The younger you are, the more obscure retirement seems. As you age and this concept of “retirement” gets closer to becoming a reality, deciding what it means to you will become more important.

The definition of retirement from Merriam-Webster.com is “withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life.” Seems pretty clear; a definition most people would likely agree with. But what does it mean to you personally?

 

Retirement Must Be Planned For

 Our readers know that we are planners, so it’s not surprising that we would stress the need for planning for retirement. But to many people, planning for retirement means putting money away. While this is of course incredibly important, you have to look beyond this and decide what you want to DO in your retirement. How will you spend your time? Are you going to be happy retiring at 65 with 20-30 years of free time on your hands? What will you do if that won’t make you happy?

If you haven’t considered this possibility, please do. Many people think that after four plus decades of working, they will be more than ready to retire. But what happens after a few years of “retirement” and you’re bored? What next? Did you make plans for this possibility?

 

Changing Your Ideas About Retirement

There was a post over at Get Rich Slowly this week that we thought addressed these questions very well, “The Many Roads to Retirement.” In the post, author Robert Brokamp discusses how “the traditional work/retire chronology may not be the best model. Rather than saving all the retirement for the end of your life, perhaps it’s possible to rearrange the order by taking a break mid-career, gradually ratcheting down the work week, or working fewer weeks out of the year.”

20-30 years is a lot of time to fill if you aren’t working. It’s entirely possible this will make you happy, and if you reach retirement and find that you are perfectly content, that’s great. But if you don’t enjoy not working as much as you thought, planning for this possibility prior to reaching retirement can greatly ease the stress you may feel.

Here are our favorite ideas presented by Brokamp:

  • “Change Careers Instead of Retiring” – This idea is great because you don’t have to wait to reach retirement age to do it. Are you burnt out in your current career at the age of 50? Can’t stand the idea of working to 65 or beyond? Change your career to something you enjoy and can see yourself being happy doing for a long time.
  •  “Turn Your Hobby Into Your Income” – This concept is great for anyone, not just retirees. If you have a hobby that you already spend time on, turn it into income. It will help to occupy your time and create additional income that will become more important to you once you retire.
  •  Reduce Living Expenses by Living on Wheels” – As Brokamp says, retiring to an RV is cliché, but it’s a very real option. It provides a way to retire cheap and spend your retirement income on pursuits that many retirees who keep their expensive houses can’t do. And traveling around in an RV will take up plenty of that free time you have!

 

 Trying to Enjoy Retirement

 Retirement should be enjoyed. You’ve spent your life working and you want to take a break. There is nothing wrong with that. But don’t sell yourself short. Just because you don’t want your busy career back doesn’t mean you can’t be busy. Do some thinking and planning about what you may want to do in your retirement and you may be happier for it.

 

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.
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