Why retirement might not be for you - Tucson Local Media: Editorials

Why retirement might not be for you

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Posted: Tuesday, September 2, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:01 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Are you considering the life of a full-time retiree? Do you fantasize about waking up at a leisurely hour, strolling onto the patio with a cup of freshly brewed coffee in your hand and breathing in a lungful of fresh air as you contemplate your day?

I’ve got a newsflash for you; retirement can be rather ambiguous work. Fact is if you aren’t prepared for days when you’re completely overextended and others filled with nothing at all, your Leisureville lifestyle just became more complicated. It’s just a hunch, but I’ll bet no one ever mentioned this part of the equation to you.

As satisfying as retirement can be most of the time, it also offers unanticipated challenges and an intermittent mass of time-consuming weekly occurrences. Before deciding on a life of indiscriminant lounge chair napping and the pursuit of spontaneous gratification, consider a few reasons why retirement might not be suitable for you.

Reason #1: You may not be a success at it overnight.

Establishing a successful retirement career (yes, it’s a job of sorts) requires years of planning, unforeseen events and incalculable diligence. In fact, you may have flashbacks to your college all-nighters when you find yourself staring at the ceiling at 3 a.m. trying to figure out what the heck you’re doing with you life and where its going from here.

Reason #2: Your days of reaping huge amounts of money for your experience are over.

Many new retirees return to work for a variety of reasons, some as part-timers earn significantly less than their much younger peers because employers know that most oldsters become bored and simply want a little diversion in their lives, and money isn’t the driving motivator in many cases. I’ve lost count of the number of retirees who’ve said, “I shouldn’t have quit my day job, my career was my life, but I never realized it until it was gone.”

Reason #3: Retirement is a new career, but you won’t be guaranteed instant gratification, if at all. Initially, you can plan on exerting a lot of time and effort and seeing very little tangible return. It’ll take some time to find a comfortable daily routine and establish new friendships with the neighbors. During this break in period, you may need to try some things that haven’t previously appealed to you in order to widen your scope of potential interests and acquaintances. If you’re planning a life on the retirement compound for the long haul, then glance toward the future with an eye on today.

Reason #4: You could face rejection on both the home front and part-time job ventures.

How’s your self-esteem? The real world of work and volunteerism isn’t loaded with senior aged retirees functioning in supervisory positions, so being able to take constructive criticism from someone young enough to be your grandchild is commonplace. If you tend to come unglued at the first taste of rejection, then a paid part-time job may not be for you. Instead, you may want to selectively pursue volunteer work. Today’s workplace is evolving rapidly and requires thick skin not only to succeed, but even to hang on, and rejection is part of the integration process. But once you gain acceptance and adjustment to rejection, you’ll find acceptance through sheer diligence and demonstrated performance.

Reason #5: You’re finally responsible for your own success.

That’s right, for possibly the first time in your life things are up to you. Face it, the biggest reason why retirement continues attracting so many people is because it puts them in control of their own destiny, or at least more so than at most other times in their lives. Coincidentally, this is also the same reason why retirement may not be the best option for you. If you haven’t planned ahead, talked with people who’ve been doing it successfully and enjoyably for a few years, your chances of succeeding are dramatically reduced.

Seriously consider these final questions: 1) Are you a competent time manager? 2) Do you have the wherewithal to function comfortably on your own?

Remember, you’ll be responsible for your own success or failure thereof. Paycheck or playtime; it’s your call, and maybe you can have both.

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