Last week I had my annual eye exam. When I made my appointment the receptionist told me the doctor was only seeing patients now on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. During my checkup I congratulated my doctor on his pending retirement. I guess I was being presumptuous because he growled back, “I’m not retiring, I’m just seeing patients three days a week.” I then asked if he had plans for retirement, my guess is that he is in his mid-70s. Again he snarled, “Why would I retire? I like working, what would I do if I retired?” He went through the usual list of male retiree hobbies: golf, fishing, and travelling but none of these appealed to him.
I have had this conversation with many older male clients over the years and I am still puzzled. If you have worked your whole life and saved enough money so you don’t have to work, why would you still go to the office every day? Many men will say, “If I stay at home my wife will get mad at me?” That answer has always confused me, and maybe I’m being naïve, but why would your spouse be mad at you because you are going to spend more time together?
The day that I don’t have to work anymore I won’t, and there are plenty of other things that I want to do.
Why is it for some people that the idea of retiring is taboo, is it a sign of weakness or insecurity? Do we define who we are by the hours we spend in the office, sitting at a computer?
Last weekend, the New York Times had a great article, http://nyti.ms/1G4tctv, on retirees and having a second or third act in their lives. The idea of retirement for my generation and younger generations should and will be different than our parents’. We are living longer and the idea of hanging it up at 62 and moving to Florida may be dated.
I like the idea of a second act for retirees; volunteering in schools, mentoring, and teaching. Who better to teach younger people than those who have the life experience and time to give back?
I will have had nearly thirty years of experience in the financial services industry when I decide to leave my desk. I look forward to mentoring younger advisors and college students on how to achieve financial freedom. I would also like to own a wine shop.
Retirement planning should not be purely about money; how much you will need or how much you can afford to spend. It needs to be more holistic. Ask yourself, “What does life look like after I leave my 9 to 5 world? How will I find fulfillment?” Life is not linear; it’s never a straight line from point A to B. There are health issues, or the company you work for decides you are no longer necessary. Mentally we need to think ahead to prepare for these options and hone our interests in a new world.
Retirement should not be a death sentence. It has so much more to offer than playing golf or cards. Retirement is a second act to do something completely different, give back and enjoy.
The subject of retirement is very interesting to me; I invite you to share your thoughts.