3 Myths About Retirement

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.

People of all ages struggle to live a more meaningful life, but the struggle to identify a meaningful retirement is very real. Working with a certified retirement coach can help you frame what’s important to you and how to work towards it in order to find a meaningful life in retirement. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your journey and how we can help.

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Showing 8 comments
  • Keau Isomura

    I got cancer at the age 44. I was working hard n still going thru quite a bit of surgeries in 2006. I finally done my last surgery in Dec. 2007. I began chemo in 2008 n started taking medicine to catch all the small cancer that may had broken off n is somewhere in my system well it cured the cancer but those pills side effect of what it done to me was it ate at my musles n today im disabled n retired financially. But im still that young minded person everyone looks at, i’d say get yourself involved into something cuz it gets lonely n there nothing to do. Thats what i did! And it helps. Alot!!!

  • Deborah Williams

    Thank you for sharing your experience and congrats on traveling that long road to recovery! Even though your world got turned upside down, you decided to stay involved in life and connect with other people. We can all learn from your advice to get involved with something outside ourselves. Thanks for setting an example and teaching us how to be better people, even when faced with really difficult circumstances!

  • Linda

    I thought I would work till I was 70.things happened and I have retired at 63 I have realized I was working for over 25+years in a field I hated I have started to live now and now take care of me also I have found I have a lot of medical problems I never could address while caught up working I am so happy now

  • Deborah Williams

    You just never know when life will get in the way of your plans! It’s great to hear that you now have time to put yourself first and take care of your medical issues. Enjoy your retirement!

  • C. Kesler

    Retired four months ago after 41 years of Federal service. You are correct. It is quite an adjustment and the feelings of not being needed or invisible are right on track. In addition, an aging parent – though in long term care – still requires lots of attention (hospitalizations) and decision-making. It is definitely a difficult transition, but I am hopeful that I am beginning to settle into a routine.

  • Deborah Williams

    Having a routine is definitely a help when so much around you is evolving and changing. Sometimes people feel that having a routine is tying them down and keeping them from taking advantage of opportunities that come their way. My experience is different. Having some amount of structured time in my day gives me a framework and I can better evaluate “opportunities” to determine if they are the right ones for me. Wishing you all the best on your retirement. You worked very hard for it and dedicated yourself to your employer for many years. Now it’s time to dedicate time to what makes YOU feel valuable and important. Keep working on it and recognize it takes time to get it right!

  • Chris Knoblaugh

    I am counting the days until I can retire. I teach middle school. I also write, tutor, garden, read, belong to clubs, and socialize primarily with those outside of my school. The thing keeping me from retiring this year is health insurance. I am diabetic, and my husband is five years younger than I am. He was laid off three years ago, and has been unable to find a new position. I really enjoy my days away from the classroom. I just wish finding healthcare that is affordable was easier.

  • Deborah Williams

    Having health care benefits keeps many people employed at jobs they’d like to leave. Just know that you aren’t alone in sticking with your job for that reason! Sometimes knowing that you aren’t the only one thinking those thoughts is comforting. Ultimately it may not help you much, but at least it keeps you from dwelling on the thoughts that you’re the only one that feels that way. One the positive side, you are setting yourself up now for a retirement lifestyle that will have many wonderful things to keep you engaged and interested in life.

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