What does retirement look like for you?
What do you retire to?
When......Should you retire at 62, 64, 65, 70?
How much money do I need to retire?
Am I too young to retire?
Recently we had a conversation with a friend who was wondering about these very questions - when should I retire and what do I retire to? The reality is that most of us in our early 60's are still in fairly good health and look forward to a time when we can travel, enjoy the grandkids and have goals past our careers. However, there are some folks who have not thought about a time when they will not be working. Their whole persona is wrapped around the job.
I always get a kick when I ask someone to "tell me about yourself" and the first thing they say is: "I'm a _____(they tell me what they do for a living)." I'm a doctor, lawyer, cop, engineer, Marine, chef, Gardner, you get the idea. As Americans, our identity is wrapped around what we do for a living, but is that really who we are? I know that's not who I am. I get that some folks are scared to retire.
You plan the retirement.
You give your notice.
You have the retirement party.
You plan the retirement vacation.
You go to the vacation and after the first day you look at each other and say....."now what?"
This is the scenario our friends recently described.
So they got back home and got part time jobs! Really! They went back to work! Okay, so I'm not judging because if that makes them happy so be it but I can think of a million things to do and places to go and none of it involves getting a J.O.B!
We are so busy in retirement during the day that sometimes I wonder how we had time to work. If we're not on a trip, we're planning a trip. Our neighbors make fun of us. Even when we are home, we're out and about. We live in a beautiful place, with beautiful beaches, fishing, boating, places to explore, friends to visit, road trips to take. Books to read, movies to watch, yoga and spin classes to take, bar stools to sit at and happy hours to enjoy!
Last week I heard the story of a guy who put in his two week notice and came home that night from work only to have a massive heart attack and pass away. He never got the chance to enjoy his retirement. This is the kind of story that scares me. Losing a parent at the time they should be retiring, losing a friend too soon, losing a colleague before their time, attending these funerals put time in perspective for me.
In the end, I believe it's all about perspective. There is no one way, right way, wrong way. There is only "your way" to retire. What works for you and your family. What makes you happy. All I say is just do it. Don't wait until you're too old to enjoy it. Too old to travel. Too old to enjoy the grandkids, or have mobility issues. Yes, inflation is high, stock markets go up and down, the bulls run, the bears roar....I'm not saying be irresponsible - I'm saying do the math, have the conversation, you decide what is right for you and your family.