3 Takeaways From Andrew Luck's Retirement

3 Takeaways from Andrew Luck’s Retirement 

Since turning 50, I’ve been contemplating the notion of retirement a bit more.  Several years ago I said I’d retire at age 59.  I picked 59, not because of any social security or legal reason but because 59 was my high school football number.  I thought it’d be funny to say that’s how I decided when to hang it up.  

Speaking of football and retirement, let’s talk about Andrew Luck’s retirement from football and the three takeaways we can all use in our life and career game plan.  

Lifestyle is more than simply money. 

We all work for money. Most of us would like to have more money.  Money affords us our lifestyle.  But there is more to lifestyle than simply money. Colts owner Jim Irsay said his quarterback could be leaving a half billion dollars of career earnings on the table. 

Most of us can’t comprehend walking away from such an income — or comprehend such an income, period!  While I’ve never earned that sort of salary, I understand why Andrew walked.  It’s because he wants to be able to walk.  He sees the scars of those whose bodies have endured the same injury-prone career he’s had.  

He played four seasons of Division 1 football then spent six seasons getting hit by professional football players.  He’s beat up.  Mr. Luck opted to stop making the pain worse.  Congratulations to him.  Remember the old saying, if you have your health, you have everything?  

Making big changes before you’re forced to takes courage. 

Each of us can make a major life or business move when forced.  Lose your job and you get pretty open to career changes. Lose your spouse or a family member and, sadly, you make a few big adjustments then forge ahead. 

But how apt are you to pull the trigger on a major change when you aren’t forced?  Most of us avoid big changes.  Andrew Luck’s contract was good for several more years.  He didn’t have to make a big change. But he did.  

What’s more, the man is changing the one constant in his life since childhood: football. With “pivot” being an overused corporate buzz word these days, ask yourself: Do you have the courage to make the kind of pivot that Mr. Luck made? 

Retirement shouldn’t mean quitting.  

Presumably, Andrew Luck doesn’t have to work.  His father was a professional athlete. Andrew went to Stanford on a scholarship.  We can safely assume he has no student loans or car payments to worry about. His NFL earnings are a touch over $97 million.  Endorsements are on top of that.     

His money is fine.  But he’s only 29 years old.  

The question is, what do you do when you don’t have to do anything?  The answer: You have to do something.  That’s true for Andrew Luck and it’s true for us.  Retiring from football is good for Andrew Luck’s health, but retiring too soon isn’t generally good for the health of any of us.  A British study released last year found that short-term memory declined by 40 percent upon retiring.  Stroke and heart attack is a greater risk upon retirement too. 

Whether you’re an athlete, executive, or business owner, you don’t do your mental or physical health any favors by retiring and doing nothing.  Keep doing something!  

The Extra Point 

None of us will ever be a pro quarterback. But all of us will need to make a decision about when and how we walk away from the game.  Are you ready? 

Damian Mason is a speaker, author, podcaster, businessman, agriculture guy and former outside linebacker for an average high school football team.  Find him at www.damianmason.com 

Angie Carel