July 12, 2017

You Have To Be A Little Crazy To Retire

Let's review.


Retirement means you:


1)  Stop getting a regular paycheck
2)  Give up employee health insurance
3)  Say goodbye to coworkers and companions
4)  Don't get paid when you take a vacation
5)  Have to fill an extra 8 hours a day on your own
6)  Must find ways to feel productive 
7)  Are your own financial safety net

Of course, all seven negatives can befall you without retirement being the cause.  Your company may downsize, be purchased by someone that loves automation, fails to please stockholders or owners, moves its factory to Mexico, or tries to sell a product the Internet has made obsolete.

Now, you are unemployed, which is like retirement, except you are under serious pressure to end your forced lack of work as soon as possible. You want to go back to work. You need to go back to work. You spend every waking (and sleepless moment) thinking about work. 

So, all a bit tongue in cheek, right? If these points were the sum total of retirement, you would have to be a little crazy to agree to do so voluntarily. If given the choice you'd stay at your desk, on the factory floor, in the company car, or wherever your presence was validated every few weeks with a paycheck, until your employer changed the lock on the door.

The good news is all these scary possibilities are more than outweighed by a much longer list: the reasons why you decide to retire, on purpose. You are not a little crazy. I contend you are about to start living fully for the first time since you put on big boy or big girl pants.

A quick summary is in order. You are raised by a parent or two, or maybe a relative. You are under their control. You eat what they serve, you sleep and wake when they tell you, and pretty much are lacking any real independence.

If you decide to go to college, things change a little. You are free to skip classes and generally make a fool of yourself. If you learn much it will be a by-product of an extended childhood.

Then, to pay for those 4 or 6 years of "freedom," you find yourself with a very large student debt. You must get a job to pay off that debt and support yourself.

For the next 35 years or so, you live to work. You spend untold hours in a car to and from your job. You do what you are told to do (not unlike childhood). For the more unlucky among us, you are available well after working hours and on weekends for phone calls and emails. Sunday night is the most stressful time of  your week.

Finally, you retire. You have looked over the seven points that began this post and have come to the logical conclusion that you would still like to stop working. You believe that having control of your days, schedule, and productivity are worth more than the downsides. You think that freedom is worth the cost.

At this point, you decide you'd have to be a little crazy to keep on working.


20 comments:

  1. When you own your own business, you don't have a few of those items anyway! We've always had to buy our own health insurance, be our own financial safety net, and no pay when we took vacations!! So transitioning to retirement was slightly less of a shock.Of course there is that NUMBER ONE ITEM !LOL!! I can't emphasize enough how important it was and is to PLAN AHEAD financially. We took seminars on money management and investing inn the 1980's and this led us to set goals, become debt free and pay off our home.We've been able to retire because of that planning. People who work and have an IRA or other work-related retirement plans should ALSO do some research and planning on their own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true. My own consulting business didn't have some of the seven things on the list. But, the fear of leaving certain things behind still applies when it is time to leave.

      After the serious post on hacking I thought it was time for a little more lighthearted post. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, this is it!

      Delete
  2. I remember the years I ran a full-time business selling sports memorabilia online. I worked 7 days per week 10-12 hours per day and enjoyed every minute of it. At the same time if I needed to do something I could take time to run errands, go out for lunch, take a nap ... whatever was needed. I never forgot that "feeling of being free". Later I went back to work in a high paying job making more money than I did online (both were good income) and it wasn't a week before I felt I was back in a prison.

    That feeling of freedom was never forgotten when I worked from home. Once I retired at 62 that feeling of freedom washed over me like a ocean wave and was worth a lot more than any amount of money I could make working. I tell friends I went from being a "workaholic" to a "slacker" and I love the change.

    I enjoyed this post today, thanks for reminding me why I retired.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not all of us, but a majority who are retired would not go back even if they could. That says it all.

      Delete
  3. I got up this morning at 4:30AM, just so that I could squeeze in an hour-long run before my work day. Then I worked for "the man" during the best, prime part of the day. Tonight, I'll speed home to perform several routine -- but necessary -- tasks to prepare myself for tomorrow's work day.

    It's been "wash, rinse & repeat" for the past 30+ years. I deserve a break and it's spelled r-e-t-i-r-e-m-e-n-t.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I got up at 5:00AM to squeeze in an hour run before my day began, too. We then rode the Harleys up to Brushy Mtn, and continued down to a great barbeque joint in Oliver Springs. Rode the bikes home on I-40 with the 70mph speed limit; felt good since the real feel out was 100 degrees. We'll get ready to go out to dinner at a small place nearby in a few moments, then I'll come home and prepare myself for our next day of retirement tomorrow.

      It has also been wash, rinse and repeat for the last three years. It is called retirement f-r-e-e-d-o-m, my friend.

      Delete
    2. Bless your heart. 5 am. I might do that, If I hadn't read until 3 am. Ha! Seriously, it sounds from all of your postings like you are doing what you want. In my case I never have two days the same, partly just cause I'm a putter. And partly because in the working world, my days were very similar day to day and I hated that. I am NOT a creature of routine.

      Delete

  4. My final day is 3 years away. Envious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stay busy and your future of freedom awaits!

      Delete
  5. Yep. I was forcibly retired (not getting a job after quitting to caregive) and for about three or four years I was looking for employment (to build up retirement until Ihad no more dependents) somewhere at that three year period I raised my fist ala Scarlett Ohara (at least in my mind) and said something to the effect that I would extreme tightwad the hell out of life if I had to, because I liked where I was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does have a way of growing on you, doesn't it.

      Delete
  6. Perhaps this post is meant to be tongue in cheek, but I worried myself silly about the seven things on your list as I approached retirement. Now the deed is done. I have been retired for twelve whole days. Strangely, now that I have crossed the threshold, I seem to have stopped worrying about those things.

    Jude

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The list is made up of things that people do worry about. But, when you look back at your life4 to this point and what lies ahead it is clear the worries are things you have dealt with before and managed to work with.

      Retirement brings a unique kind of freedom that puts those worries in perspective.

      Delete
    2. Congratulations on your retirement! I have 18 more months to go.

      Delete
  7. Getting used to the feeling of my gaining control of "most" of my time and life has been one of the oddest parts of retirement. I remember an early morning, sitting in a chair on my deck with a cup of coffee on my first day of retirement, in my slippers--listening to the sounds of cars on a distant highway--cars filled with commuters... going to work. No one around to tell me what needed to be done today... except me. It was a surreal feeling. I remember an odd sense of unease for a few weeks. I really had to work to provide my own structure and routine. I have seen a lot of my friends "drifting" in retirement. Not a good thing.

    Rick in Oregon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That feeling of unease sometimes lasts for months or even years, often for someone who has little besides work to engage and encourage them. You aren't having that problem.

      Delete
  8. Hi Bob,

    I know you said this post was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but for us newbies who are prone to worry about the things you listed, here's what I keep telling myself:

    Retirement means you:
    1) Stop getting a regular paycheck, but that's allright because you have planned carefully and you know you will be okay.
    2) Give up employee health insurance, but you have planned for this and are covered. Also, unless your employer had excellent healthcare coverage (and few do these days), your health insurance in retirement is not that different from what your employer offered.
    3) Say goodbye to coworkers and companions. You will keep the ones who are true friends, but you are now free to forge relationships with people who have more things in common with you than the career(s) you pursued.
    4) Don't get paid when you take a vacation. See #1.
    5) Have to fill an extra 8 hours a day on your own. This can be daunting if you had no hobbies when you retired. On the other hand, finally, you are free to set your own schedule, decide/explore what interests you, what doesn't, and what you really want to do with the rest of your life!
    6) Must find ways to feel productive. Similar to #5. Daunting only to the extent that you identify yourself with your job and value yourself based on what you did. Now it's all about finding what is meaningful to you.
    7) Are your own financial safety net. See #1. Also, as Galen remarked, you have dealt with this worry before when you were employed, so you can manage it.

    Bob, I liked how you put this stage of life in perspective -- retirement is when you have the chance to start living fully. Seen that way, what a priceless gift. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the way you have taken each of my points and fleshed them out.

      I find something new to try or path to follow every 6 months or so. Either I get bored easily (!) or the freedom of retirement is so stimulating.

      Delete
  9. I have always thought it was but we were one of the lucky few that were "forced" to save for retirement. In Oregon, public employees don't have a choice. We all get our insurance as a group (good for us) and we receive small cost of living increases. Our retirement income has gotten better as the years passed. First Social Security, then Medicare. We need less so our money goes further and our health issues seem to have leveled out. We are smarter, happier and above all, more useful than ever. :)

    b+

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you have a two home lifestyle in Oregon and Arizona! Life is good.

      Betty can't wait to qualify for Medicare in two years...she can't believe it when I say how simple it is to get care...no struggling to find a new doctor every year, worrying about referrals....No matter what happens to Obama/Trumpcare!

      Delete

Inappropriate comments will be deleted