A few years ago, I stopped at a local coffee shop to pick up a cup of green tea before heading to an early morning meeting. A couple who have been clients of mine for many years were sitting at a table enjoying coffee and the morning newspaper. They were both recently retired schoolteachers. They stated that even though today was Tuesday, for them, it was Saturday, the seventh one that week. They were clearly enjoying the newfound freedom of retired life.
After 36 years of helping people successfully transition from work life to retirement life, I have observed that my clients who are happiest in retirement are those who have meaning, purpose, activities, and social interactions that make retirement life fulfilling for them. In other words, they did not just retire from something, they retired to something.
Recent studies seem to confirm this thought process. It seems that more Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are open to working post-retirement. However, the reasons for pursuing work are not driven wholly by financial needs or the recent spike in inflation.
A new research paper from Empower shows that nearly 41% of retirees who go back into the job market, do so to seek personal fulfillment, and another 37% are looking for a sense of purpose. The survey was based on the answers from more than 1,000 retired Americans.
Nearly two out of five respondents stated that working during their retirement years helps them maintain a daily calendar and social structure. A similar number state that it helps them stay physically and emotionally healthy, as it keeps both their minds and their bodies active.
I have often encouraged married clients to talk with each other about what retirement life will look like three to five years before it happens. Casting a vision together for what they will do to keep themselves healthy and active from an educational, physical, spiritual, family, travel, hobby, and lifestyle standpoint can help make the transition to their retirement years much easier.
When people are used to working 40 to 50 hours a week, plus travel to and from work, they can often find it daunting to fill up their retirement calendar with new activities. Going from 40+ years of working at 60 mph to 0 mph overnight can create stress, boredom, and anxiety for people who have not planned properly for this transition.
Taking a weekly calendar from 7 AM to 10 PM daily and thinking through what your new schedule or routines will look like in your future retirement can be a helpful exercise. Married couples may want to try doing this separately, and then discussing their separate goals and visions for the future together to create a cohesive vision.
My clients who are happiest in retirement also tend to be those who are active and busy. It now seems that many retirees are utilizing part-time work during their early years of retirement to help them transition and maintain some sense of structure and social interaction as they seek fulfillment. Retirement should be a time of joy, where you now have the gift of time, the gift of health, and hopefully with the assistance of the CFPs of Impel Wealth Management, the gift of financial resources.
Being able to utilize these resources constructively should bring you joy as you look forward to what you are retiring to, and not just what you are retiring from. We thought this was an important message to share with those of you still in your working and accumulation years. The team at Impel Wealth is here to help you along this journey as we continue “Moving Life Forward”.
© 2023 Jesse Hurst
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