Should somebody who retires continue to carry some professional obligations, or should they stop work completely? On average, in America men live until they are 79 and women to 85 years old. So the average retirement age of 65 would seem too young to have to relinquish all professional obligations.
The word retirement conjures images of rocking chairs, sunsets and shuffleboard — and the big night out every week is a bus ride to the bingo hall. Although the lifestyle may change when we retire, the fundamentals of personal finance do not. We will still need to prepare a budget, control our expenses and monitor the rate at which we are using up our reserves. If we have the gumption, we should still approach luxuries with the intention of either saving or finding other sources of income. The vital thing is to realize that, even if retirement is the end of our working life, it is not the end of our financial life. We still need to keep our books, just like we still need to eat, sleep and dream.
For young people and even those who are approaching the top of that hill, these ideas are about as attractive as a long, slow root canal without novacain, retirement doesn’t mean retreating from life, but rather, embracing it and all the things that drive our passions and fuel our fire. The t version of retirement doesn’t work because we are living too long to be satisfied with a life that is focused primarily on leisure. To make this stage of life meaningful, it needs to be shaped according to the values and preferences of each individual. That’s not as easy as it sounds and we need more resources to help us find the right things to create a satisfying life once we are old enough to retire. We need some kind of work to thrive once we retire, even if we don’t do it for pay.
Retiring doesn’t mean we have to stop making a difference. By this time in our lives, each of us has a unique set of skills, talents and abilities. We need to mesh that with a personal sense of what’s important to define our own individual sense of purpose. Living through our sense of purpose is as essential as breathing. Once we lose that, we lose the ability to make the choices we need to thrive. Much of what we blame on aging is really the result of mindset and lifestyle decisions. It is within our capability to change and alter those elements of our lives, and master our destiny, rather than be a slave to circumstances. The trip to Boracay might work for some, but most of us need a goal to work toward to feel worthwhile. To retire well, we need to learn how to include that and still relax and have fun.
I suggest we think about our life after retirement, how to get satisfaction from it and at the same time let younger generations benefit from our experience. Money comes after satisfaction!