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What We Can Learn About Retirement from the Rolling Stones

Jean Chatzky  |  October 3, 2019

In Rolling Stones fashion, it’s important to encourage Americans to plan for the future by creating protected lifetime income to continue doing what they love.

Note: This story is sponsored by The Alliance for Lifetime Income.

The summer of The Stones is over. Hopefully Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie are enjoying a well-deserved respite. But what they’ve left us with (besides our memories and our beloved tour swag) is a host of lessons for how to approach the next portion of our own lives. After all, watching 76-year-old Jagger, just weeks past heart surgery, prance and preen like a rocker one-third his age, was nothing but inspiring, and showed us how we can live life to the fullest, regardless of age. As the sole sponsor of the 2019 tour, the Alliance for Lifetime Income saw an opportunity to advance an important cause and message – to help Americans reduce the risk of running out of money in retirement by including protected lifetime income from an annuity in their retirement plans.

Here are a few things concert goers and Fellows of the Alliance for Lifetime Income took away from the experience.

When You’re Going to Live for a Long Time, You Need to Learn How to Manage Your Money 

“My mom actually used to know Mick Jagger. She was dating a guy who was also at the London School of Economics [as Jagger was] in 1963. Every Sunday the econ students would get together for tea and cookies. There was this guy with big lips, he’d have cookie crumbs stuck in them. He became pretty sophisticated when it came to economics then – and now. And it served him well. He’s shown to be pretty good at managing his own resources.” – Michael Finke, professor and Frank M. Engel Chair of Economic Security at The American College of Financial Services 

You Don’t Have to Stop Doing What You Love

“I’m a second-generation auto dealer, and Keith Richards – my favorite member of the Stones – is one of the world’s biggest rock stars. We couldn’t be more opposite, but I think we share this one thing in common: we love what we do.  At age 66, I could have retired years ago, but I’m not ready. My wife and I purchased a retirement home in Florida in 2011. The few months a year we are there are supposed to be on ‘vacation,’ but I guess you could say, ‘if you start me up, I’ll never stop.’ Most weeks, you’ll find me at the Daytona Auto Auction buying and selling vehicles.

The Rolling Stones have taught me that getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love. It’s possible, as you age, to just scale back, take a little time to relax and still make doing what you enjoy a part of your life.” – Tom Compo, auto dealer, concert-goer

Say No to What You Want to Get What You Need

“I’m 33, a little younger than the Stones’ fanbase, which is mostly made up of those between the ages of 45 and 75 – and a lot younger than the Stones themselves, who are all in their 70s. 

While it might be a stretch for me to relate to the members of the Rolling Stones, I can definitely relate to their lyrics. When they sing, ‘you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need,’ I know they’re talking about love and politics in the 60s. But to me, these lyrics describe saving for retirement to a ‘T.’ I’ve always been a saver, and began putting away for my retirement as soon as I started my career. Sometimes, that means saying no to things that I want, in an effort to get what I need: aka, an enjoyable retirement in the future.” – Sarah Compo, State Senator Chief of Staff, concert-goer (Tom’s daughter)

It’s Possible to Contribute at a High Level for a Very Long Time

“I associate the Stones with being able to contribute at a high level for a long period of time. I hope to mimic what they’ve done. I enjoy what I do. And I would love to contribute for decades and decades in my field of economics, to keep working in some capacity. That doesn’t mean I can stop saving, but means I can accept and plan on a more gradual retirement.  

Of course, one thing we’re trying to solve for as economists is not just smoother incomes over the course of your life, but continued engagement and avoiding social isolation. Work provides income, but it also provides intellectual stimulation and social interaction. It can help stave off dementia. Work, or something that looks like work, for some measurable hours per week is going to be good for older people.”  – Ben Harris, Visiting Associate Professor Northwestern Kellogg, former Chief Economist for the Vice President of the United States

Give Everything in Your Life 110% or it’s Not Worth it

“Longevity is a combination of remaining physically active and having something in your life you’re truly passionate about. If nothing else, I’ve learned to give everything 110% or it’s not worth it. So, if we’re serious about planning for retirement, we’ve got to commit. 

Retirement is a lifelong, ongoing investment. You’ve got to be smart and stay on top of your game, but also take time to smell the roses. It’s a delicate dance (or, more accurately, a chicken strut) between realism and aspiration. Work hard, play hard, but save like tomorrow’s going to be the best show yet.” – Stephanie Jankowski, blogger, freelance writer, concert-goer

You May Keep Going and Going and Going

“For a lot of people, the general idea of retirement might have been a short-term phenomenon. In the late 20th century, people might have had a five- to 10-year retirement. Now people are staying healthy longer, and the idea of retiring and not doing anything is falling by the wayside. What we understand now is that retirement doesn’t mean you stop doing work. You can change, but you don’t stop. The Stones aren’t touring full-time. They’re touring occasionally. It’s fun for them to get on the road. And it’s not necessarily because they need the money, but because they enjoy it.” – Wade Pfau, Professor of Retirement Income at The American College of Financial Services

In Rolling Stones fashion, it’s important to encourage Americans to plan for the future by creating protected lifetime income to continue doing what they love.

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