Rethinking Retirement

April 23, 2018

Financial Consideration

Plan early and pay yourself first! Financial considerations are at the forefront when it comes to figuring out when to retire. Traditional pensions are becoming a thing of the past. The wave of the future of retirement if portable benefits. More employers are offering 401(k) and 457 options. This allows employees to take their savings with them when they move on to other jobs. It also save employers from having to worry about future liability. There are countless cost saving measures (packing a lunch, riding public transportation, etc) that can add up over time. You don’t have to maintain your current lifestyle in to retirement but you want to be prepared for continuing to live well on a less than full time salary.

Retirement is not 40 Hours vs. Zero Hours

Many retirees work well into retirement. You can phase into retirement or work a semi-retired position. Part time work or consulting work is also an option for those not interested in a 40-hour/full time workweek. The Bureau of Labor Statistics state that 19% of people 65 or older were working at least part time in the second quarter of 2017. By 2024, 36% of 65-69 will be active in the labor market which is up from 22% in 1994. We’re living longer and working keeps you active and engaged both socially and mentally. If you retire at 60 and live 20 more years, you want to plan for different levels of engagement in the workplace. Talk to your financial advisor to get information on how you can work part time and still draw on your retirement.

Do a Career Assessment

Figure out where you are in your career, where you want to go in the next few years and how long you want to stay working. The most important question is to figure out “what retirement means to you”. Your living may not necessarily be your calling and maybe you’re doing what needs to get done to pay the bills. It may not look like what you thought and it may not follow the plan you had when you were 30 or 40 years old. Don’t let your passions die. Continue to reassess and adjust your plans. Don’t find yourself in a situation where you feel you have to keep working because you’ve only focused on work and ignored other hobbies and other areas of your life.

Ignoring your passion is slow suicide. Never ignore what your hear pumps for. Mold your career around your lifestyle not your lifestyle around your career – Unknown

Mentally Prepare to Retire

Even if your finances are solid and you’re in good health, the mental change can be a challenge. I’ve seen many people that are not prepared for the mental aspect of retirement and get lost or fade away soon after retirement. How do you transition? How do you go from getting up at the same time every day to having to make your own schedule? Don’t think of retirement as a reason to slow down or sit still. Have a post-retirement plan to work a little, volunteer, get involved in community activities or other events. When work slows down, other areas of life can speed up. Retirement can be a sudden change or a gradual transition but let your plan fit your needs. There’s never a perfect time to retire. Get out and do things and pursue passions that you have always had with the extra time you have available.

Live Every Stage of Your Life

One of my favorite quotes is by Diane Ackerman and it says, “Don’t just live the length of your life, live the width of it as well”. I think everyone should try their best to do that. All we have is the present moment and if we put too much off for the future, we may never see it come to pass. There are things I know I won’t be able to do when I’m 60 or 70 so I want to enjoy them now. I don’t want to wait until retirement to do high adventure things or enjoy my life. I may not have the energy or the means by then. Live in the now because Father Time is undefeated. In all my years, no retiree I’ve ever spoken to has regretted their decision to leave. They all say they wish they had done it sooner. Take part in any and all interesting experiences that life presents to you.