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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.