Good Times Ahead For You or Not?
I am a big advocate of the notion that as people mature and approach their 60’s and 70’s they can still pursue new opportunities, whether they are personal or professional. Over the years, I have met with far too many people to count that are working well into their 70’s and some in their 80’s. I have also met many people that take on new projects and challenges. They keep moving forward. I find them to be inspirational and motivating.
Ken Dychtwald of Agewave (I have recommended his work here before) and others have done a wonderful job of writing about the evolution of retirement. There is clearly a change in how some view their “golden” years and the opportunities they want for their future. And I genuinely hope that even the most pessimistic among us, those that have struggled both personally and/or professionally during their lives, are able to feel optimism about what lies ahead.
But I would also like to believe that I am realist as well. Many workers simply want out. They want to get off the treadmill. They have had enough of their jobs and their companies and their colleagues and their clients and their commutes and everything or anything they have been involved with professionally. Many have felt trapped in boring, repetitive jobs that offer little stimulation. Others have done physical work that has taken a toll on their health. And some have had their spirit and energy for work depleted. The best way to sum this up is to say that they have it.
They are counting the days until the grind stops. For them, maybe retirement doesn’t have to be anything glamorous at all. No travel around the world to exotic places. Maybe it is simply the idea of not having to go to work anymore. Just doing a whole lot of nothing. Checking the mail, watching TV, doing small projects at home, or whatever else they choose to do so long as they don’t have to go to work anymore.
This article from Scott Burns is a strong reminder that there are a heckuva lot of people that may not have had life play out for them in the way that they imagined. Just look at the responses Scott received from many of the readers of his newsletter in regards to a blog he wrote about the role of work in the life of a retiree. They clearly do not agree with him. Here is another example. By and large, I think this piece from Olivia Mitchell is reasonably fair and not over the top in its assessment of retirement. However, I am a skeptic about whether or not a baby born today will live to be 150. But check out the comments! Obviously, many are angry and/or disappointed and simply do not see much to look forward to in their later years.
Being trapped in a personal or professional situation that you have a hard time getting out of is bad enough. But when you lose hope for your retirement, for your future, it can become debilitating. You see in their comments to these opinion pieces that the respondents are not living the retirement the authors describe. I try to keep this perspective in mind as I work with a wide variety of clients. I know we all come from different places, have different life experiences, and different expectations for our future.