Last month we talked about 3 common misconceptions about retirement. Today we'll pick up where we left off. Now that we’ve addressed 3 things retirement is not, let’s look at 3 important truths about retirement!
1) A New Beginning
Retirement could last 30+ years! That’s 3 decades you have yet to live with all of the wisdom, knowledge, experience you’ve accumulated to now share with the world. You have the ability to redefine yourself. You can take up a new hobby, explore a new interest, learn something you never knew before. You now have something you didn’t have much of in your working years — free time! How will you make the most of it?
2) Better With a Plan
Retiring without a plan can lead to several unwanted things such as boredom, loneliness, a loss of purpose, you could even run out of money. Retirement with a plan, not just financially but a plan for how to budget your time, can lead to just the opposite. Intentionality is key in retirement, finding what is important to you and pursuing it.
3) Up to YOU
Perhaps the most liberating aspect of retirement is that it is totally up to you how you want to spend your time. You are no longer bound by the 9-5. You don’t have to answer to anyone. You don’t have to do or be anything to anyone. You get to define you during these years and that has to feel so freeing!
That said, you are not completely void of responsibilities. In fact, the responsibility you now have is owed to yourself. You owe it to yourself to create a plan to build relationships. You owe it to yourself to take time to relax. You owe it to yourself to find ways to add value to others. You owe it to yourself to have a financial plan to make it through these years stress free. These are all things that will lead to contentment, joy and happiness and you owe those things to yourself after decades of hard work.
Gaining context and understanding about what retirement is (and isn't) is important to understand in order to prepare yourself for a meaningful and purposeful retirement. Let’s look at a couple questions to ask of yourself to prepare yourself for this major life event.
What advice do you think yourself in 30 years might give to your current self? This may be a tricky one to answer, but it is a good exercise because it can uncover where your priorities are. It will also prevent you from falling into a routine that may come more natural or easier without the intentionality.
How can you balance vacation and vocation? When you’re working, you are limited by the obligation you have to bring home a paycheck. You have to work to put food on the table. It’s not the case when you’re retired. If you’ve built up enough of a nest egg, then work is totally optional.
Studies show that the chance of cognitive decline and diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s is drastically reduced when retirees stay working in some capacity in retirement. The social interaction, physical demand and use of brain power keeps you sharp physically and mentally, and the feeling of making meaningful contributions to society can help with feelings of self-worth.
Working in some capacity can bring a lot of value, but you want to make sure you’re taking the time to relax and enjoy the vacation aspect of retirement.
We hope we’ve given you a few things to think about as you approach these golden years. As you can see, retirement is a highly personalized adventure. Some may find more value in the vacation aspect, some may find more value in working or volunteering, others might prioritize spending their time traveling, or building meaningful friendships. The reality is, your retirement probably looks like some mix of all of the aforementioned things.
The reason for our content series titled #RetiringWithPurpose is to help get your wheels turning as you think through what this new beginning looks like for you. The pages of this book are blank, how will you write an incredible story?