Updated: Dec 13, 2018
by William Sabin, CPA
What follows below is a brief discussion on the softer issues of retirement.
Retirement – in all its variations – can be a challenging part of life. There is newfound freedom of time but one might feel financially constrained as a regular paycheck is not being received. Many find it difficult to change their life patterns moving from 30+ years of working in an office in a structured environment to one of more freedom and with less personal interaction.
While you need to manage your finances, estimate your spending and your income, there are softer concepts that people sometimes don’t consider.
Behavioral and emotional aspects of retirement should be considered. This includes areas such as: personal development, activities, mental health, and interpersonal relationships.
You most likely learned and had personal development courses during your professional career. Why stop when the job does? In a post-job environment, it is even more important to find meaning in what you do (or in many cases, to start to find meaning). Now that you have more time to learn, it is a great time to acquire new skills. You can learn about completely new areas and experience new things.
For instance, I just volunteered on a goat farm for a period of time. We learned so much about farm life and gleaned new skills including: animal feeding; proper stall cleaning methodologies; medication and other special care needs; field raking; hay moving; tractor work; goat milking; egg gathering and candling; making animal dairy products, and how to make soap.
Would we have had time to do that during our ‘real’ job? No way. However, I can tell you though that it was in the top 20 experiences of my life.
There are so many things that you can learn outside of your profession – master a new language, start a business based on a hobby, take courses at the local university, travel. Consider what you are passionate about and execute a plan to what spending more time in that activity would like.
As many of you know, we have traveled extensively throughout the world – over 90 countries and counting. In our post-job world, we are finding that we are super busy building our new web site business, blogging, vlogging, and traveling. We routinely will work until 2-3am as we are so excited about what we are doing. Our traveling now consists of much longer trips helping people around the world with our skills and foundational insight. We are meeting tons of new people and experiencing life outside of the office – awesome.
Traveling takes planning. Traveling on a budget takes a lot of planning. Fortunately, we have had 16+ years of traveling worldwide on a budget. Having internet is the key – it’s probably more important to me than running water – in order to keep up with the markets and Seeking Alpha readership.
Working in Retirement
No one says that your post-job life can’t also include a different career. Do you want to stay in your same field or try something new? For me, it’s a mix – stay with the investment side of my brain with Seeking Alpha and my other investment activities; however, I’m also venturing out into writing non-finance articles and books, participating in work programs, disaster relief, etc. Consider what type of work you would want to try. Define why you want to continue to work – money, authority, feelings of worth, status, etc. Determine if you want to work on a consultant basis, full time, or part time. Another great area to consider is volunteering.
Volunteering is a great thing. Many people don’t like the overused term of ‘giving back’. However, that is exactly how I feel about volunteering – you are giving back – with your skills, strengths, and talents for, in many cases, people that have fallen on hard times due to poor choices or due to other social-economic issues. Maybe your skills can be leveraged to help an organization. I find it very rewarding and very humbling. Things that I take for granted – food, shelter, safety, etc. – are not givens for many people, even in the USA.
Attitude is everything. You know this. You have probably said it. After you retire, there is a lot more time to think – sometimes that is not a good thing. We spend a lot of life before retirement being busy, staying busy, telling people how busy we are – it’s almost a badge of honor these days. Post-job life gives one time to evaluate the past – the good and the bad that you have done or left undone. While it is healthy to be introspective some of the time, there is a place for keeping a positive attitude to contribute to your happiness. Letting go of negative feelings and grudges are important, just as important as it is to lose weight, get proper sleep, excise, eliminate tobacco use, and reduce your alcohol intake.
Retirement could mean less interactive time with a wider audience. You might find that you need to get to know your spouse again as now you spend a lot more time together. All types of relationships play a larger role in your satisfaction. Are you an extrovert, an introvert? Where will you meet new people? What do you want to obtain from your relationships? How do you balance time between other activities mentioned herein and developing new relationships and kindling older relationships?
Determining what you will do in your post-job life is an important aspect your happiness and search for meaning. Of course, health and finances will play a major part of your outlook.