Retire? Not me. No way. I’m going to find the same job, with the same responsibilities in a brand new place. I’ve done it for 20 years and there’s no reason to stop now. That’s what I kept saying before I moved and left my last workplace of 10+ years. Turns out I was totally wrong about a lot of things related to retirement. But let me clue you in on the top 3 myths about retirement that totally tripped me up.
Myth #1: I’ll Never Retire
Never say never. I learned that lesson a long time ago. But somehow I didn’t think it would apply to my career. I’ve worked so long, it feels like forever. I’ve had short periods of unemployment while I was in-between jobs but fortunately not ever for very long. I really hated being unemployed. It felt unproductive and I felt like I was wasting time.
I was thankful for every job I ever had because I knew how miserable I as when I wasn’t working. I was grateful for the job I had recently left and I knew I’d be thankful too for whatever next job was waiting for me. Turns out there was no next job.
Despite landing in a new city with plenty of opportunities, I couldn’t find the right fit for me. Either I didn’t like them or they didn’t like me. There were plenty in the second category. Eventually I decided to specialize in helping people retire because I felt the universe was guiding me into retirement whether I liked it or not. Take my advice and never say you won’t retire. You may. You may not. Just nix the never.
Myth #2: It’s All Golden
Getting to retirement is not easy. It takes a lot of planning and thinking and second-guessing. Am I ready? Can I afford it? What will I do? Will I become a bag lady? (Funny thing, I’ve never heard men question whether they’ll be bag guys…?)
I struggled not only with the concept of retirement but even with the word “retirement.” It made me feel old. It made me feel unnecessary.
Even if you’re so ready emotionally to retire, you still need to plan for it. Once you finally get there, you’ll find there’s more to consider. How will you spend your time? How can you make this period of your life mean something? Should you look for a new career/vocation/hobby/friend/home/mentor? So many questions!
Once you do retire, you may even feel a little bit invisible. If you’ve been in a career where people came to for guidance and input, you begin to realize no one is asking for help anymore. That may be enough reason to retire, but once that goes away, it still can chip away at your identity and sense of self.
No, it’s not all golden. There are good parts and bad parts. Overall it’s just like the rest of life. Your attitude plays a big part in how it comes together. Just don’t expect retirement to be some sort of nirvana. It’s a myth.
Myth #3: You Can Pick When You’ll Retire
It’s great to believe you’re invincible, but real life eventually teaches us that we aren’t. I never really thought about when I’d retire, but I believed it would happen in the far, distant future and after a lot of planning.
I thought I’d pick the time and circumstances. This just didn’t happen. Age and overall job burn-out changed my mind about working in a corporate setting. I suppose you could say that I picked retirement but I feel more like it picked me.
Illness, care of a parent or downsizing are all reasons that influence retirement. They typically aren’t planned and often show up when you least expect them. Even if you think you can choose your time to retire, be aware that situations can change and you may be taking a different path.
I never thought much about retirement until I was in the thick of it. Just having some awareness about it and how it affects so much of who you are as a person would have been a huge help for me.
As it turned out, now I can write from personal experience on 3 myths about retirement. It confused and perplexed me so I learned all that could about it. Everything that I needed information on and help in understanding became what I now share as a retirement coach.
Retirement opened a whole new career for me and I’m grateful for that. I hope I’ve educated you and made you aware of an upcoming life change. Hopefully, I’ve busted a few of your retirement myths in the process.