To Retire or Not… That is the Question

F&G Annuities & Life, Inc. surveyed more than 2,000 pre-retirees and retirees to understand their perception of retirement. Surprisingly, the survey revealed that over 50% of participants decided to postpone retirement or planned to ‘un-retire.’ Many may assume that the primary reason for this is the need for financial support to fund the retirement lifestyle. However, the survey revealed other reasons as well. While 64% of the respondents acknowledged that money was a significant factor behind their decision, the remaining 36% indicated that the need for continued intellectual stimulation and a sense of purpose was the primary reason for postponing retirement or returning to work after retirement.

As an advisor who has worked with many families over several decades, I’ve seen numerous retirees fall victim to feelings of purposelessness and lack of intellectual stimulation. One of my father’s famous sayings was, “Never give up a job you love,” and I would add that it’s also important not to give up a job you like. Despite having the financial means to retire, my father continued to work until he passed away at age 99! He could have financially afforded to retire decades earlier, but he loved interacting with people. His work gave him a perfect excuse to socialize with friends and meet new people.

If you are a pre-retiree, what should you do?

If you are within ten years of retiring, now is the time to begin developing your retirement strategy.

  1. Meet with your financial advisor to get a clear picture of your retirement resources. Will you have enough cash flow from Social Security, pensions, 401(k)’s, and personal investments to meet or exceed your expected retirement lifestyle?
  2. Think carefully about how you will fill the 40-plus work hours you once worked when you retire. Do you have hobbies or volunteer opportunities? If your purpose is tightly wrapped up in your work, you may have difficulty replacing the intellectual stimulation you have found in the workplace. Start finding new passions and interests now to ease the transition.
  3. Ask yourself, “If I could redesign my job exactly how I want it, what would that look like?” One of my clients works part-time, giving them more time to pursue hobbies they love. Another client took a job in a similar field that allowed them to have more control of their schedule. Still, another client turned a hobby into their next career, where they manage their own time and responsibilities. If you enjoy your work and are physically able, continuing in your current role or a similar one may provide you with lasting enjoyment.

If you are retired, what should you do?

  1. If you are retired and disenchanted with your situation, consider how you might re-enter the job market.


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professional photo of certified financial planner Stewart Welch wearing black suit and red tieStewart H. Welch, III, CFP®, AEP, is the founder of THE WELCH GROUP, LLC, which specializes in providing fee-only investment management and financial advice to families throughout the United States. He is the author or co-author of six books, including 50 Rules of SuccessJ.K. Lasser’s New Rules for Estate, Retirement and Tax Planning- 6th Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.); THINK Like a Self-Made Millionaireand 100 Tips for Creating a Champagne Retirement on a Shoestring Budget. For more information, visit The Welch GroupConsult your financial advisor before acting on comments in this article.



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