I was talking to a man at a retirement seminar last year and he told me that after working hard for the last 40 years, his idea of retirement was enjoying the freedom and leisure it offered. He included in that, the freedom to do nothing if he wished to.
While all that sounded pretty appealing, there is in fact a downside to be considered.
Retirement does give us the freedom to do what we want to do and to become the person we always wanted to be. I’ve written previously about the fact that for many of us, our identity has been tied up in our job description. When we leave full time work, we often have to ask ourselves “ Who am I now?” Finding an answer isn’t always easy, but retirement does give us the opportunity to redefine ourselves and hopefully to become more like the person we’d like to be.
This freedom to do nothing also has a sting in its tail. While it’s healthy in small doses, long periods of passive inactivity is a recipe for boredom. How creatively we handle all this leisure time will determine how happy and healthy we will be in this next stage of our lives.
Just as we needed planning in our careers in order to achieve various goals and targets, we also need to do some planning in our retirement if we’re going to make the most of these years. I’m not just talking about financial planning. Everyone knows that’s important as it gives you the base to build the rest of your retirement on. I’m talking about planning how you’re going to manage this new unstructured lifestyle that offers you both opportunities and challenges.
The next 10 – 20 years can be some of the most interesting and exciting of your life as you visit new places, learn new skills, grow as a person and realise how fortunate you are. Or they can be boring if you don’t have much purpose in life, or any challenges. Your attitude and your preparedness to spend some time planning what you want to achieve during this stage of your life, will largely determine how good or bad it will be.
On our web site you can find information on the four books we have published on a wide range of issues relating to a happy retirement.