I’m often asked “Are you still working?”. Well, yes I am….but the next question usually involves what I do, and sometimes explaining that is complicated.
What does the word “retirement” mean to you?
You see, what I say and what people HEAR are often two different messages, depending on their own preconceived notions of “work” and “retirement”.
If the person I’m speaking to has a very firmly entrenched view that “retirement” can only mean a traditional retirement then I am likely to be met with presumptions about people who choose to seek employment or own a business. “They” (including me I presume because I am working) “must be unable to afford to retire” I hear. Similarly there is often a presumption that every person who retires has their life fully sorted and knows exactly what they want to do with their future. Presumptions can be so very wrong!
The desire to escape
I completely understand that if you have been working in the same job for years and are very sick of the job and all that goes with it, perhaps also tired mentally and physically, then the desire to escape can be overwhelming. And when you feel that way you presume everyone else feels that way too. How often have you heard things like “How much longer do you have to stick it out before you can retire?”
I had those feelings too. It was 15 years ago but I recall the longing to get out of that rut. It was an enjoyable purposeful rut, working with lovely people. But I still wanted to escape. I knew I had other things I wanted to do.
Our next steps? A hybrid retirement
Since then I’ve loved my work. So why would I want to stop doing what I love?
My husband worked hard at his profession until the day he retired, but he isn’t interested in working now. He is enjoying a traditional retirement, but that doesn’t mean I have to!
So here we are on a nine day holiday, exploring parts of our wonderful country that previously we had only driven past on the highway. This morning we were happily being tourists having coffee and scones at a local strawberry farm, surrounded by many other older couples doing the same. But this afternoon he is out exploring things in the area that interest him. Meanwhile I’m sitting by a lagoon contentedly planning and writing for the blog.
And this is how we live our hybrid retirement lifestyles, both enjoying the lifestyle we have chosen. I work; he lives a traditional retired life…But he supports me in lots of ways that make it possible for me to work (e.g. cooking dinner) and I try to be free to do the things he wants to do that require my company (e.g. sailing).
Making life choices
The concept of life choices is one that the baby boomer generation have embraced throughout our lifetime. So now that we are retiring in droves it’s a good time to consider the choices that are available.
Contrary to what television marketing suggests, we all know our choices aren’t limited to retirement villages, river cruises, rejuvenating face creams and funeral plans.
Your next steps should be right for YOU
Let’s choose to live the next stage of our lives living life the way that suits each of us…with no judgement that one way of living your retirement is better than any other retirement lifestyle choice. We all need to take our next steps, and can choose them according to our own individuality.
Do you love the idea of a full-on all-you-can-enjoy traditional retirement, doing whatever takes your fancy? You can be a Grey Nomad, travel the world, go cruising, learn mahjong, play bingo, be a volunteer in the local hospital or somewhere exotic, become a yoga expert, look after the grandchildren…the list is only limited by your own desires, imagination and finances.
Seeking some employment
Perhaps you would like some employment, full or part-time, long or short-term. It will boost the retirement fund and may also provide the stimulation of interacting with other people and feeling useful. I know that it can be difficult for older workers to find work that they want but it is definitely possible. This is certainly a good option for people who have experienced redundancy or other job loss, or have chosen to leave their job and then regretted the decision (far more common that you might presume). With the right strategies it can be a great choice if you are not yet ready to be fully retired.
Retirement lifestyle business
What about this third model of retirement living, one that has become increasingly popular in the last few years? You can make additional income through your own business. I’m not referring to a massive business that will tie you down. I mean a retirement lifestyle business where you can use your experience, skills and knowledge. You still have so much to offer so you need to work out which of the many models of business might suit you best. You may need to learn some new skills but that becomes part of the challenge and stimulation that a business brings with it.
Create a future you will love
Get a copy of our free retirement planning guide to help you consider the sort of retirement you really want, the lifestyle that will fulfill you and give you purpose. This will help you choose your next steps.
Then over the next two months I’ll be putting together an exciting new program to help you take your next steps towards a lifestyle business that will suit you and enable you to live the live you want to live.
Let me know what aspects of retirement lifestyle business you would like to find out about.
It’s time to switch back to my retired lifestyle
I must stop writing now as it is time to return to being a tourist and the “traditional retirement” part of my life, and go out for fish and chips down by the lovely river in town.
Related article: The Changing Face Of Retirement In Australia (Sydney Morning Herald)