Editor’s note: Due to an error, this column did not run in print on Monday.
I love asking people what they will do with their time once they have retired. This question often serves as a gateway to people’s passions and dreams.
Many people answer this question enthusiastically.
As they share their plans, you can see that they have been inspired by a love of family, friends or the desire to accomplish a goal. Other people aren’t as sure.
For some, retirement is driven more by distaste for work than hope for the future.
I don’t mean to say that retiring can’t be motivated by dislike for a job; it just shouldn’t be the only reason. When people don’t have a something to retire to, they have a greater chance of failing at retirement.
The idea that a person can fail at retirement is usually met with incredulity.
How can a person be bad at retiring? Well, I can tell you there are many ways.
Some people are not accustomed to free time, and the curse of idleness leads to poor choices. Once the structure a job provides is gone, many people flounder like a fish out of water.
I have seen retirees ignore their financial plan and quickly blow through hundreds of thousands of precious dollars.
Once they had access to their retirement funds, the temptation was too great. Sometimes, retirees are forced to go back to work because of irresponsible spending.
Some retirees turn to addictions. A job provides income, but it also provides purpose. Once the requirement to work is gone many inhibitions melt away.
Some retirees become more sedentary.
It is common to use the extra time to watch more TV and surf the Internet. These bad habits can lead to poor health, which, in turn, leads to more inactivity. It can be a destructive circle.
One unfortunate phenomenon is that there is an uptick in the likelihood of death in the first few years after retirement.
Several studies have documented this statistic. My personal belief is that this occurs because many people unknowingly attach their self-worth to a job.
For these reasons, I like the idea of easing into retirement by working part-time. Part-time employment will not only help the transition, but the extra income will improve the finances.
The beauty of this is that you will have the freedom to choose work that you find fulfilling, not just a job to pay the bills.
People who are active with family, friends, hobbies and community usually hit the ground running.
We know someone has transitioned to retirement well when they report to us that they don’t know how they ever had time to work.
If you can’t visualize your post-retirement life and get excited about all the possibilities, you need to take some time to reflect.
The world is a big and beautiful place, and there is so much for you to do.