Recently I ran across an article regarding what to do once you retire and I started to smile. It seems in this day and age there is more for retirees to do than ever before. Back in my grandfather’s day, there was no retirement system and I doubt if the r-word was even thought of. He was a long time farmer who later worked a short time in a factory. After retiring from the factory work, he was a school crossing guard and tax collector for the local township for many years. He made money in a variety of ways, but I doubt our current concept of retirement ever crossed his mind.
When my father retired in the early-1980’s he did so with a retirement package from the last place he had worked. That served him fairly well along with the Social Security he received. Unfortunately, he only had sixteen years there – if he had been able to put in 25 to 30 years, he would have been sitting pretty! Previously he was a farmer and construction worker and had no pension from either job.
My mother was an elementary school teacher who retired after 32-years in the same school system. Talk about a retirement package! Also, she had close to three months off every summer and Dad had worked up to about three weeks off prior to his retirement.
A fulfillment of a dream
My parents chose to travel as much as possible during the 1980’s and 1990’s until Mom’s dementia got too advanced. But, the good news was they were able to spend a good number of years doing what they had always wanted to do, whether it was during summer vacations or after full retirement.
Depending on what type of life one lived prior to the age of retirement, which currently varies depending on age in the United States, the feelings about retirement can vary from dread to excitement about the future. Those who have lived an active life like my parents, look forward to spending more time doing what they loved best.
Tied to your worklife?
Others have tied their life so deeply into their jobs and careers that they can’t conceive of doing anything else. They realize as the time nears that they are going to miss their friends, colleagues and the routine of going to work every day. There is also the fear of how they are going to survive without their paycheck, bonuses and raises. Depending on what type of retirement package they have, if any, and they could have cause for concern.
Unfortunately, time does move on and as we get older we may no longer be able to perform our tasks as expected. More than one person has been forced to retire because they could no longer handle their job. That is a difficult reality for them to comprehend, let alone experience.
Pre-plan your retirement
One of the first things anyone should do no matter how old they are is to start thinking about, and pre-planning, for what they are going to do in their golden years. And yes, there are some people even in their twenties and thirties who do think that far ahead. They are the ones who make out like a bandit if all goes well in their chosen field.
It’s the rest of us who job-hop or have lost jobs due to the economy or a business closing down that really have to struggle when we are suddenly in our late fifties and early sixties and wondering where the time went.
In the next post I’m going to share some tips on what you can do once you retire. In the meantime, depending on your age, you may want to give it some thought if you haven’t already. If you are working somewhere that has a retirement package, start checking out the details so you are not unpleasantly surprised when the time comes.
If you do not have a retirement package at your workplace, make an appointment to see a financial advisor sooner than later to find out what your options are. It’s better to be prepared, even if the news is not good, than to face the day not knowing what you are going to do next.