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Working In Retirement: It's Not As Bad As It Sounds

Working in retirement? I know that sounds very much like an oxymoron. Doesn't retiring mean that you don't have to work anymore??


Well, yes - it does mean you don't HAVE to work anymore, but you still CAN. If you are nearing retirement, consider both the pros and cons of not working at all, especially if you could live 30 years in retirement.



We're Living Longer Now


Not that long ago there wasn't much research done on the downside of retirement. Of course, not that long ago we didn't live much past our retirement age. In those cases, it made sense to do nothing, to play golf, or to travel for the rest of our life because the rest of our life was only a few trips around the sun.


Today, our average life expectancy continues to rise. Yet, the age that we're "supposed" to retire remains that same. That means we are expected to live longer and longer without work. Said another way, a greater percentage of our lives will be spent not working. While that may sound amazing to those of you with jobs you hate, I'd like for you to consider a different definition of work; work consists of actions that bring value to others and meaning to you (notice that doesn't specify if has to be a paid engagement).


A Job You Hate Drains Your Energy


I get it. You may feel that you've had enough work, even if you're in your 30s! But think about this - it's probably the underlying issues that have left you drained and exhausted, not working. Long commutes, micromanaging bosses, endless meetings, corporate politics, meaningless work, and many other issues can contribute to us wanting to just be done.


Think about this, though. Many people who go back to work in retirement don't do it for the money. They do it because there are psychological benefits, although that's not what they would tell you. They would tell you it's because it's boring having unlimited leisure. They would say they miss relationships with other people. They would even say they go crazy spending 100% of their time with their spouse - something they have never had to do outside of a two-week vacation (this sounds facetious, but managing spousal relationships is difficult for many retirees).


If you are in the "I really, really want to hurry up and retire" boat, ask yourself this: What exactly do you want to retire from? You may want to withdraw from your environment, but do you want to withdraw from the challenge of solving problems? You may want to withdraw from an egotistical boss, but do you want to withdraw from colleagues you've developed relationships with over many years?


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