Came across an article from U S News and World Report on Yahoo News. (Link.) It headlined:
Retire At Your Own Risk.It goes on to point out the roll of the dice that one makes when one decides voluntarily to retire. The biggest risk is, of course the financial concerns that could arise when you don't have the same regular pay check month in and month out. These days a person retiring in their early- to mid-60s could very easily live 20 years in retirement. That's half a work career. The uncertainties of the next 20 years could easily be greater than the last 20. Who knows?! So that's the biggest roll of the dice.
Potentially as big a risk is:
What in the world are you going to do with all that time?The article points out the increased freedom and opportunities to do things. But how do you handle an unscheduled schedule? How do you do when you have to be a self-starter? It would be a shame, as the article points out, to have gotten this far only to find that you're bored, feeling useless, or unable to keep interested.
As I read the article I gave thanks that I was put in touch with a "wellness" or "life" coach earlier last year. I spent 4 months working with him. I let him ask me questions about myself and what I want out of life. No, not what I want out of retirement, rather what I want out of LIFE! We explored what makes me tick and what have been the things in my past 40 years that have helped make me who I am today- AND how that impacts what the next time of life will include.
Early in the process I came to calling this my "Third Career." Career One was ordained church ministry. That was 30 years. Overlapping that for the last 10 years of my church ministry was Career Two as I became a licensed counselor. That continued for 10 years beyond the church years. So Career Two was 20 years worth of work and life. I continue that into this year (and maybe longer) on a part-time basis while Career Three grows and matures.
Already in six weeks of the semi-retirement I am very grateful for the coaching. I knew the things I absolutely had to keep in front of me. I knew the things I really wanted to work on developing. And I knew some of the things that will hang around the edge of my new way of seeing the world and my place in it. It is still not easy to wrap my mind around the different structure that I'm attempting to build. I am more aware of our cash-flow of income and expense than I have ever been. I find myself motivated differently than I have ever been before.
I still go in to work. Those keep me connected with the people who have been so much a part of my life over the past few years. While I am building the new structure, the old gives me some familiar places to hang out and see how am changing. It is quite intriguing, I have to admit. It is a little uncertain- and the finances are- and probably will remain at the top of that list.
But if I have learned anything over the years it is that with the right mix of planning and flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants what is important will settle out. The coaching was a huge help. I would highly recommend anyone to find a coach, counselor, adviser, or spiritual guide to help you move into any such change.