For a lot of men, retirement is both a desire and a dread. We want nothing more than to have all the time in the world for our hobbies and interests. At the same time, we relish feeling important and accomplished in our professional roles. For some men, who have built their identities around their careers, retirement leaves them feeling lost and left behind. This connection between our job and self-worth is not surprising, especially since the average person spends a third of their life at work. So, how can we ensure that retirement lives up to our hopeful expectations?
Boredom is Not the Answer
For men who love being part of the action, the traditional retirement of deckchairs and park benches may not be appealing. In fact, surveys have found that 28 percent of male retirees are likely to continue working post-retirement, choosing to stay engaged in the aspects of their jobs that they enjoy. This could be in the form of reentering the industry as valuable consultants or offering mentorships to younger associates. Many people have close-knit relationships with their colleagues and returning to the workforce—albeit part-time—can allow them to maintain important social interaction with their friends. Instead of answering to a boss, some retirees choose to start their own business, leveraging their knowledge, experience, and industry connections.
Retirees do not have to limit their pursuits to the same field as their former careers either. It is not uncommon for people over 50 to study and train for a whole new vocation or to start a career doing something completely different. For example, a corporate banker may find his second calling in woodwork. With online platforms like Etsy facilitating the sales of hobby crafts, retirees can turn their toolshed passions into a veritable source of income. Outside of creating a sideline though, there are a myriad of special interest groups and communities that retirees can join to acquire special skills. From pétanque teams to gentlemen grooming clubs, heirloom gardeners to sailing enthusiasts, the options are endless.
The trick to retirement, it seems, is to stay active and stimulated. Whether you remain faithful to your former career or find an exciting fresh start, it is essential that you feel a sense of purpose in your life. Taking part in memorable and altruistic experiences has been shown to inspire greater gratitude than simply amassing material objects. Hence, volunteering and fundraising for meaningful causes such as veteran support and prostate cancer research can be much more rewarding than buying a huge television to sit in front of. In addition, being an active part of a community will not only refill your social interaction cup but help keep your mind and body well-oiled and in good working order.
Financing the Fun
Now that we have gone over the what, let us look at the how. It is a well-known fact that retirement does not look the same for every American. While career high-flyers may retire with a comfortable sum of money in the bank, many wage workers will have to rely on Social Security checks for their post-retirement needs. While some sources have stated that the average American needs over $1.5 million to retire securely, the actual figure is a complicated calculation of expenditure, investment interest, and expected lifespan. With inflation, the rising costs of medical care, and economic uncertainty affecting our social support system, it is understandable that some retirees are nervous about providing for their senior years.
Thankfully, our current generation of retirees was lucky enough to benefit from the suburban expansion and subsequent property boom in their younger years. Baby boomers make up 40 percent of homeowners in the US today, with their homes providing long-term equity and stability in their retirement years. However, because boomers concentrated most of their income on the purchase of a family home, they may be poor in liquid assets. This presents an obvious problem when it comes to financing entrepreneurship, continuing education, and even recreational activities like travel. Since the pandemic, cash flow has become integral to peace of mind, as people want to be able to afford vital emergency medical expenses.
Some alternative retirement options have been developed in response to the asset-rich cash-poor issue. One of these is the reverse mortgage, whereby lenders essentially fund homeowners a portion of their equity that is usually repaid after death. The perks of reverse mortgages are that retirees and their spouses can stay in the family home for as long as they live while receiving payouts in the form of lump-sum payments, term payments, or a line of credit. By converting their home equity to easily accessible cash flow, seniors can make the most of their retirement without worrying about losing their homes or running out of money.
Although retirement can seem daunting, there are many ways that we can smoothen the transition and ensure financial security. There are certain things, such as aches and pains, that are unavoidable with age. Issues like boredom, isolation, and monetary woes, though, can be avoided with concerted efforts. Here’s to living your best life after retirement!