out how much of your time you control (Remember: Subscribers just enter your email address and hit submit and you’ll go straight to the Toolkit).

Once we all know our HRAY, then we can focus our time and energies on improving it (a.k.a. Becoming more retired).  That will be the subject of a future post.  Stay tuned.

Quick Favor:  Can you (as Dennis Rodman might say) do me a solid?  If you enjoyed this article can you forward it to a friend or two?  More than just a blog, I’m trying to build a movement of people who are serious about living life intentionally.  There are probably people in your circle of influence who would be a good fit for our little community and I’d love for you to send them a quick invite.  Thanks!

Have a great weekend!

~ Joe

One year to live
Retirement Planning Toolkit