Retirement Myth #1 – There’s Nothing To It


Paradise Valley View

Paradise Valley View (Photo credit: AndrewH324)

Thanks for joining me in the first of a 15 part blog series called 15 Retirement Myths You Need To Know.

Many of us have a picture of retirement that involves us golfing, boating or some other leisurely past time in a warm climate, sipping Margaritas and watching the sun set in big comfortable lounge chairs.  Honestly, even, I sigh contentedly at the thought…

As we approach our retirement years, we begin to dream of the days when our lives will be our own.  We can start each day with a clean slate and do exactly what we want to do when we want to do it.  It sounds ideal, right?  We figure all we have to do is get to our retirement with enough of a financial cushion and we will be set for the rest of our lives.

As I was thinking about this the other day something struck me.  Do you remember what it is like taking an extended vacation from work?  I know that for me after about 2-3 weeks of downtime, I start to get a little stir crazy and started to long to get back to my routine at work.  This is a far more pressing issue for the average retiree.  Did you know that we baby boomers will have an average 20-30 years of retirement?  That is a whole lot of empty space to fill.  In 1935, when Social Security started the retirement age was 65 and the average life expectancy was 62.  Even if a person made it to 65, the anticipated number of years of retirement was significantly lower.

Today, we are facing the possibility that our retirement years will be as long as our working years.  For some of us they may be longer.  In that context, the idea of sitting back and relaxing seems less appealing.  There are a number of interesting statistics, some of them we will cover in later posts, but the important point is that individuals who have something meaningful to do in retirement have a higher quality of life and greater enjoyment of life.

Make no mistake, it is not a good idea to pretend that your retirement years will be one long vacation.  Yes, it is true that you should be able to do the things you want to do and have much more flexibility in your life.  But I promise you, you, like me, will not want to live a life completely unstructured.  Prior to actually retiring you need to sit down and take inventory of your life and decide what things are important to you.  I read somewhere that to retire means to “re-tire” your life.  That is give your life new traction.  The opportunities are endless for you to find new meaning in things that excite you, old passions that you have not had time to pursue, explore new ideas, and help the causes the stir you.  It is worth taking the time to prepare to do and be what you want in this stage of your life.  In fact, with the right planning, your twilight years can be the most productive and fulfilling time of your life.

To Your Best Life

Pam

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