Even though you may not need to generate extra income during retirement, you may want to work after retirement anyway. And your reasons may have nothing to do with money. This will be especially true if you decide to take some form of early retirement.
What are some of the non-financial reasons you might want to continue working after retirement?
1. Staying connected with the world
We often underestimate the importance of work as a way of connecting with the world around us. Sure, you’re interacting with people when you go shopping, eat in a restaurant, transact business at your bank, or even volunteer for a charity. But it’s not quite the same thing as connecting with people through work. This is important for “old timers” as well as though who are able to retire young.
The people that we work with – and even the customers and clients we deal with – are a different kind of connection, perhaps even a deeper one. We’re working in an environment with shared goals and outcomes, and that often causes (or even forces) us to cooperate more fully with those around us. It may even make us interact with people we don’t like.
That kind of connection, even though it seems stressful much of the time, can be vital to us as human beings. You can interact with the world on an economic level, which can be both different and deeper than other ways that we function in the world around us. As we get older, that connection can become even more important for us. Fortunately, those connections can be found in part-time work that fits a senior’s life style and doesn’t require a full-time ball and chain.
2. Taking on a new challenge
We have the storybook version of retirement, as an elderly person sitting in a rocking chair enjoying a life of blessed nothingness, or even at a seaside golf course somewhere in the tropics. But not nearly everyone is prepared to give up real-life for a set of golf clubs.
For some people, the prospect of retirement means that they are no longer completely dependent upon a job or business for survival. It can open up a life of creative challenges that can make life more enjoyable and purposeful than it’s ever been.
Retirement may be the perfect lifestyle from which to take on just such a challenge. It may be going into a business that you would never have considered when you were still fully dependent on a paycheck from your job. Retirement can be a time of new beginnings, some of which can be career related.
3. Giving yourself a purpose in life
Part of what gives us a purpose in life are the skills and abilities that we bring to the world on an economic level. In doing a certain job, or providing certain products or services, we maintain an economic connection to the world. That arrangement can be an important part of what gives meaning to our lives.
Along same line, how strong your work connection is may depend heavily upon how much you like work that you do. If you truly like your work, it is an integral part of your purpose in life – it may even be a major part of how you define yourself. In this case, a complete break from your life’s work can actually result in a decline in the quality of your life.
4. You’re a “young” retiree
By the time they reach retirement age, many people are more than willing to give up working in favor of a life of leisure. For some, the motivation may be physical. They may be dealing with a chronic illness or some form of physical limitation that makes retirement absolutely necessary.
But then there are others who seem too young to handle retirement. They may be 60-something years old, but it’s obvious that they still have a lot more to give the world. Such a person may not be physically, emotionally, or mentally prepared for complete retirement.
If you are in excellent health, and have an above average energy level, retirement simply may not be able to contain you.
5. You actually like working!
As counterintuitive as it seems in a discussion about retirement, there are more than a few people out there who actually like working. This can be especially true if you are self-employed. Many people who have their own businesses never have any intention of retiring. Their work is part of who they are, and giving up is not an option.
If this describes you, retirement may simply be the beginning of a new definition of your work. For example, you may decide to simply pull back from a full-time schedule to part-time. You may also decide that you’re going to perform certain functions of your job or business that you truly enjoy, and let the rest go. Retirement means you can do this, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to stop working entirely.
As you can see, not nearly all the reasons for working in retirement have to do with money. In fact, it’s often not until retirement that many people discover how important work actually is in their lives. The good news is that you don’t have to give it up once you retire. Retirement may offer new and more enjoyable ways to do the kind of work that you’ve done all of your life.
Retirement shouldn’t be about the need to stop working, but to do so only if you want to. And if you want to keep working…that’s perfectly OK too!