Retirement Planning Lessons from the “Wizard of Oz”

The Library of Congress says this is the most watched movie of all time. It was produced in 1939 (the same year “Gone With the Wind” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” were produced). I was recently re-watching Oz with my wife and it occurred to me that Dorothy’s adventures in Oz present some excellent lessons about retirement planning.

For instance, what is the mantra that Dorothy uses to get her back to Kansas? She repeats, “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” This is the #1 non-financial essential to a successful retirement. You need to be in the right place when you retire (home). And “home” doesn’t just mean a house or condo or apartment. “Home” is the location where your house is located, the community you live in, how big or small the city or town and the amenities of your home base.

Other than maybe the scary flying monkeys or the wicked witch, what else do you remember about Dorothy’s journey through Oz? How about her three friends who join her on her journey: Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion? Ironically, who you spend time with in retirement is the second non-financial success factor.

Dorothy’s journey itself through Oz is also a retirement planning lesson. Dorothy and her friends are confronted with challenges and obstacles in their journey and that’s what retirement is like. There will be twists and turns, un-expected obstacles, obstructions, and distractions as you go through retirement. Like life, the future is un-knowable, and the challenges are sometimes scary. But Dorothy had a plan and stayed the course. Retirement is like that. Have a plan, expect things to change, and be flexible.

And lastly, it takes heart, head, and courage to navigate retirement.

There are many other retirement planning lessons in the movie. For example,

  • Don’t be confused by the illusion of a wizard (investment guru),
  • Dress right for retirement (ruby slippers),
  • Take time to enjoy the good things in life (visit the emerald city occasionally)
  • It’s good to have a dog with you on your journey.

May I suggest you re-watch the “Wizard of Oz” with your retirement plans in mind. See what other lessons you can learn from Dorothy and friends.

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