How Retirement Turns People Into Liars

Lets’ face it. We’re under pressure to retire in our 60’s and we’re also under pressure to retire well. No one wants to hear we didn’t save enough, we’re not well enough, we’re going to run out of money in our 70’s or 80’s. So, what do retirees do who haven’t retired as well as the media expected them to? They lie. How can you tell a retiree is lying? The first clue is that they overstate how well they are doing. If they’re traveling a lot (over excessive) buying a lot of stuff, wearing a lot of good quality clothing, bragging about how well they are doing in their new location, new vacation condo or whatever, driving a brand new car, bragging about their gourmet meals out (or in), the money they’re making on their investments, never showing you their actual net worth numbers, odds are great there’s a 100% chance they’re lying.

It’s a sad case because when you get right down to it, they’re fooling no one other than themselves. It takes one retiree to know the other retiree. Once you’re retired, regardless of how well you’ve planned, you know the reality of retirement and you start to get good at picking out the liars, the braggarts and the just plain old idiots.

People who are truly doing well in retirement, in most cases, don’t go around bragging about their good fortune due to their good planning. They just live their retirement lives and go merrily along their way. And to the retirees who are not doing so well, I say bunk! If your retirement didn’t turn out as well as you wanted it to, just shrug your shoulders, accept your fate and move along with it and continue to do your best. Nobody is judging your retirement! To do so is ridiculous and to anyone who is guilty of doing it, stop! No one cares what you have to say. Don’t think that your own ‘perfect’ retirement life can’t change on a dime. But for the grace of God, go you and I.

lying in retirement.png
The answer to this question is: YES (in most cases)

This lying retirement thing caught the attention of Forbes Magazine author, Robert Laura, who wrote a recent (June 13, 2019) article about this false retirement reality (click here) entitled: Will Retirement Turn You Into A Liar?

On the surface, it sounds like an absurd question. How could finally reaching the most highly anticipated phase of life turn you into a liar? Whats more, I’m not talking about it causing people to start telling little white lies or harmless fibs. I’m talking about bold-faced lies.

Retirement lies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and encompass everything from how people feel about it to what they do everyday in it. I know all of this because I am one of the few financial professionals trained to help people plan for the non-financial aspects of retirement.

The fact of the matter is, it’s hard not to lie about retirement because of the social norms and stigmas associated with it. It causes people to say one thing but feel another way. And we can ignore it, continue to enable it, or do something about it.

People may retire and realize they miss their job too much. They can’t admit they miss their job because that defeats the purpose of retirement: not working and liking it. So, they lie and falsely state they love their retirement and wish they had done it sooner. or people retire and miscalculate how long retirement truly is. That fact can be especially hard on early retirees (FIRE comes to my mind) who hadn’t thought out forty years of retirement vs twenty years of retirement. “Are we there yet?”

As a result, people can feel trapped and struggle with a number of issues. They end up lying about how they feel and what they are doing. Which is why it’s more important than ever to find a trained and experienced retirement coach to help you plan beyond the dollars and cents, as well as to start training future generations not to look at retirement as starting at a particular age, but rather based on a frame of mind and attitude.

Hey folks! My retirement didn’t work out like I thought it would. I didn’t know my husband’s health would turn sour two years ago. These were supposed to be his best productive earning years. Now? We’re just lucky if he can get two days of work in a month to pay our bills till he officially retires in 2022. How did a $14,000 liability turn into $157,000? Easy. They found out I had inherited money upon my father’s death and jacked the costs. Legally.

I didn’t know we’d hate relocating to Florida. I didn’t know my condo neighbors were going to be smokeaholics and cause serious harm to my good health from 2nd hand smoke. I didn’t think I’d be still living in my (expensive!) marital home unable to eat my home’s equity but too afraid to downsize anymore (after TWO failed attempts!!)

I never thought my husband would be out of work for 2.5 years when his employer (in business for 75 years) went bankrupt in 2008! I didn’t think my older daughter would renege on a down payment loan I extended to her. She was supposed to pay me back 100% by the time I turned 60. I’m going to be 69 this month and she still owes me $10,000. I didn’t know that a real estate investment I made would cost me a $100,000 loss after ten years of ownership. How does THAT happen to anyone? Duh?

Things happen people and there is no way in hell we can plan and succeed in everything we set out to do. Maybe it’s the luck of the draw. I seriously don’t know. But I do know this: no one is immune from bad things happening to them. It doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault. What’s that 1960’s saying: Shit Happens? It certainly does.

The secret, however, is to just keep picking yourself up and try, trying again. Don’t lie to yourself or worse yet, lie to others and tell them things that aren’t true. You do a terrible disservice to yourself and to them. The main thing to ask yourself, in retirement, IMHO, is: are you happy? I can 1000% honestly answer that question with a resounding YES! Despite it all, DH and I have been able to carve out a nice retirement lifestyle for ourselves. It’s one that suits us and let’s us always know we are continuing to do our best.

Live well, my friend. Live well and prosper.


  1. Congratulations on another great article. None of us can see the future. I’m with you, 100% happy I’m retired . Things happen you don’t expect or plan for.
    I thought of your RI problems the other day when our homeowners owners insurance informed me they wouldn’t renew our policy if we didn’t replace our perfectly good, never had any problem water heater because it’s 20 years old !!!!! I started calling around other home insurance companies (insuring a home in S. FL is almost extortion ). I was horrified to learn many won’t insure a house if your roof is over 20 years old !!!! Even if it’s in great condition and has no leaks. Why ? Just because they can. And a new tile roof in Miami can run upwards of $70k ! Our home is just 20 years old and we’ve kept it in great condition. OMG!
    So I’m very happy to be retired but I’m really PO’D at how companies are trying to nickel and dime us . Aaaaaargh ! Ok rant over.


    • Wow Teri. That’s awful. Luckily, we’re in a brand new home specifically built with retirement in mind. But after a bunch of years, we’ll need replacements on some things too! Hopefully your water heater won’t be too expensive to replace. At least not like the $37,000 I had to spend to put in a new above ground septic system in my RI home! Highway robbery!!
      Hang in there!
      Thanks for your comment, as always.


  2. My little home is paid for and insured through Foremost, which usually insures mobile home. This is a 1950 site built home, so in some states they will insure “regular “ homes. I don’t know if they will in all states but it would be worth a phone call for the commenter above. Great point Cindi! I sure didn’t expect to lose my shirt (and eventually my job after having my pay greatly reduced)in the Great Recession. I have detailed before the avalanche of issues that happened because I lost my job. Thankfully, I found another job five months later, but had to move and couldn’t sell my previous house because no jobs anymore up there!!! I still make 3 grand less per year, than I made in early 2009. Maybe by the time I retire in five years, I will be at my previous salary! I am not really complaining though because I have liked this job tenfold more than the previous one, for the past over eight years. I am having to concentrate on saving now.


    • Hi Cindy. There are still so many people who didn’t do well through the 2008’s. It’s tough to catch up, isn’t it? But we march on. I trust you will make your goal. 🙂


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