Retirement is supposed to be the Golden Years. People work and sock away a portion of their earnings for years so that they can relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor. As Canadians are enjoying longer, healthier lives, we can expect to live longer and better in retirement. Not everyone is looking forward to the day when they won’t have to go into work, though. Retirement is a major lifestyle change that brings its own kind of special stress with it.
According to book, The Retirement Maze: What You Should Know Before and After You Retire, by Rob Pascale, Louis H. Primavera and Rip Roach, 45% of retirees miss their jobs. This number doesn’t decline even as people settle into their new “freedom” as retired people. According to Pascale and his co-authors, retirees still miss participating working even 11 years after leaving the workforce. What’s wrong with us?
Coping with the Loss of Identity as a Worker in Retirement
The problem here is not retirement, it’s more about your plan for retirement. You may have spent a lot of time during your working life talking about and focusing on the financial part of your retirement plan. That is important, and you need to have the resources in place to finance the lifestyle you want, but it’s only one part of the overall picture.
Work is not just something that provides a source of income. For many people, it gives them a sense of identity as well as provides structure for their day. Retiring without having a specific plan for how to fill in the eight or more hours that you would have spent at work may seem like a vacation for the initial “honeymoon” phase. After that point, you may find yourself at loose ends, and retirement may not be as satisfying as you had hoped.
Talking About Retirement and Making Choices that Work for You
- How will talking about coping with retirement now help you when the time comes? Getting these issues out in the open means you can look at them and work out a plan so that you aren’t suddenly facing huge chunks of time with nothing to fill it.
- Rather than going from working full-time to fully retired, you may decide to ease into a retirement lifestyle by slowly decreasing your working hours over a few months or years. Your financial advisor can help you determine how this would look so you can make the choice that best fits your needs.
- Many retirees say they miss the relationships they had with coworkers. If you don’t need to generate income in retirement, consider volunteer “work” for an organization, coaching, mentoring, or helping out in some capacity. It will keep you busy and help you make some new friends.
- Make a point of taking up a new hobby or interest that you didn’t have the time to pursue while you were working. Sign up for a class or lessons as a way to mark this new phase in your life.
Ultimately, a good financial plan gives you the freedom to choose to live the way you want to in retirement. It allows you to decide to work because you want to, not because you have to. You can fill your days with activities that are meaningful to you, even though you may no longer be identified as a worker.
As an experienced financial advisor, I can help you make the transition from worker to whatever you want to be in retirement. Let’s sit down and have a conversation about what that can mean for you. Please contact me to schedule your no-obligation consultation today.