I recently read an article written by Anisha Sekar called The Case for Never Retiring, posted by Rob Carrick of the Globe and Mail. I found it very interesting and it made me think of my clients. Those clients who have retired and liked it, those that retired but didn’t enjoy it and went back to work and those that retired but wanted to continue to work.
What is Retirement?
Retirement was once best described to me by another Advisor many years ago to be like the scene from one of the Indiana Jones movies where Indiana Jones throws sand onto an invisible bridge to navigate across it. I happen to think that is what retirement is like. Maybe retirement is that invisible bridge where you are not sure what it will be like until you take those first few steps.
Many people enter into retirement hoping that it will all work out and that they will make it to the other side of the bridge. Even with a rock solid financial plan retirement can be an uneasy proposition. You are now collecting/spending your hard earned and saved money. Even if the plan says the money will not run out there is often something in the back of one’s mind saying “what if”.
Those that choose to work.
My experience has been that the people who chose to stay at a job they love or continue to work but perhaps in another field have excellent retirements. Money isn’t so much of a concern since there is a paycheque along with any income payments. The person’s mind is being stimulated on a regular basis and they have somewhere to go to most days. They tend to have flexibility at their jobs, the ability to work a few days, take plenty of time off. Again, my experience says that these people tend to live a healthier life for longer. Not a very scientific observation but work isn’t such a bad place if you want to go, not because you have to go.
Those that choose to retire.
My clients who have retired and are having a successful retirement are ones that have an endless shopping list of things to do like volunteering, hobbies, spending time with family, etc. They don’t have enough time in the day to get it all done. They say they are busier now then when they were working. By keeping themselves busy they are keeping themselves mentally stimulated and in contact with others. We all need some form of human interaction. How much? Well, each person is different.
Both groups also try to stay active by exercising, eating healthy and really try to take care of themselves. For some , that becomes their new full time job.
When it comes to travel, choice becomes quite personal. For example, my father is 77 years old and in good health but has no desire to drive on highways during our winters now. He and my Mom both like winter but now chose to stay close to home in the winter and do their travelling in the summer.
My personal view on my retirement
Retirement has changed completely over these last 20 years. I save for retirement every month in case one day I wake up and hate my job. I am not going to stick around in a job that I dislike. Thankfully, however, I love my job. I love my clients and I love the work we do together. If that doesn’t change I plan on sticking around until my late 60s or early 70s. Of course, health will play a role as well but if my health stays on track I don’t see myself stopping work anytime in the future.
How about you? What does retirement look like to you?