Is Work the Missing Ingredient in Your Retirement Happiness Plan? By Robin Trimingham
There has been a lot of talk lately regarding whether Baby Boomers actually plan to stop working when they retire from their current source of employment.
According to a report published by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, only 25% of all American workers intend to cease working immediately when the “reach a certain age or savings goal”, and approximately half intend to keep working for reasons of income and “health benefits”.
A recent Gallup poll concluded that the number of people who intend to work part-time beyond the normal retirement age is even higher, with nearly 75% of the people they surveyed indicating that they will keep working beyond the age of sixty-five.
For many the reason to keep working is not merely financial. The five key benefits of work for older people cited by Dr. Richard Johnson, the Founder of Retirement Options Inc. include: time management, sense of utility, status, socialization, and financial compensation. Even if you can easily afford to stay home, the overwhelming emptiness and sense of loss experienced by many people when they leave a place of long-term employment can often only be contained by embarking on another form of work.
This “work” might entail becoming a fulltime grannie or a volunteer museum docent, but for many this “work” takes the form of a second career with financial remuneration attached to it.
Second careers are an opportunity to take all that you are and develop further in a specialized niche area, or an opportunity to repurpose some of your core skills in a completely different area. The only over-riding objective is to find a way to do what you love as your “work” so that you feel valued, relevant and fulfilled.
If you are reading this and still in the workforce; take some time to research your next step before making the jump from your current place of employment. Depending on the complexity of the path you decide on; it can take up to five years to put enough of your plan into motion to make an easy transition. New business ideas take time to develop when you are squeezing in a few hours work at night and on the weekend.
If you are currently fully retired and wishing that you weren’t – things are both harder and easier in that you have plenty of time to look for a job or start your own business but may find it a bit of an uphill climb to motivate yourself off the sofa until you hit upon an idea you are excited about. If this is where you are at don’t despair, just make it your daily job to figure out what you want to do until you come up with a plan.
This does not have to be dull or frustrating – allow yourself to explore fields that you never would have considered when having enough money to pay the mortgage was your primary goal. There is nothing wrong with trying out ten or more ideas until you find a good fit. The point is to engage your mind, creativity and skills in a way that make you feel productive and happy.
By Robin Trimingham
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