What if retirement isn’t right for you?

For a lot of the women I work with, retirement isn’t a comfortable concept. They’ve worked hard throughout their life and career, and settling into a traditional type of retirement (gardening, book club, or time with family) doesn’t feel like a fulfilling way to spend this next phase of their lives. But what if retirement isn’t right for you?

As someone who’s passionate about what I do, I understand this feeling. The idea of transitioning away from a career and a life you love feels like an uncertain next step. Still, some aspects of retirement might seem appealing! Having the time to travel or check some big life moments off your bucket list is an incredible opportunity that’s tough to pass up.

So, what do you do if you’re nearing retirement, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to retire yet in the traditional sense?

The good news is you have several options available to you. Many pre-retirees choose to keep working in one capacity or another through the first part of their retirement. Others choose to live an “alternative” retirement lifestyle that fills their time and leaves them feeling connected and fulfilled.

The key is determining what retirement lifestyle option is going to work best for you and building your financial plan to support that. Finding a way to retire to something (rather than from something) is the best way to ensure a long, happy retirement.

Do You Keep Working?

Many women choose to keep working for at least a portion of their retirement. There are several benefits to working in retirement:

  1. You can continue to earn a living, and extend the life of your retirement savings.
  2. You may even be able to put some more retirement savings away through a workplace retirement plan.
  3. Depending on where you work, and whether you’re part or full time, you may be able to access employee benefits – like healthcare – for at least a portion of your retirement.
  4. Working during retirement can keep you healthy and mentally sharp.
  5. Finding meaningful work during retirement can also help keep you feeling fulfilled and connected. A purpose-driven life is often the key to long-term happiness as you move through retirement.

If you want to work during retirement, you can either continue on at your current job (assuming there isn’t an expectation for you to retire), you can talk to your employer about reducing your hours to part-time, you can find part-time (or full-time) work elsewhere, or you can choose to pursue freelance or consulting work on your own.

There are different benefits to each of these options, and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each before committing to something new or staying on with your current employer.

Thinking About Retirement Alternatives

Of course, you don’t have to continue working in a traditional capacity during retirement. There are so many alternative retirement lifestyle options available to you. Of course, freelance work or consulting is definitely an alternative if you want to fill your time but don’t want to work a traditional part- or full-time job. This type of work won’t necessarily come with employer benefits, but it does provide some income, and you get to control your own schedule throughout retirement.

However, there are other options available to you, as well. These might be:

  • Volunteer work
  • Joining a community organization (or starting/leading an organization of your own)
  • Volunteering to be on the advisory board for your current employer, or a local business you’re passionate about
  • Continuing your education
  • Teaching a local course on a subject you love or have experience in
  • Pursuing a new hobby – like art, home gardening, home improvement, long-distance bike riding or whatever else sparks your interest!

There’s no reason that you shouldn’t view retirement as an exciting new chapter in your life. You could be spending 20-30+ years as a retiree – and that’s a long time! You should absolutely build a lifestyle that you’re excited about, whether that means continued work, pursuing a passion that you’ve always put on hold during your career, or trying something new and exciting.

What’s Next For You?

Retirement is often viewed as a time to do a whole lot of nothing, but the truth is that retirement is 100% what you make it. You have an opportunity here to create something exciting for yourself in the next phase of your journey, and you deserve to build a lifestyle you love.

For some, this means continuing to build a career they’re passionate about. For others, it means pivoting and trying something new – whether that’s a different type of work or another way to live your life according to your goals and core values.

Remember: retirement doesn’t just have to be about “filling time.” You have every right to fill this next chapter with activities that give your days a true purpose, and your financial plan can and should support these goals. Not sure how to build a retirement plan that facilitates your biggest lifestyle dreams? I’d love to speak with you. Request a call with me today. Together, we can work through what your retirement goals are, and how your financial plan can help you achieve them.