We teach an Osher Life-Long Learning (OLLI) class each year on Success and Significance in Retirement in which we advocate that people don’t retire, but instead keep significant goals. We wrote in a previous article:
Retirement used to mean not only a complete withdrawal from the workforce but often a retreat from life. Even the word “retire” has the connotations of shuffling quietly off to bed.
We call that traditional concept a “cliff retirement” because it is so abrupt. One day you are working full time, and the next you are playing full time (or slumped in your chair watching TV feeling unwanted and over the hill). We all need meaning and significance in our lives. And close social relations are an intrinsic part of our humanness. For many people, work provides meaning, significance and social relationships.
Therefore it was with interest that I read Robert Laura’s article, “Five Things Advisors Should Tell Clients About Retirement, But Often Don’t.” Here is his list with commentary:
1) Health Is Wealth. It is easy to have enough money for the rest of your life if you die young. Exercise and healthy eating is more important than the money projections.
2) Time Is Of The Essence. Other than drug addiction and marrying a creep, people regret more what they didn’t do toward the end of their lives. Make a list of what you would like to do and then plan to do some of it now.
3) There Is A Dark Side. Alcohol, drug addiction and depression will kill your retirement and seniors are susceptible when many of the normal life events of aging occur such as losing a spouse, receiving a medical diagnosis or being isolated from your family and friends.
4) Work Is What You Do, Not Who You Are. You can lose a sense of purpose. You need to know what aspects of work are going to be the most difficult to replace and what you are going to substitute.
5) Retirement Is A Oxymoron. Retirement takes active planning with work, goals, timelines and a schedule in order to make it successful.
Here are some additional recommended reading on retirement:
Don’t Retire: Keep Significant Goals
How Much Should I Have Saved Toward Retirement?
Maximum Safe Withdrawal Rates in Retirement
Gain $152,000 by Smart Filing for Social Security