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So You Think You Want to Retire?



It was simple.  I didn’t want to retire.  I had not considered it.  That’s when I was mid-60s.  My Social Security retirement date was age 65, but I wasn’t ready.  Age 65 came and went, as did 66, 67, etc.  I was in good health and felt many years younger than I was.  Work was a pleasure!

However, I began to pay attention to friends and clients who retired at the “normal” age or before in some cases.  Some were happy and completely content.  They had things to do.  Others were not.  They missed the routine, the social side of work, the satisfaction they derived from work, but they didn’t want to go back to the grind, the obligation, the commitment to a daily routine because they enjoyed their new freedom.  Some found satisfaction in part-time work completely unrelated to their former work.  Some found volunteering, often for several different causes, was a good fit.  What was the difference?

I concluded that some occupations or employers basically force or “incentivize” workers out at a certain age, but people know that in advance and can make plans.  I observed that individuals in highly regimented or bureaucratic workplaces, like government, government contractors, school systems, etc. are the ones most ready to retire.  Sometimes they pursue something else that is completely unrelated in retirement.  

Generally, those who love what they do such as business owners, self employed persons, and those who have creative latitude and flexibility are often the last to retire.  How many doctors, lawyers and business owners do you know who choose to keep working after “normal retirement age”?

At 65 I found myself unwilling to give up my client interactions largely because my clients are friends.  Most client interactions wind up being both social and business, and I enjoyed both. 

In the next post we’ll look at my progression of thinking and the changes in my attitude.