Isn’t Retirement About Not Working?

Is it time to retire? Your day-to-day routine just isn’t as rewarding as it used to be. You know it’s time to make a change in your life,  but you aren’t ready to completely stop working. Maybe you could retire and pursue something else? But isn’t retirement about not working? If you retire and take another job, are you still retiring?

Your optimal retirement plan may involve resigning from one career path and transitioning to another.  Whatever you pursue may be paid or unpaid. It may be a version of what you did before or something totally new. Whatever it is, you are making a choice to do something different and that may be just the change you need to improve your overall happiness. 

There are plenty of people who want to continue working after they retire. Some may want a job with more flexible hours or less responsibility. Some may want to try a new career or find more personally meaningful work. Whatever their reasons, they see retirement as a change and opportunity for something new.

Here are 3 of the common reasons people give for continuing to work after they retire. Do these resonate with you?

Income:  Continuing to earn a paycheck is significant. The longer you work, the less you’ll need to dip into your investments.  Maybe working a reduced schedule will fill in some financial gaps. Maybe you are okay with less income as long as it means fewer hours spent working. Look at leaving your primary career.. and pursuing something new as “refirement” instead of retirement.

Medical Benefits: Being part of an employer sponsored health plan has its advantages. You may not be eligible for Medicare yet so being part of an employer’s plan can be the bridge you need.  Navigating through the process of using an insurance exchange may be reason enough to stay with a group health plan for as you possibly can.

Attitude: Working offers the feeling of purpose and meaning. It allows you to use your skills and feel engaged. It gives you a sense of personal identity and keeps you connected to others.  If you’re looking for a life change but don’t necessarily need an income, doing unpaid volunteer work may be just what you need for maintaining your sense of purpose.  Think in terms of retiring without retreating.

The answer is you can certainly retire and keep working.  Retirement allows you to time to pursue what’s important to you. That may involve paid or unpaid work. So think through your decision and make your plans. Think about retiring now and moving on to your next job. 


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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