Retirement is often looked upon as an escape. An escape from work. An escape from routine. An escape from structure. It is seen as a new stage of life. A life where we have a bit more freedom to do things we have been waiting 40 years to do. To tick off our bucket lists.
What’s the problem?
It may sound like an easy transition to make, but we still need to make plans. We often don’t realise how much of our self-worth and identity we tie to our careers. We often define ourselves by our work. When someone asks you the question “what do you do?”, we generally answer with what we do for a job. That is what the person asking the question probably meant. We will reply something along the lines of “I’m an Operations Manager” or “I work in sales” etc.
We put our entire life contribution into 4 words because we all like to put things into boxes and categories to make sense of the world and our place in it. What people are really asking when they ask this question is “how much money do you make?”, “do I earn more than you?”, "am I better than you?"
Instead of answering the what do you do question with your job title, try and answer it with things you are passionate about. I’m passionate about writing. I’m passionate about volunteering, and so on. Take away the importance of your job title from your life. You may get a few interesting looks when you answer the question in this way, but it really helps you to understand what is truly important in your life and what you are truly grateful for. If you cannot find anything, then find something. Try things.
The word retirement is a sad word. It means to withdraw yourself. Retirement should not be withdrawing from something at all. The goal of retirement planning isn’t necessarily to retire. It is to have enough money to do the things we want to do.
We fit on all ends of the scale. Some of us love our jobs and have few aspirations towards retirement, whereas others dislike their jobs immensely and cannot wait to leave. Aggressive savings planning is much more important for the latter.
Retirement can last 30-40 years. That is a long time to be doing nothing. We often work so hard for 40 years just so that we can have enough money to retire. We are so focused on work that we sometimes forget what we are truly passionate about. This can make the transition to retirement difficult. Yes, it will be fun for a while as you explore new things, but eventually that will wear off.
Who we are is much more than just a job title. Find your passions and your retirement years will be so much more fulfilling. Something deeper than just travel. Learning a new instrument. Volunteering for those in need. A hobby you have always wanted to try. Why wait until retirement? Start them now. Work should not dictate who we are until we are 67. Life begins now, not at retirement.
Just be aware that often when we are so passionate about running away from something, we forget to have passions to run towards.
The information contained on this site is the opinion of the individual author(s) based on their personal opinions, observation, research, and years of experience. The information offered by this website is general education only and is not meant to be taken as individualised financial advice, legal advice, tax advice, or any other kind of advice. You can read more of my disclaimer here
Comment below….have you experienced boredom in retirement? What are your plans/dreams for a fulfilling retirement?