One year into retirement Al is…unhappy.
His issue isn’t money. Al’s always been a diligent saver. At age 45, he hired a financial planner. They drafted a wise plan and stuck to it for the next twenty years. Fact is, when Al walked away from his career last year, he was in great financial shape.
Al’s problem is boredom. He’s restless. He doesn’t know what to do with himself.
Even though he was ready financially, he hadn’t given any thought to the other aspects of retirement.
How unfortunate. Retirement shouldn’t usher in a season of boredom. It should be—and it can be—the beginning of a rich and fulfilling final act.
I know many who say retirement, for them, has been their favorite chapter of life. It’s not without challenges, of course. However, it’s a time when all the best parts of our personal stories can come together.
Here are four challenges that often surprise retirees like Al. Preparing for these realities now can help make the most of retirement.
- The Challenge of Time. People contemplating retirement often dream of the day when they’ll no longer have work 40+ hours a week! They don’t always think about what they’ll do with all that extra time.
You need to ask yourself, “How will I spend my days in retirement?” If you don’t, you’ll pace around the house like a tiger in a cage. Or others—a spouse, children, a church, a club, or a political party—will fill out your schedule for you.
- The Challenge of Relationships. Pre-retirement, many of our relationships form around the workplace. We get close to co-workers, customers, etc. Yet, despite appeals like “don’t be a stranger,” few ever return to the office to say hello.
With the COVID pandemic, we saw many retirees pull back from settings that foster relationships. Some have not re-entered those spaces.
Realities like these are why it’s important now to consider how—in retirement—you’ll maintain the relationships that matter most to you.
- The Challenge of Growth. Coach Lou Holtz once said, “In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying…so get in motion and grow.”
Lou was right. Too many retirees act like the guy who gets his high school diploma and vows, “I’ll never read a book again!”
Please don’t do that. Ask yourself, “How can I pursue personal growth in retirement?” Determine to:
- Put new thoughts in your mind.
- Read books about people who have done great things.
- Watch worthwhile programs.
- Have conversations with younger folks. (You’ll both appreciate the experience—and maybe grow from it.)
- The Challenge of Purpose. When we’re working, we have a “why”—a reason to get up (even if we get weary of that “why” at times). In retirement, that “why” will be gone. What will your new “why” be?
I knew a man who sold his business and knew he needed a new challenge. A local nonprofit was about to engage in a large building campaign that would benefit the whole community. The man agreed to lead the project. Because he was retired, he was able to give this new “why” his full attention. Because of his background and experience, he brought the project to completion on time and under budget. Everybody won.
Like Al, we need to get ready financially for retirement. Unlike Al, we need to think also about retirement’s other aspects. How will you: spend your time, tend to your relationships, keep growing, and find a worthy purpose?
Prepping for all those challenges is how you’ll make retirement your best act.
To help you think through such issues, I’ve created a comprehensive checklist of pre-retirement questions for people who are 60-something. It’s free if you’d like a copy. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll send it to you right away.
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