Pondering Figure - Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/Master

Early Retirement Woes


Dear Tracey,

I thought I was being smart. For most of my adult life, 30 years to be exact, I worked hard within the banking community so that I would be financially able to retire early at 55. (My ex-wife didn’t agree with my approach. She always complained that I wasn’t around enough to be a good father. I bet you don’t hear many husbands admit this but she may have been right. I missed a lot with both my wife and my kids. It cost me my marriage.)

The first couple of years of retirement were fun. I traveled anywhere I wanted to, read every book I could get my hands on. I played golf every single day. I even stopped shaving and donated most of my business suits. I was free.

But during all those years with my nose to the grind stone, I never imagined that I’d be saying this but I am bored out of my skull. I’m only two years into retirement and I’m itching to have something more in my life. Don’t get me wrong. The thought of a 40 hour work week leaves me cold. I don’t miss the demands of a full-time job in the slightest. That being said, there are things I really miss about the workplace.

I know I don’t want to re-join the rat-race either but that’s about as far as I can get on this topic. Ideas?

Bored Retiree

Dear Reader,

Isn’t it fascinating to discover that something you dreamed of for decades isn’t exactly what you thought it would be? Pretty frustrating, too. Sadly, it’s not unusual for some retirees discover that after so many years of concentrating primarily on their jobs, they have almost forgotten how to live full lives.

The good news is that you are in a solid financial position and you have some idea of what you don’t want, i.e. a forty hour work week and anything remotely connected to the rat race. Now, how do you discover what it is you want to do?

You might benefit from working with a Life Coach on this. If you were my client, I’d have you begin by writing down exactly what it is you are missing from the workplace. This little exercise will help you better identify what opportunities you need to create for yourself. For example, do you miss being part of a team? Maybe you miss the challenges of specific projects? What about  having a sense of purpose? Be as detailed as you possibly can be in creating this list. The more specific you are, the better you will be able to meet your needs through different activities.

Next, make a list of all hobbies and activities you enjoy, or used to enjoy. Then, have some fun identifying some of the wilder things you always wanted to try but didn’t. Feel free to think outside of the box on this one, as your creative, non-censored thinking may unearth some real gems.

Once you have this information in front of you, begin to look at different ways you can engage in activities that will meet your needs and interests. There are countless organizations that would benefit from your expertise. As a volunteer, you can decide how much time you want to contribute. It sounds like you would also be a great mentor for a high school or college student interested in business or the financial world. Consider the vast world of non-profit organizations as another place for your talents and experience.

I’d also suggest you investigate the OLLI program at various universities where you live. Designed for the over-fifty learner, you’ll discover all kinds of different classes that will not only feed your intellect but provide social contacts as well.

Finally, you don’t mention what your relationship is like with your children now but it seems like spending time with them would be a win-win. Why not give them a call?

By tapping into the focus and energy that carried you through a successful banking career, I believe you can have a full and satisfying retirement.

Art credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/Master

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