Do you ever daydream about having enough money so that you’d never have to work again? Imagine all the things you wouldn’t have to do anymore: Get up early (unless you want to), commute, endure office politics, be stressed about meeting deadlines, attend countless meetings and often work overtime. Wouldn’t it be great if you could give up all this “bad” stuff in order to enjoy a more rewarding “good” life? Some people think that this is what retirement brings.
Our cultural definition of retirement is basically retiring from your career/job and living off your social security and savings until you die. However, research has shown that people who retire have lower life expectancies than those who remain at work. Simply put, the sooner you retire, the sooner you can expect to die. That doesn’t seem very appealing.
I’ve personally seen too many people whose health and enthusiasm for life decline after retirement because they stop activities that challenge them. I, for one, don’t plan on ever retiring. Yes, I’ve been called a workaholic over the years. Yes, my wife and children sometimes wish that I would retire. But, I love working! I love the challenge of growing a business and watching the development of the people I’ve invested in. Rather than slowing down at 72, I’m actually speeding up in many ways as I’m actively looking to invest in new opportunities.
Here are some things to consider when you leave your career/job whatever age you are:
- What are you passionate about? Find something challenging and rewarding to do that blesses not only your life, but positively impacts others. Is there a way to create additional or residual income from these things that you are enthusiastic about? You never know what unexpected expenses may come your way in the future.
- Be sure to take care of your health through regular exercise and a nutritious diet so that you can have the energy and alert mind that you need to achieve your goals.
- Find ways to meet new people and be social. Networking can help you make more friends and also build a side business. Are there others that are excited about the same things you are? Look for mentor(s) that may be able to give you advice.
- Volunteer. Multiple studies have consistently found that people who volunteer experience improved health, better cognitive ability, lower rates of depression and enjoy longer lives. Most people volunteer because they believe in the importance of their organization(s) and want to make a positive difference in the world. I have always volunteered for my church and find great satisfaction in serving others.
- Challenge yourself. Develop a new skill, take up or improve a hobby, travel somewhere new, mentor someone, teach or take a class etc. People also need challenges for their self-esteem. Lack of self-esteem saps vitality–the energy that makes us excited to get up in the morning and accomplish things. Benjamin Franklin said, “When you are done changing, you are done.”
Whatever you decide, I hope that you have a life filled with purpose, optimal health for your age, love, happiness and success defined by you. I know that you don’t need to retire to find the “good” life.
“Of this be sure: you do not find the happy life, you make it.”
Thomas S. Monson