Retirement is that thing we all think about from the time we start working until the time we actually decide it's time to stop working. I've helped countless numbers of working folk move from the working class to the retirement state, and walk with them along this life altering time in their life. Many times I am asked from clients as to when I think they should retire... and my answer is always the same. "One day, you will wake up, sit up in bed, and know it's time. Nobody can tell you when that will be but you." Each situation is as different as we all are, and retirement takes a lot of preparation: making sure you have enough income, plans for things to do once you let go of a daily structure, finding hobbies, getting along with your spouse or partner…you know the drill.
Having lived in Seville since 2013 and being a member of the club since 2011, I've had both the pleasure and privilege to meet many members and call them friends. One member of whom I am proud to call a friend retired about 5 years ago. We live in a small community, so I'll forgo his or her name…you figure it out! It was the great American dream: worked their way up the corporate ladder to the top, had a stellar reputation in their field, faithfully contributed to their 401(k) (no, I'm not going to say him or her!) and did all the things they needed to do to put their time in and call it quits when the time struck them. Apparently they had the wake-up moment, and felt all was in place and it was time. Life was grand: a wonderful life partner, kids and grandkids (aha... a hint?) beautiful house, low handicap... you get it, life was grand. I really looked up to this person, doing all the things I've spent over 3 decades teaching people on how to prepare for retirement. I had the utmost in admiration for this person who seemed to have it all and figured it all out. Yes, life was grand... until they cornered me recently and confessed that they were bored with retirement, wanted more out of life, and was contemplating going back to work. Oh, the horror of it... what the heck are you thinking?
The fact is, more people return back to work after retirement than you think. The fact is, retirement is not all it's cracked up to be. Many find they are just plain bored after a time unfettered by work. There's only so many closets and garages you can clean out, projects your spouse can find for you to do, or you just outright get bored. The other issue is thinking back to the things that working life brought in the way of extra money: cars, vacations, jewelry, gifts, and the basic feeling of security that having enough money each month to so what you need to and then some brings. Some fall into a depression from feeling the identity of what they did for a living was who they were, or a loss of camaraderie of being surrounded by long-time co-workers after a long stint at one place. For whatever the reason, there are more people going back to work after retirement than you think. There's an old saying- "what I've forgotten you'll never learn." The fact is, we've amassed so much knowledge onto our hard drive of a brain, it's a shame to waste it siting around doing nothing. Going back into the workforce brings with it a feeling of self-worth and structure, not to mention a renewed interest in whatever you are doing... and the extra money is good too! Going back to work affords you the opportunity to do work version 2.0- having financial security, you can do anything you want and start a new career, with renewed fun and energy. Do what you want, when you want, where you want and like it... it's like falling in love all over again! Studies have shown conclusively that by keeping your body and mind active can add years to your life. The nice thing is if you don't like it, you can quit and try something else! There's nothing wrong to going back to work- it's by choice, not necessity. So, if you think all you're working for is to get to retirement, that's fine... it just may take a few times to stick!