347: How the Retirement Quotient (RQ) Test Helps Redefine Your Retirement with Robert Laura
Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Robert Laura back to the podcast. Back in 2020, we had a great conversation about the ways COVID was impacting retirement. Now, we’re shifting gears from a “No-Regrets Retirement Plan” mindset to redefining retirement and improving our retirement intelligence.
Robert is the founder of RetirementProject.org and Naked Retirement. As the Retirement Activist, Robert is committed to changing the way people think about and prepare for every aspect of retirement. In his nationally syndicated columns at Forbes and Financial Advisor, he challenges the status quo of traditional retirement planning. His tremendous work also frequently appears in the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Investor’s Business Daily, The Street, and many other publications.
In this episode, we dig into Robert’s Retirement Quotient (RQ) test and what he’s learned throughout his career, studying why some people succeed and some fail in retirement from an individual–not a financial–perspective.
You’ll also learn why so many people underestimate just how intense retirement can be, why retirement is all about envisioning the life you want, and removing the negative stigma that the idea of retirement means happiness is over or that you’re put out to pasture.
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In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- How to use the RQ test to assess your retirement readiness.
- Why so many retirees suffer in silence despite being financially stable.
- Why the “honeymoon phase” of retirement can be such a dangerous time.
- How to create a retirement plan when you don’t really want to retire.
- How retirement reorients work, helps us find new communities, and forge new connections in the outside world.
- "If we don't invest in things that can love us back, then we get to this point where that's all that we can hold on to." - Robert Laura
- "If you want to live a successful life in retirement, start creating it now and living it out. Find that balance, find that flexibility, and build it in." - Robert Laura
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Casey Weade: Bob, welcome back to the podcast.
Bob Laura: Casey, excited to be here. Really appreciate the effort. What episode is this going to be? So, will it be like 186 and 350 or something?
Casey Weade: It's a really good question. I think you're around 365 if memory serves me correctly.
Bob Laura: I have 186 episodes. We'll come back around that to next month.
Casey Weade: That's what I'm thinking. I just can't believe how quickly time has passed. I feel like, I mean, we've stayed in touch but I just don't feel like it's been that long since we've had a conversation. And then we look back and I go, "Boy, it's been almost two years since we had this conversation," and this is a totally new one. So much happened in the last couple of years. In 2020, we were focusing largely, I mean, we were talking about your No-Regrets Retirement Plan, but a lot of our conversation had to do with COVID at the time and the impact that was making in retirement.
Bob Laura: Yeah. So much has changed. I think that the COVID... COVID actually was great for retirement because it gave people some practice, right? Like you're going to be at home all day with your spouse. How's that feel like? I'm working until I'm 70 now, folks.
Casey Weade: Yeah. And that's one of the things you cover in a lot of the new material that you have is just practicing retirement. And part of that is figuring out what to do with your time. If you've never had the time to figure out what to do with your time, then what are you going to do with your time? So, I really enjoyed that part of the quiz, and I want to get into that here in just a bit, but let's just jump right into it. What is retirement intelligence? We've got EQ. So, we've got IQs. We got a whole new Q here. So, what is retirement intelligence? What is the RQ?
Bob Laura: You know, there wasn't a tool out there to assess personal retirement readiness. And so, a lot of times you'll see, "Are you ready to retire?" It's all about your finances. And what I've studied for the last 13 years is why people fail in retirement and what we wanted to really take a look at then is kind of laying over that knowledge of why do people fail and why do people succeed? What makes for a better transition? And kind of put that into an online tool that people could kind of click-through? And really it raises people's awareness about the overall, the amount of change and actually the sophistication and the transition. And so, we wanted to really focus on individuals and how they're going to transition rather than the financial side of things.
Casey Weade: So, it's part of the quiz. I mean, you share an equation that is IQ, EQ, plus SQ, plus AQ equals your RQ. And so, could you walk us through that equation and all those little acronyms there?
Bob Laura: Yeah. So, the IQ, so obviously that's intelligence, right? But people don't know a lot about the transition, right? So many people don't realize that retirement's one of the top ten most stressful life you get. They just think it's going to be fun and easy. And so, we want to measure a person's intelligence about their knowledge about the transition. Of course, we know emotional intelligence is EQ. And again, there's a lot of change that comes with the retirement transition. The Holmes-Rahe scale has 43 things that are life's biggest stressors or factors, and 20 of those things intersect with retirement. So, there's a lot of change. You've got to have really good EQ to make the transition. SQ is spiritual quotient. So, really, are you living out your values and beliefs? Because the fact is a lot of people go through life on autopilot, right? And they're just kind of, yeah, they think they're living according to their values but they haven't had them put in the kind of the context of retirement. And then AQ is the adversity quotient or resiliency quotient. And again, with the amount of change that can take place and again, aging comes with its own hurdles. You know, will you be able to bounce back quickly? And so, by measuring and looking at those four components, we can help people apply those things to the RQ and make a better transition.
Casey Weade: You know, as I think about these different levels, I am wondering if there's actually a technical weighting that you're using in the quiz, but I think of it as almost Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Is there a hierarchy here that you see? And maybe that results in some degree of weighting? I notice there isn't a financial quotient in there. It seems like financial quotient should be an element of this but maybe it shouldn't be. Maybe this is something completely separate.
Bob Laura: Well, we want it to be something separate because it just interferes with the other pieces. And it's really, you know, the financial side can just be more complex and so it slows the process down. The idea is if we get the person right first, we could get the money right later. I think people go about it the other way. "Well, my money's right. I replaced my income, but now I'm bored, I'm isolated and I don't know why." And I think the other big thing is there's a couple of stigmas about retirement that people don't realize. A, you can't see that it's not going well, right? Because you have enough money not to work and all the time to do what you want. So, when it feels weird or out of sorts, they don't know what to say so people suffer in silence. And so, we want to reduce or eliminate that, get the personal side right because, again, the financial side, there's plenty of experts out there to help with that but there aren't a lot of people to help with the other piece.
Casey Weade: So, if I think about that, well, I mean, could we put this in a hierarchy? And maybe I think that's also an issue that even Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which I mean, Abraham Maslow actually recognized that in his construction of the hierarchy saying, well, it's not necessarily an order of importance, right? Yes, you need those basic things. However, we all need all of these things. We need to make sure all of them are part of our lives in order to experience a full life. And is that the same thing here with the RQ? Are all of these things equivalent? I mean, it seems like it would be very easy to say, well, at the bottom of the hierarchy is our financial quotient. And then we'd have IQ, EQ, SQ, AQ so we'd have retirement knowledge, then emotional intelligence, then spiritual quotient, then adversity quotient. It seems like we might see that actually come out, but I'm just curious how you view it.
Bob Laura: Yes. Well, you know, and I don't want to downplay the financials. I mean, I think it's critically important but there's a lot of tools and resources for it already, and it does obviously play a role. And when we look at the weighting, so there is a weighting inside the system. And so, basically, it's more like a credit score. And so, why all of a sudden is my credit score up or down or I think it's weird that when you go to - if you have a high score, you go to get a new car that your credit score gets dinged and you're like, "Well, how did that...?" It's hard to kind of understand. We didn't design it that way but essentially what we really have looked at as we built the scale up to 1,395 and basically when people get a thousand or higher is where we start to see better transitions. And so, some people coming in at the 850 or the 950 and there are some weightings that matter a little bit more. One of the crucial components of the assessment is, do you have a written plan to replace your work identity, fill your time, stay relevant, connected, mentally and physically active, and express your spiritual beliefs.
Now, there is a part in that that says, "Do you have a written financial plan as well?" That's what more people do circle but they don't have the other pieces because this is what all this really boils down to as people spend thousands of dollars and tens of hours getting their financial plan written down but what about their personal life? So, there are some weightings that are more important and there are some answers that aren't scored at all, which is the stuff that you see on the second page of the report.
Casey Weade: Well, I'm glad you say that. I scored a 1,062 so, okay, I just made it over that hurdle and I can't wait to share some of the, you know, what came out of me taking that quiz here in the moment. But another thing that kind of stood out to me. It says, "The profile scores you in three key areas: retirement knowledge, work life, and personal life." So, retirement knowledge, work life, personal life. Okay. Well, how does that intersect with the equation offered? It looks like I'm being graded on four things in the equation, but really it's focusing on three key areas. Can you help me reconcile that?
Bob Laura: Absolutely. The IQ is really the first part so the knowledge side so knowledge about the transition and then the EQ, SQ, and the AQ is in both the work life and the personal. And, for example, like measuring adversity, we measure that both in the work life as well as the personal life by asking the question, my work life, successes or failures are easy to recall or hard to recall. And, again, a lot of people, there are some people who focus more on their failures than on their successes and that is a challenge to their resiliency. And so, that's the kind of things that we're looking for and then we're double assessing social network and some of those things we're asking. We do have some validating questions that cross over. And what we're really looking for is a couple of things: inconsistencies and variances. And so, if someone scores their social camaraderie at work very high but then in the personal side, they see most of their friends are outside the workplace, it's just a point for discussion to make sense of it. And then we also ask a lot of personality-based questions like, do you consider yourself type A, left brain, right brain? Because, again, what we see is people perceive themselves one way but they haven't applied it to the retirement transition and that's why they feel out of sorts.
And so, that's where we're kind of connecting the dots where this just gets deeper. But the cool thing about it, it's really about a conversation. And no one's had the conversation. No one says, "Here's my personality, and here's what's important to me. Let's talk about how that maps out in this transition."
Casey Weade: And it seems like it's so hard sometimes to get someone to start to even be open to this conversation. But this is the most important conversation we can have before we step into retirement. It's not the financial conversation. It really should start with the softer side before we ever get to that. So, there was something that you said in MarketWatch that came across to me as interesting. You said that it's not to tell us how prepared we are for retirement. You said this. It's about whether or not the type of person you are matches the type of retirement you envision for yourself. Could you expand on that?
Bob Laura: Yeah. So, I think what's really important is sometimes people are different people at work than they are at home and they aren't sure which personality will transfer over to retirement. And then each individual is different. This is kind of a problem with retirement is there's no single definition as to the best way to retire. And so, men retire different than women, extroverts than introverts, solo agers versus people with kids and grandkids. And so, we can't just say, here's the five ways to retire successfully or here's the five ways you fail, because an introvert doesn't need an extensive social network and someone who is left brain and type A, they are going to need goals in the first 30 days of retirement. Otherwise, they're going to feel out of sorts. And so, it's really about taking a look at the individual and saying, "I'm self-reporting. This is me and what's important to me and how I function." And then saying, "What does that look like over here?" And so, we're not trying to score you or to get you to a 1,395 but we're trying to recognize and have you think about, "This is the stuff that's important to me. Am I prepared to make the transition with these skills and talents, or do I need to do other things?"
Casey Weade: I was a type-A and I want the 1,395. I mean, I want the perfect score, right?
Bob Laura: Yeah.
Casey Weade: You say that's really not the goal or that's not important. Well, when you think about this, the type of person that we envision ourselves being, the type of person we are, how often are you finding a mismatch there? I mean, is this really vital and something that you really created the quiz for because there is such a consistent mismatch that you're finding with your clients?
Bob Laura: Yeah. You know, really people, you know, a lot of people just waste the first couple of years trying to figure it out because they haven't thought about it. And that's why, again, one of the things we ask is, do you have goals for the first 30 days of retirement? Most people don't. The honeymoon phase is one of the most dangerous phases because, yes, you retired and, yes, you deserve to relax and hang out but you're really creating a series of maladaptive habits and behaviors for three months or six months before you're like, "Oh, you know what? I'm going to start working out. I'm going to reconnect with my friends at work." It's too late. You've already dug yourself these holes. And so, what we see is how do we help people avoid that so that a year or two years in, they're not digging out. So, there just are a lot of inconsistencies. And it's also about awareness because, again, no one's told someone that you should have goals for your first 30 days. Another important thing is volunteering. So, I can't tell you how many people, "Oh, by the way, when I retire I'm going to volunteer. I'm going to work out." I'm like, "No, you're not. You're not going to do any of it because you're not already doing it." We do what we know. And if you go into retirement with knowing who you're going to volunteer with, the fact that you like volunteering with them, you already have a connection, that's a huge bonus. You know, instead of getting there because people get there, they wait six months, "Yeah, I want to volunteer," then they never pull the trigger. So, we're just trying to help them create with, you know, retire with this stuff rather than waiting until they get there.
Casey Weade: Kind of retire with purpose?
That. Well, the cliche is you should retire to something, but you're just procrastinating your best life. Retire with it and like, to your point, like purpose and passion are huge. And I'm sure you see it, too. There are just some people who just struggle to connect. And so, we want them to jump into retirement with it rather than wait and figure it out.
Casey Weade: Well, and we're talking a lot about pre-retirement and how this benefits individuals that are pre-retirement but I can see someone listening that's already in retirement going, "Oh, well, I guess it's too late." I mean, how does this quiz benefit someone that's already in retirement? How can they leverage it if they can at all?
Bob Laura: So, we're working on a post-retirement version. So, you'd be surprised, I mean, I've been working on this for two years and there's still some browser bugs and different things inside the system. So, we will have a post-retirement version shortly out there that is designed for people who are 2 to 3 years because the work questions, obviously, they're not work. So, we're going to change out those questions so that they can be looked at differently but it's really about the same process. You know, a lot of people haven't really just found that purpose or direction and feel kind of out of sorts. And a lot of times working with the retirement culture, you get a tool like this, it's a normalizing behavior that, "It's okay. You're not the only one. We see this all the time," but then really just digging into what are some ways we can start to look at this differently to figure out, again, their personality, what's important to them. One of the big three questions I like to ask are, "Whose rules are you following? Why are you following those rules? And what would happen if you broke them?" You know, for people who are stuck and in retirement because they tend to have gotten their thinking it was going to work out or be a certain way. And we just want to expand their thought process to say, "Wait a minute, I can be more and do more," and let's take steps to do it.
Casey Weade: And I don't know if you can answer this question yet. Maybe the quiz is too new. Maybe it's not reaching statistical significance at this point but if you can answer it, that'd be great. I am wondering and I just think, I mean, years from now, I can see this 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now being incredibly valuable retirement research, especially on the softer side of retirement, of course. What kind of data are you uncovering at this point, if any, that's maybe statistically significant? Are there people that you're seeing that decided that they shouldn't retire at all? They thought they're going to retire. Now, they've decided they're not going to retire as a result of doing the quiz. Are you finding misalignment among couples very consistently and how we're working through that? Can you just share some of the takeaways so far?
Bob Laura: Yes. So, we are collecting the data and that was one of the add-ons that we've done recently so that we can look at what are the most popular answers for married couples, for men, for women, and kind of we're going to be pulling that data. As far as statistical significance, we're still only around a thousand people, so we don't want to pull that data until we get to about 5,000. And we're expediting the process because, obviously, we're still launching and making sure everything is functioning well. You know, Retirement Coaches Association, we do have a separate research project that will help answer some of those things but we haven't pulled any of that data. But with the coaches that we work with and with the people that we've engaged so far, probably the biggest surprise comes in the work life that most people who are good at their work score high and their identity being tied to what, you know, that the value they get out of it, the importance of it. And what's really interesting about that is that's the way it's supposed to be. If you're good at your job, then you're going to score high in the work life scale areas but it's actually the only area in the assessment that we want to see those numbers go down.
Because a lot of people, they're really good at their job, they're really focused, they engage and especially financial advisors are actually terrible at retirement, what we call enmeshment, because, well, if you think about advisors like we're go-to people, people value our opinion, we're friends with our clients like you're just connected and engaged. Like, you're going to give all that up? And so, it's figuring out how to replace those things but that's probably kind of been the most eye-opening area. We do see a lot of variance just in personality. And again, it's just because they self-identify one way but they just haven't thought about how that's going to look in retirement. So, those are two of the biggest areas, the change over in the work life and then the variances.
Casey Weade: Funny you say that. I scored a five out of five on how much my identity associated with my work and how important it is to me. And so, when I see that, I think the easy thing to say there or to gather out of that, you go, "Well, I guess I should not retire then," right? I mean that's how I look at it. I go five out of five on both of these things like should people like me even consider retirement?
Bob Laura: Well, and that's what... No. That's the other kind of thing and that's why retirement's not bad and you don't have to do it. I think it's striking a balance because what I've realized about myself through all this work is I do like my work too much. I get a lot out of it and that's not good. Over time, I have to scale that back. I maybe only go from a five to a three, but it's easier to make a partial transition when your work life is a three than it is a five. What happens to a lot of people is it's a five and they decide to quit cold turkey and they're like, "Well, that wasn't a good idea." There's still a lot of issues in corporate America. I mean, there's plenty of consulting companies that are still kicking out partners at age 62. And you're like, "Wait a minute, man," like 62 and they're thriving and you're going to force them to retire. So, that's where the trouble comes in, too, because those people are five. They're partners in big firms, and all of a sudden they're forced to walk away and that's where the problems arise.
Casey Weade: And that's why you said we have to scale it back or you have to scale that back. I have to scale that back over time. You're saying that because we really can't control when we retire.
Bob Laura: And you don't know if it's going to be a health concern, if you're going to have to be a caregiver, And again, like I love my work, you know, it's great, but my work can't love me back. And if we don't invest in things that can love us back, then we get to this point where that's all that we can hold on to. And so, it doesn't mean you have to change everything but the other thing I see, especially with families and work-committed people is they retire and say, "Now I'm ready to spend time with family and be more engaged." Well, you weren't doing it before, so it doesn't mean that your family is ready. And so, it is just about finding balance because, again, I consider myself semi-retired but I work 60 hours a week because I do what I love. Right? And so, there's this kind of balance but what I think is so valuable in all this is it's just talking about it. Most people don't critically think about retirement. They just assume it's going to be good. They're going to be happy when they get there and then they're surprised. And so, it's just saying, "Let's start to question all of this and how easy it's going to be or how can I make it better." And that's really the fun of it for me because I like to know what makes people tick. Like what's going on up there? What are you thinking and feeling? And a lot of times it's the first time people are having a conversation about it.
Casey Weade: The light bulbs really going off for me, Bob, because I'm thinking about our planning process and the way that we design plans for people that don't want to retire. I call the book Job Optional because that's the kind of plan that we want to create. We don't want to help people necessarily get to retirement. I just want you to know that if something happens tomorrow, you decide to retire or force in retirement, you're going to have a plan in place so now you can live confidently knowing that you can always retire if you want to, but you don't have to. Well, that's the financial piece. Sure. Now, I got the financial confidence to know I'm prepared if I get forced into retirement tomorrow but we also need this other piece. Why not start dialing down? And I get it. It's like I really don't want to let go with my five, right? I get my five. I like my five out of five. I love my work. It's important to me. I don't want to dial that back but I see how that is a huge risk. Just like if I wasn't financially prepared for retirement and forced into it, that I need to also start dialing back this number. So, it's helping me. Bob, I appreciate it.
Bob Laura: Well, it's funny to me because like I'm the same like I'm a seven out of five, right? So are you. But then it is just like last year, I take an annual fishing trip with my buddies. I did not have the time or capacity to go last year. I did not. It made absolutely no sense but I knew I had to because of this work, knowing that my social relationships, my social networking in retirement is going to be the most important thing. If I keep delaying and I've only missed one trip in the last five years, but if I keep delaying and putting it off, A, I am not going to get asked, I'm not going to have a close relationship with them, and my social network deteriorates because I'm working too much. And so, I don't think it's how do we slow pace from a 7 to a 4 hitting a 5 to 4. It's where can you plug in? You've got to start saying no to some work and yes to some other things.
Casey Weade: And that seems like the ideal number would be around two or three. You still love your work and gather a significant portion of your life's purpose and meaning. So, that's vital, right, in whatever work we're doing but we also want this other source of identity, this other source of purpose and meaning, which is just dialing that down a little bit. And I can see filling that out for myself and going, it's a five. However, I mean, the reality is it's probably it isn't a five. And this is why it's so important to have the conversation about this on the back end. It's not just about doing the assessment. And that's where I really understand it's not about the score that you get. It's really about the conversations that it leads to.
Bob Laura: Because really you're going to score better. So, if you went back in the RQ after we have this discussion, you're going to score higher because you're going to understand that you're going to see some of the things. You score higher.
Casey Weade: I wouldn't put a five there anymore.
Bob Laura: Well, and you're going to score higher in the IQ if you missed that. You know what I mean? And that's what we're telling people. Like, when you take the assessment and you read it, you're going to increase your score by 10% and you can go back and take it any time. And it is just about it's being open to it and thinking about it and kind of putting the stuff out there.
Casey Weade: You know, one of the areas that also came up when I did my assessment and said I am a type A, left brain, planner type, and that can make it very difficult to retire. And yet I balance that out with the level of work flexibility that I have. I was forced into a temporary retirement for about six months with the birth of our second child and some of the complications that he had. And I learned very quickly, "Oh, man, I don't have a schedule." And I ended up in a pretty bad mental place after a couple of months. And I learned what I need to do to put a schedule around myself because I need that. I'm a planner type. I'm left brain, I'm type-A. Well, that means I need to have something I'm working on. I need to have a regimen, I need to be organized. I need to have a plan for the day. I need to be intentional every day. And if I don't have that, it can be very detrimental to my psychology. So, now, I do have a significant amount of flexibility. And just I want to hear you talk a little bit about how important it is to start building in some flexibility. You don't necessarily have to take a sabbatical. You don't have to take three, six months off a year but building in some flexibility and how that contributes to a better retirement for individuals like myself.
Bob Laura: And I think too like the other thing is like - and this is what's cool about the assessment. So, let's say that you type A, left brain, planner type, and then let's even say that you had goals for your first 30 days of retirement. You knew who you're going to volunteer with like you had everything dialed in. And so, it's perfect on that there's no variances. But the problem is there's no margin for when things change or if something unexpected comes in because I'm the same as you in unexpected things when they disrupt my day, they disrupt my mentality. And so, it's about having that conversation and say we need some margin in our life too that it's okay if you don't accomplish these goals in 30 days. It's okay if you switch who you volunteer with and talking through those things because again, our personalities affect other people in our families and other things. And so, it isn't just about having it all dialed in but understanding that as we get older, we need some margin as well. We need some flexibility. And again, this whole idea of retire with it, like if you're working out, you know, because a lot of people say, "Well, I don't have a workout routine. I'm going to start when I retire." Again, you're probably not like there's no extra motivation. You got to build those habits. And so, if you can start practicing some just time or doing nothing. Allow some flexibility but start creating a life that, you know, here's what I think. If you want to live a successful life in retirement, start creating it now and living it out. Find that balance, find that flexibility, and build it in.
Casey Weade: You shared something around goals, around having goals for the first 30 days of retirement. I think that's a very foreign concept to most people. I mean, what do I most often hear in this gentleman I'll never forget, he said, "Well, what am I looking forward to in retirement? Like, not having an alarm clock and getting up whenever I want and doing whatever I want every day." He didn't have any goals for the first 30 days or the first 12 months of retirement. If you were talking to someone like that, how would you share with them the importance of having goals and what should goals look like in retirement? I think that's a struggle.
Bob Laura: Yeah. I think part of the struggle is because everyone thinks goals like, oh, you got to climb Mount Everest or you got to hand out $100 every Friday in the street corner. You got to be doing something big and amazing. You don't. Goal number one should be creating a workout routine or following that routine because, well, the cool things about going to the gym at the same time is you start to get to know people, right? So, creating a routine around health and wellness, having specific times that you're going to reconnect with your work friends. That is the biggest gap, especially for guys. Because the other problem with work is that's our connector. If we go too long without staying connected, you get out of the loop with what's going on or frustrations or other things. And so, you want to have a plan that within 2 to 3 weeks you're reconnecting with people that you work with, if you want to stay in connection with them. And then I think too like what, you know, work, I mean, yeah, so retirement doesn't eliminate work. It reorients it. So, you still have to work on other things. And one of those things is yourself. What about reading a book, going to a lecture, enrolling in some sort of a class? Like, doing something like that are really low-barrier goals that just give you some focus and direction but don't overwhelm you or kind of weigh you down.
Casey Weade: And you talk about going to a gym. So, I go to the gym and then I need to tell somebody who I am. I'm introducing myself. And you do imply and maybe I got the implication wrong but I interpreted that it's kind of a negative thing. I shouldn't be introducing myself as retired. Why shouldn't I just introduce myself as retired? What's wrong with that? I mean, I see so many introduce themselves as retired with a sense of pride and not negativity. Is this universal or...?
Bob Laura: Yeah. It's probably one of the hardest things that people deal with and it kind of goes un-talked about because, I mean, we're trained to think retirement is amazing that we have finally reached this pinnacle of our lives, that we've worked hard, we saved all this money. We worked so dang hard and said, "Oh, well, you don't have to work. Look at me now." Nobody cares. And that is the hardest thing because we've been programmed that retirement is amazing. Don't get me wrong. It's an amazing accomplishment. But people in the outside world and I've heard this hundreds of times that when someone says or introduces themselves to retire, especially younger people, the conversation just stops. There's still, unfortunately, a negative stigma to the idea of retirement that you're done, you're out to pasture, that you're just sitting around not doing much. Now, that definition is changing, but that is the social stigma right now. And so, we're very cautious in the encouragement of people to say, you can say you're retired or you retired from this role but you're doing something else. But to lay in there something like I'm focusing on my grandkids or I'm doing this as a volunteer or other things, something other than just, "I'm retired," because a lot of people don't know how to take it. They just assume you're done and you're irrelevant and we don't want that to happen to people.
Casey Weade: So, it's more about the way other individuals are interpreting them.
Bob Laura: Exactly. So, people say it proudly like, "I'm retired. Yeah, look at me." And the way other people we, unfortunately, as a society, we value youth. We don't really value the wisdom and age. And so, I think that's changing but it's still this idea that other people are like, "Oh, well good," and then the conversation stops and moves on and we don't want that to happen to people, We don't want them to experience it.
Casey Weade: So, you started this quiz with 188 questions. You drilled it down to 56 questions. And I can imagine just how hard that probably was to get down to 56 and why you had to do it. You had to get it to a level where individuals were willing to put in the time and effort to do it. But there had to be a painful process. I can only imagine you going, "I really like this question." What were one of the questions that you go, "I really wish this one would have made it. We had to exclude these two or three?"
Bob Laura: Actually, originally we had financial questions. You know, there's a whole area and not like too deep but we had a whole financial section that we wanted to consider. And then, of course, the other problem is when you're beta testing this, everyone has something they want to add. And then really one of the tricks that we used in kind of evaluating these questions is, of course, when we first started doing this, they were hand copies, right? So, we are sending people PDF that they had to fill out. And what was really important and what was really valuable is almost every person who took it wrote something about a variety of the questions. They put a hand note, and that really helped us understand what questions were eliciting more feelings. And that's what we were looking to do. And again, the other thing is we were originally going to look at a quote, academic validated assessment but you got to have three questions that are validators and you go down this path like, "I don't want to take 120 or 180 questions and at the end of the day, the assessment is a starting point." So, it's not like this is the end all, be all like, "Okay, so he only scored a little bit over 1,000. Whew, man. He is in trouble." No. It's like this is where you're at and let's build on that. And so, I can't remember all of the questions, there's a ton, but there's probably 15 financial questions that we pulled just because we wanted to pull it back to simplify it for the personal side.
Casey Weade: Well, now you antagonize me. I mean, I want to know. My competitive side wants to know, did I win? So, Bob, I'm curious, what did you score when you first took the quiz?
Bob Laura: I scored under a thousand. I scored around 950. And we typically see people 850 to 950 in that range and my problem is my work. Obviously, I knew the answers too. When you write something like that...
Casey Weade: You knew it. What was going to happen? So, you just want to take the quiz.
Bob Laura: I kind of just took myself out of that mentality to say, okay, at face value, what do I do? How do I feel? And I think, too, it's really the personal side, too, on some of the scales of really where am I spending my time and what am I doing. So, there's definitely some wiggle room for me but very similar to you, I like my work, I like what I'm doing, but there's definitely some room for more.
Casey Weade: Well, hopefully, this is validating for individuals. We got a couple of people that live and breathe this for decades and we're still not getting it. It's just hard to get over a thousand. And there's so much for us to work on. We all have something to work on. This is a really valuable quiz. There's a lot of people who are going to want to take it but let's get down to brass tacks. So, how much does it cost? Where can we take it? What's the time commitment?
Bob Laura: Yep. So, the website is just RETQ.org and it's $29. Like we said, if you want to have the first 10, 20 people, whatever, email you that we're happy to have them go through it for free. We definitely want to give that freebie out to some people, but it's $29 then you've got a couple of options afterwards so you can come to one of our group discussions and those are fun. That's what the $29 and plus. You can come to a group discussion. You should get 5 to 10 people that have taken the quiz and I kind of walk people through the answers and the scores and how it kind of works. If people want to talk to an actual coach, then we will refer them to a coach for a 30-minute consult. It's the same kind of thing. It's just individual. Some people want more of a private conversation. There's 56 questions. It takes about 20 minutes. Once you take it, we will send you a report and the report's about 16 or 17 pages. And so, you need to really set about 30 minutes aside just to go through it. But we're kind of keeping things low-key. But you have the group discussion as well as the coach option once you take it.
Casey Weade: That's awesome. What amazing value. So, $29 I get to take the assessment, get my report, and join a group discussion. Very cool. And then we can take it from there but I know I learned a lot. I know others are going to learn a lot from this quiz. So, we're going to be giving it away for free as you just mentioned to the first 20 individuals that write an honest rating and review of the podcast, then shoot us an email with your iTunes username so we can validate it, email@example.com for the first 20 individuals that write an honest rating review for the podcast, shoot us an email, again firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll set you up for that free assessment plus the group discussion, which is so cool. Thank you so much for offering that, Bob, and it's been a real pleasure to have you on the show again.
Bob Laura: Appreciate the opportunity and really just, you know, everything behind it is really how do we help people make better transitions and start to question everything about retirement. So, thank you, Casey. I appreciate it.
Casey Weade: Well, and I'm sure we're going to be having you on here again. And then about five or ten years when we get that Nobel Prize for all the research here.
Bob Laura: I'll take it. Yeah.
Casey Weade: Okay. Thanks a lot, Bob.
Bob Laura: Alright. Thanks. Take care.