The Day After Retirement

Sr. Financial Advisor Neal Nolan ponders what the first day of retirement might feel like and offers advice to those making the leap.

It is my belief that people are wired to work. It has been my experience that for some, work is a four-letter word, yet others find real fulfillment in doing what they love. Most work until they are in their 60s; somewhere along the way, they figure out that they won’t work forever. This is usually the point where they seek advice about planning for their retirement. After years of working and saving, they will one day tell their employer that they are ready to call it quits. But what comes next?

Being financially prepared for retirement is one aspect of being ready for retirement. However, there is another side that isn’t talked about very much: filling the void after retirement. When asked what they will do first after retirement, most give a quick answer, such as sleeping in, taking a vacation or finding a hobby. However, after a lifetime of work, it may be difficult to let go of it. Our life has become accustomed to work, and that isn’t something that is just switched off. Often, a person may look to fill this void by keeping themselves busy by volunteering or starting a new part-time career.

Recently, a friend of mine whom I’ve come to respect decided to retire. It made me start thinking about what it would be like the day after retirement. I can’t help but think at some level there would be something missing: a void. Perhaps this is why some people keep themselves busier in retirement than during their working years. Or maybe it’s to stave off boredom.

If I had any advice to give, it would be to enjoy the newfound freedom and do everything you can to make memories. That is to say, when you retire, don’t take up hobbies and activities to fill the void. That would be living a life of going through the motions. Rather, invest yourself in these activities and get involved in the lives of the people around you. It’s at that point when memories can be shared — memories worth keeping. As for my friend, I wish him well and the very best for him and his family for many memories to come.

Neal Nolan, CFP®, CPFA, AIF®
Senior Financial Advisor, Director of Business Retirement Services

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