Will you need to work after you retire?

The majority of our lifetime is spent working for a living. 8 to 10 to 12 hours a day, 5 or more days a week, the only thing that we spend more time doing is sleeping. During those busy working years, we diligently do without today to prepare for retirement tomorrow, striving to save what we can in the midst of a never-ending stream of bills. Then one day, after a long journey, we reach retirement age. WOO HOO! Finally, time to do what we have always wanted to do, to smell the roses, enjoy the amazing world around us, to savor our freedom – the Golden Years of Retirement have arrived.

Go back to work? What on EARTH could cause us to even contemplate such a dire decision? And yet, as mentioned in “Do Boomers need to work to be fulfilled?” 72% of boomers plan to keep working in some capacity after retiring. Why would they plan that?

Reasons why we work after retiring

  1. We need the money – the recent economy has not been very good to us. Nest eggs meticulously built up over years have been severely impacted in many cases and there is just not enough time to make up for it before retiring. And so we are forced to find some way to add to the coffers. In some cases, rather than having an option to continue down the original career path, retirees must take what they can get and settle for far from glamorous roles.
  2. We like the job – for some fortunate seniors, the employment experience and workplace has been a positive aspect of their lives. Side by side working with good people, receiving recognition for a job well done, challenges to face utilizing your skills and intellect, really enjoying what you are doing. Per the Del Webb 2010 Baby Boomer Survey, when asked what aspects of retirement have been disappointing, number one was not being around people and co-workers. A lot of us identify with our jobs and achieve strong feelings of self-worth from work. And if you really enjoy what you are doing, why retire? If your company has a mandatory retirement policy, maybe you can still stay involved on a consulting basis of some kind. It’s all about doing what you WANT to do.
  3. We are bored and challenged with having to plan and schedule our own day and prefer someone else to do so for us – I don’t go for this one. I believe that if you plan and prepare ahead of retirement, you can have a good understanding and reasonable expectation of what your life will look like. Do your research. There are great books out there like “How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free” by Ernie Zelinski and “What do you want to do when you grow up?” by Dorothy Cantor. There are wonderful blogs where retired and soon-to-be-retired writers share their thoughts, real-life experiences, and insight (take a look at my Blogroll list for some of the best that I have found to date). You could be retired for 20-30 years. Doesn’t something that significant deserve preparation and research on the front end?
  4. Rather than continuing down the same career path, we find or create a “job” that is in pursuit of our passion – NOW we are talking! A job that we wake up each morning and look forward to getting under way. The internet is a wonderful vehicle to channel creative thoughts. While you were working, you did not have the time or energy to launch that website or to make those clever tee shirts to sell on Amazon or to write that great American novel.  I really enjoy my recently undertaken journey into blogging and for the first time in a long time – heck, maybe ever – I find myself waking up a bit early with an idea in my head and I cannot wait to get in front of the ‘ol keyboard.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well”. – Diane Ackerman

Maybe, our career and working world during the first half of our lives is what Dianne refers to as the length of life. It is an important piece that makes us who and what we are. Maybe the width of life refers to those ultimate moments, shining experiences, indelible memories that make us more than just who and what we are. The width of life may be more in line with why we are. With our working lives behind us, retirement is our best chance to experience this width. Are you prepared to do so?

Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to lovebeingretired@hotmail.com.

8 thoughts on “Will you need to work after you retire?

  1. I love number 4! In retirement, it will probably be nice to still have some income coming in and many of us equate what we are paid to our “worth” and it’s hard to stop thinking like that.

    In retirement, hopefully, we can all have the opportunity for once to do something just because we love it and we’ll find retirement is the most fulfilling time of our lives.

  2. You offer a good list of reasons to work after retirement. I’d suggest that there might be one additional reason… pursuit of friendship. A person retiring full-time is without the opportunity to meet people — especially those with a common interest — through the work environment. So often, the newly retired person becomes lonely. Working part time can alleviate this problem. Bill

    • Absolutely – the social aspect of work is what is most important to many of us. Once we leave that work environment, unless we make an extra effort, connections are often lost. Meeting new people through part time work after retiring is a good way to go.

  3. I would like ideally to retire next year. As a business owner it would be nice to know that I could step in and out of the business while taking a back seat instead of the driving seat for a change. It would be nice for those retiring to know that they could also step back into the workplace if they need to but are there employers out there who will employ them readily?

    • Mike – you express a legitimate concern. I believe we are seeing to some extent and over time going to see more of an acceptance of senior workers. Face it, the population is moving there and people are living longer, more healthy and productive lives. Plus we have the skills that come with experience over time. And as you say, it would be ideal if we could leave wok for awhile but have something to return to should we need some money, interaction with co-workers, or a little challenge to round out our day.

  4. I read a statement in a retirement-oriented book recently that I disagree with. Referring to the time after working, the quote is: “It is simply not possible to recreate the same opportunities for mental stimulation that exist in the workplace.”

    My experience after nearly 10 years doesn’t support the author’s contention. In fact, I believe the opposite. For the last 8- 10 years or so of my work I mostly went through the motions. I was repeating what worked almost in automatic mode.

    My mental stimulation came when I left the working work and entered another world with no real idea what it held for me. That created some serious mental stimulation.

    That being said, I do occasionally work a handful of hours per week part time for two reasons: it gives me a little extra pocket money, and allows me to interact with people. I don’t need to work, but I choose to.

    • A retired person can find application for his / her wisdom and accumulated experience in many places… work for hire, starting a business, writing a book, composing music, participating in a volunteer effort, plus much more. I should think that the mental stimulation from these activities is every bit as significant as from one’s earlier career. Bill

    • I agree Bob that there are many ways to keep your mental facilities sharp after retirement. I just read about a retiree who is completing his FIFTH degree at college – maybe a bit overkill for some, but I doubt he is lacking for any mental stimulation. Trapped in the same dull routine at work would do far more damage than anything else. And blogging will keep you young! 🙂

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