I'm almost 69 years old and many of my friends are retiring and love doing nothing. I've been a real estate developer for 46 years and self-employed for 38, come and go as I please, still love what I do, and have more money than I could ever spend intelligently. The thought of not having an interesting career or just playing golf and losing brain function scares the crap out of me. I don't have the faintest idea of what I'd want to reinvent myself into, or why I should. What articles or books can you recommend for approaching retirement with a positive mindset?
First of all, congratulations! You are in a very envious position! Being a convivial person and also an active traveler myself, I have met people from all walks of life. I particularly love to converse with folks from the Great Generation, not only do they share the most fantastic stories (many times I wish someone can make the movies out of it), but I also pick up some regrets which I can use it in my practice to counsel pre-retirees. One of those regrets was the boredom of the retirements that no one has mentioned before.
People have the general idea of what a retirement would be like, no more getting up on time and beating the traffic, more time to travel and see the world, etc., but pretty soon people realize no matter how late they get up, they still have so many hours of a day to kill or so many places to visit. Then what?
To avoid that scenario, I ask all my pre-retirees what their plans are when they retire in five years, and again in a year. Since a majority of them are professionals and work the 40-hour a week schedule, a sudden screeching half of work is analogous to coming down from the highest point of a roller coaster. You feel the initial excitement, but soon that thrill wears out. For physically and mentally fit pre-retirees, I encourage them to ease into the retirement. After all, their experience can be so valuable to the companies that they can be great mentors to the new hires. It’s a win-win situation for both retirees and employers. Working part-time not only reduces the burnout feeling, but also enjoy some financial perks, such as the continuations of the health insurance plan and income. Employers are also spared from the talent shortage or reinventing the wheels to train new employees.
Even for people who are retired early due to health reasons, I still encourage them to sign up some volunteer charitable functions. For example, I encouraged a physician client who was forced to retire by an unusual form of the Parkinson’s disease at the peak of his career to sign up a local support group. At the beginning, he was reluctant to go out and became depressed over time. Later, I connected him to a new PD support group and he blossomed. He used his medical background and knowledge of PD to help so many new comers to better understand their diagnosis. He felt useful, and the socialization also improved his morality. All in all, even the sickest may have something to give, whether it’s experience or care, and in turn, they are positively rewarded through the human interactions.
It may seem that I go off on a tangent, but all aforementioned is to encourage you to start a conversation with your financial planner, who may know you and advise you for years about finance and business, what will be the next best thing for you.
Meanwhile, here are some recommended books (“The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife,” by Marc Freedman; “The Encore Career Handbook,” by Marci Alboher; “65 Things To Do When You Retire,” edited by Mark Evan Chimsky; “Boundless Potential,” by Mark S. Walton; “Master Class,” by Peter Spiers; “Second-Act Careers,” by Nancy Collamer; and “Second Wind,” by Bill Thomas) or websites (Encore; lifereimagined.aarp.org; nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps). Yes, I save the best for the last :-)
Great question and something I've encountered when speaking to some of our clients. Instead of re-creating the wheel, I found this great article for you (from the Wall Street Journal) that lists 15 retirement books, each that focus on different retirement-related topics. http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-best-books-of-2015-on-retirement-living-1448852602
I wish you the best and I feel similar to you in that, yes, those leisure activities are temporarily enjoyable, but I feel it's important to continue to challenge ourselves with what will provide us with a sense of complete fulfillment in life. Sometimes, our clients may volunteer for a cause they believe in. Sometimes, they will explore the world through travel. Some like to babysit with the grandkids and spend time with their family members or friends enjoying local activities together. But, it all starts with what are you passionate about and what will make you jump out of bed in the morning because it's something you WANT to do. And, this answer may be getting another job or branching out in a new career so that you are continuously challenged and still have the opportunity to be part of a team or explore new ideas.
Ultimately, it sounds like you're in a great position financially, so I wish you the best in finding something that will provide you with overall fulfillment on top of your financial freedom.
Joe Allaria, CFP®
It sounds like you’re referring to what I call “The New Retirement.” Gone are the days where retirement meant sitting on your porch in a rocking chair, watching the world pass by. I think you would enjoy The Banker and the Fisherman: Lessons in Life, Happiness and Wealth for the 21st Century. In a review, Newsday called it “philosophy meets finance.” In fact, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary copy.
I might begin with asking myself a set of questions:
1) Why am I retiring? Is it health related? Or is it another "forced event?"
2) Is there a job I can do within the field I love that allows me to say close to it (i.e. retired football players sometimes take up coaching)?
The concept of retirement is being used so fluidly nowadays, you may just call it an avocation phase with less strenuous work. I think you should concentrate on doing what you love to do in a reduced capacity. Without knowing the details of your situation, it is hard to say. But you could become a mentor to the scores of people that want to enter real estate successfully, but don't know how. You can use that same concept to coach, write a book, etc., because it seems you have done well and have invaluable experience. On the other hand, if your doctor or family has suggested you to step a way for health reasons, you probably need to take a meaningful sabbatical to re-event yourself which it seems you have the resources to do.
So with that said, good luck my friend. I hope that helps!