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Death Trap

No Money

No Friends

No Purpose

I once heard Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach, say that when people who have retired, run out of money, friends, and purpose, their hope for the future wanes. That it’s a death spiral.

I'm sure you can see how that happens.

People have things that they have been delaying for 40 years while working. Trips, vacations, places to go, people to see, time to give in terms of family or charitable causes. The box of stuff that they have been collecting for 40 years is filled with things they want to do.

Sometimes they set about achieving and doing all that they have put off. Sometimes, they don’t do any of it.

I have noticed something with clients that seems to reverberate with many others. As Dan Sullivan said, when you run out of purpose, money, or friends, life seems to lose its focus.

But sometimes you see people who have difficult circumstances and are doing all types of things. They may not have money, but they volunteer a lot and make an impact in people's lives. Some may have had a spouse pass away, but you see them often, and they never seem to be alone and are happy despite difficult circumstances.

Sometimes you run into people who just seem to be enjoying life and soaking it all in. But then you find out they lost most of their money in a market crash or haphazard spending on their children, and you wonder, "How can they be so happy?".

What’s the key? Well, not to run out of friends, money, or purpose in your life. But I think it's more than that.

When tragedy or ill circumstances beset others, they still have hope.

Those who have hope in the future have something pulling them forward. They are cheerful. They are engaged. They have things and people in their lives that really matter.

Hope is a powerful word. I work with people and their money, particularly in their second half of retirement. But your life is about more than money. Money helps, but the other two areas of relationships and purpose are the real drivers.


Alex Bishop, CRPC®, MS, is a Private Wealth Advisor and Franchise Owner with Bishop Financial Partners, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC in Huntersville, NC. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 23 years. To contact him, or

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