Saying Goodbye to the Joe Louis Arena is just like Entering Retirement

Contributed by: Nick Defenthaler, CFP® Nick Defenthaler

As most of you are probably aware, the iconic Joe Louis Arena held its final Red Wings game several weeks ago on a gorgeous, 72 degree, sunny April day in Detroit. “The Joe,” as most Wings fans called it, has been a staple in the city of Detroit for the past 38 years since it was completed in 1979. As someone who has played hockey all his life, some of my best memories growing up were either spent at The Joe watching games live or catching them on TV where you could feel the electricity from the rink radiating through the television during certain games. The game of hockey has taught me so much – teamwork, comradery, leadership, service, hard work, just to name a few. I firmly believe the lessons the sport has offered me have made me a better person, both personally and professionally. 

As I watched the final game from my living room that bittersweet Sunday evening, I couldn’t help but see the parallels that existed between phasing into retirement and the new chapter the Red Wings and the City of Detroit are entering as the hockey team moves into Little Caesars Arena. Think about it, most of our working careers are going to last about as long as The Joe. The Red Wings who first played at The Joe when it opened in 1979 struggled for many years. But over time, the team and the organization evolved and came together as players found themselves and fine-tuned their skills, both individually and as a team. This is also very similar to what many of our career paths look like. When we first enter the work force out of school, we’re all pretty green. We may think we have it all figured out early on, but it takes years to get to a level of greatness like the Wings did when they won their first Stanley Cup in 1997. 

As the Joe Louis Arena era ends, a new one begins. Looking back over the course of those nearly four decades the Wings spent at The Joe, they were some of best times the Red Wings organization had, just like the time in our lives throughout our working career. Just think about how much probably occurred during this time frame in your own life. Getting married, having children, traveling, being promoted, earning more money, helping children get through college, and welcoming grandchildren to name a few. As one door closes, however, a new one opens and it can be a pretty amazing one, just like the new stage the Red Wings are stepping into. 

Although The Joe was not a glamourous building, it had so much grit and character. It embodied the hard working attitude our state and area have and I feel very lucky to be able to have experienced so many good times there. I must say, however, I’m anxiously looking forward to attending many games at the new rink. I can only hope Little Caesars Arena will produce as much fun and great memories as The Joe did! For those of you soon entering that new phase in your life, the phase of retirement, this can also be an exciting time. As you gear up for this transition, please reach out to us in order to make this time as smooth and memorable as possible.

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Nick works closely with Center clients and is also the Director of The Center’s Financial Planning Department. He is also a frequent contributor to the firm’s blogs and educational webinars.

Opinions expressed are those of Nick Defenthaler and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. This information has been obtained from sources deemed to be reliable but we cannot guarantee that is accurate or complete.