Will You Ever Retire?

Business - November 3rd, 2006
Magellan Japan

Things are very different today. For some, retiring means leaving a long-time employer for a new career. For others, retiring means the opportunity to explore everything the world has to offer. You are likely resolved to spend as much time in retirement as you spent in the workforce.

Do you know exactly what you will be doing after you retire? If you haven’t given retirement much thought beyond a few rounds of golf and some neglected household chores, you need to think further. Otherwise, you could find yourself without a job and without anything to do. Boredom is a big issue.

According to sources, life expectancy for a 65 year old today is 82, and an 85 year old can expect to see 91. This is another working life so unless you have things to do, it will be the weekend every day of the week.

The first thing new retirees do, is…nothing. Many of my newly retired clients wake up without anywhere to go. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can imagine what retirement is like merely because you’ve gone on vacation. There’s no similarity between the two. Vacationers deliberately alter their lifestyle momentarily, and they consciously seek mental diversions to get away from their “real life.” Most important, vacationers know that work is waiting for them when they return.

Retirees, on the other hand, don’t have to plan for anything. They’re not deliberately altering their lifestyle because the sudden absence of work has altered it for them. Moreover, retirees need no mental diversions.

At first, retirees revel in their newfound freedom. They do many of the things they’ve always done, but they do them at odd times, like going to the cinema at midday. Fairly soon, the novelty of retirement wears off and retirees settle into a new routine. They return to hobbies they left years before, or they pick up new ones. They harass their children more.

So, what’s the solution? Start planning now, mentally as well as financially. It could be that you want to retire earlier, the goal for most expats. Remember that we are designed to work, so we have to re-interpret what retiring means. We all have talents that we can share either for financial gain, or for the community, wherever that may be.

A lifetime of knowledge and experience does not stop just because you have retired. For many professional sportsmen and women, retirement is at age 30 or 35. Many of them go on to build second careers to make use of their talents.

Consider how you can use your skills profitably such as becoming a consultant, mentoring younger workers, or perhaps engaging in volunteer work. Pretty soon you’ll be as busy—or quite possibly busier—than ever.