Rethink retirement. Incorporate it into our working years.

If we’ve lost interest in our job and we’re just hanging on till retirement, thinking we’ll have the freedom to do nothing, then it’s time to give our head a shake. Finding balance between enjoying the present and setting ourselves up for the future can be tricky, but if we’re not enjoying the journey, then we’re missing the point.

Most people need to be productive and continue to grow, even into their later years. Instead of thinking of retirement as an end goal, if we think of it as a shift, or transition phase in life, we are more likely to consider opportunities that will keep us contributing to society, instead of withdrawing from it.

And for many of us, we’ll continue to need an income source. Maybe that will come from investments that grow over time and we’ll have learned to manage well. Perhaps our current side hustle will be more profitable in the future. Or ideally, we’ll have set up a business that rakes in money with limited involvement from us.

These examples all require that we start well before retirement, but here’s the good news: if we plan to be productive in our later years, we can take time now to explore our long-term purpose. If we’re not racing to being jobless at 65, then why not rethink our financials, and give ourselves space to find what work is meaningful to us, that will also provide long-term payments.

Take action: Could your current hobby grow into an income generating skill? If you like baseball, you could consider becoming an umpire. Love baking? Connect with some events. Travelling turn you on? Try some seasonal work in another country. There are plenty of enjoyable activities that can help financially in later years. Find something that excites you and start experimenting with it now.

:: Inspired by Tim Ferris’ book, The 4-hour Work Week.

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One Reply to “Rethink retirement. Incorporate it into our working years.”

  1. Some very insightful retirement thoughts from my Mum…

    I’ve been retired for almost 15 years. I’ll be 75 next year. So, I have some experience with this topic. Here is what I have learnt –

    (1) ‘Life is short’. When I was young I heard this statement but I didn’t ‘feel’ it. It’s true!
    I have the good fortune to be healthy and energetic. With my stamina I am restless without a purpose in my life . However, I didn’t plan financially for my retirement. My income pretty well covers the necessities of life with very little disposable income for frivolous activities. Make financial plans for retirement while the earnings are available.

    (2) I did have an adventurous life when I was younger and used the workforce to my advantage. Changing jobs and using those earnings to achieve the next goal which provided the experiences in life that have left me with amazing memories. I would have regretted staying in a job just for the security or pension it offered until I was 65 years old. But, I could have invested a little bit from each paycheck for the future. A financial plan would have enhanced my retirement.

    (3) I recently injured my leg and for the last couple of months I am not as mobile as I usually am. I have had to rest the leg. This has limited my activities like walking and driving. For a few days I was OK with watching movies on the TV and reading. It wasn’t long before I was going ‘stir crazy’. I would wake up in the morning with no purpose – “What can I do today?” My plans for walks, cycling, yoga, swimming have all stopped. The weeks of retirement are long and boring without a purpose.

    (4) I hope to live for another couple of decades but we never know when it’s our time. Plan for a long retirement but enjoy each day, because who knows what the future holds.

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