Reluctant Retirees: Understanding the Hidden Side of Retirement
November 13, 2017 by Ryan Enders
Why has the financial side of retirement been the only focus? What about one’s social and emotional preparedness? Seems like a no-brainer that we should focus on these aspects, right? Sadly, no. We’ve ignored half of the retirement equation, leading to an upswing in reluctant retirees – people who continue to work far past the traditional retirement age – and why so many retirees end up taking new roles.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
There are many polls that show social connections are what retirees miss the most during retirement. The “Retirement System” has failed retirees due to a lack of foresight and initiative, focusing on savings over all other aspects of retirement.
The result can be a retirement with no direction for self-fulfillment, leading to unhappiness, unnecessary stress, and sense of listlessness.
Reluctant Retirees: The Solution
So how do we fix the problem?
First, working with a Certified Retirement Coach, who can begin the conversation with you and assess your preparedness is a good start. If planning your financial future with a Financial Adviser was a priority, then so should be the social and emotional side of your well-being.
They should be looking at the following areas with their coach: career and work, health and wellness, finance and insurance, family and relationships, leisure and social, and personal development.
Let’s look at little closer at each one.
What Do You Want Out of Your Career and Work?
Maybe it’s a financially-driven decision to work part-time or maybe it’s because you are not mentally prepared to take that leap into full-retirement. Or, as is the case often, you need those social connections.
In higher education, it is not unusual for faculty to stick around into their 70’s, 80’s ,and beyond. We call those “reluctant retirees” because they are – for various reasons – refusing to retire at the proper age.
They don’t feel the need to retire because they have free office space to go to where they can do as they please and get that social interaction they desire. Nobody talked with them about non-financial goals and objectives post-higher education. This means that they may have never consider what to do after their career. Would they like to write a book? Spend time with family? Work in a new role? No one knows because no one asked.
What they may not realize is that there are many non-profits and board positions that can utilize their experience and knowledge. Certainly, a conversation that would come up with a Retirement Coach.
Health and Wellness: Understanding What You Need
Once you retire, you may not receive the praise and recognition you are used to and that can affect your self-esteem. But there are many ways to make-up for it.
Sharing your time and experience by mentoring and volunteering can be very rewarding. As can being an involved grandparent. Nobody can argue that you aren’t the “Best Grandpa/ma Ever” as you proudly wear your shirt.
Also, now you will have more time to focus on “you” with exercise, diet, sleep, and relationships. It will be a great opportunity to enhance your vitality.
The problem is that many reluctant retirees haven’t considered these options. If you have more time, you can spend it on you, becoming healthier and more living better. Some worry that decreasing their workload will make them unhealthy, which is a notable worry. However, with a little planning, all of that extra time and really do your body and mind some good.
Finance and Insurance: Making Sure You’re Covered
Hopefully your adviser helped you plan well for retirement and you have the nest-egg you deserve for your lifetime of hard work. And now it’s up to you to manage those savings into your budget and to stay flexible with your spending habits, since it’s possible to outlive your financial retirement plan.
Especially taking into consideration how fast medical expenses can eat away at it. Make sure you review your budget on a regular basis. The good thing about the financial side of retirement – as we’ve mentioned above – is that it’s talked about early and often.
When you started your very first job, you probably heard how you should start saving that money to eventually retire one day. When you moved through your career, you probably heard about 401k’s, 403b’s, and countless other retirement savings options.
If you heeded those warnings, you will hopefully have the money you need to retire successfully. Now ask yourself, has anyone ever talked to you about any other aspect of retirement?
Family and Relationships: The First Social Concern
It’s important to talk with your partner about their personal goals and objectives for retirement alongside your own.
You may have a different picture of what retirement looks like and if you haven’t had that discussion and start the transition, it can be a stressful time, which is exactly the opposite of what you want when you step down from your role.
If you are retiring single, then it can be a lonely time if you have not built a support network to share your time with during retirement.
Another consideration are adult children who might be financially dependent and living with you or you may have grandchildren who may need your support. There could be difficult discussions with those that have financial dependence on you. Aging parents and your level of personal and financial involvement with them is another consideration.
How do you make sure these areas are covered? It all comes down to talking. Opening up communication about what you want out of your retirement can do along way. Set up expectations with your family members, make sure you have a support system in place, and start these conversations before you actually make the move.
Leisure and Social: The Second Social Consideration
What are your hobbies and how do you like to relax? This may lead to selling your home and moving to a location that offers the right conditions to meet those needs.
Or a second residence and becoming snowbirds. If you like to travel, there are many travel and social groups you can join to make it an amazing experience. You will have endless opportunities to fulfill your social needs and a Retirement Coach will have many suggestions to keep you as busy as you would like to be.
Again, this all comes down to self-reflection, looking internally at what will make you happy when you stop working. Is there a hobby you always wanted to start but didn’t have the time or energy? Are there places you wish you could see? Now’s the time to plan out how to make those dreams a reality. However, to do so, you have to plan, plan, plan.
Personal Development: Never Stop Learning
It’s important to keep your mind sharp and continue to educate yourself and learn new skills. At Careerminds, we refer to it as “a health club for the brain.”
Some of the benefits of lifelong learning include.
- Improves our self confidence
- Provides practical life skills
- Models positive behavior for our children and grandchildren
- Fights boredom
- Helps us make new friends and valuable relationships
- Helps us adapt to change
- Helps up find meaning in life
- Keeps our brain healthy and our mind’s sharp
- Decreases the likelihood of depression
- Helps us to sleep more soundly
- May help delay dementia and other health problems
This is the forgotten side of retirement that has been discounted for all these years. Today, the focus should be on preparing retirees from a social and emotional level, which is the other half of the retirement equation and equally as important as the financial.
At Careerminds, we have built a program specifically for this need called “Evergreen.” It begins with an assessment and then a personal discussion with your Retirement Lifestyle Coach, who will help build a road map around the life arenas that are lacking preparedness and will guide you toward your next steps in life.
Whether you are a reluctant retiree or going through voluntary early retirement or in your early 50’s and want to make this part of your on-going retirement plan; it’s important to assess your preparedness for retirement.
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