A common question posed to pre-retirees is “what will you do when every day is the weekend?” Whether we realize it or not, much of our lives revolve around work. The obvious change is that you won’t be spending the 40+ hours a week working. What can be forgotten is that while you’re in your working years, you also spend time with your coworkers and attend company events. While we don’t think of work as part of our social lives, it undoubtedly is. For the lucky ones, work also provides a sense of purpose in their lives, a reason to wake up every day. Work is part of our identities.
What happens when that all goes away in retirement?
Some retirees discover that the activities they had planned for retirement aren’t as fulfilling or as time consuming as they had thought. Additionally, the meaning previously derived from their profession has also disappeared.
It may be surprising to learn that 39% of current workers aged 65 and older have been in the workforce before.1 And have come back. Of course, some of this population are workers who had to return to the workforce due to financial necessity.
The portion of this statistic I’d like to call attention to is the individuals who resumed working for other reasons than money. This phenomenon has been coined as “unretirement” and it isn’t as rare as you might think. Unretirement occurs as a result of the aforementioned loss of purpose and excess of free time come retirement.
Part-time work may be part of your retirement plan, but it's a good idea to take the time to really think about what you want your retirement to look like. Thinking about what you want to do ahead of time can help you create a fulfilling retirement and avoid the "what now?" moment many experience after their last day of work.
Here are some non-financial things to consider before you retire:
Hobbies: Pretty self-explanatory. You’ll find yourself with more time than you know what to do with in retirement. Dust off existing hobbies or explore new ones. Check out your local community college. Many offer low cost courses on hobbies like ceramics or exercise classes.
Social: Find others with similar interests to build a community outside of work. Love to ride bikes? There’s probably a local biking group you could join. Same goes for photography, running, writing, etc, etc,. You get the point. Social media can be a great jumping off point – Meetup and Facebook can both bring similar minded people together. You may already be involved with some organizations but haven’t taken the time to expand upon that community.
Meaning: Is there a cause you’re passionate about but never had the time to support? Retirement is a great time to volunteer or sit on the board of a non-profit. A quick Google search can reveal many causes and organizations within your community.
Spouse/Partner: Is your spouse still working? The retiree won’t be able to rely on their spouse for social engagement. A couple suddenly finds themselves in two very different places without the shared experience of work. The still-working spouse often wants to exit the workforce earlier than planned to spend time with them.
A good financial advisor doesn’t only deal with your finances – having the funds to be comfortable in retirement is only one piece of a comprehensive financial plan.
This is meant for educational purposes only. It should not be considered investment advice, nor does it constitute a recommendation to take a particular course of action. Please consult with a financial professional regarding your personal situation prior to making any financial related decisions. (02/21)