I Like My Job, So I’m Never Going to Retire!

Filed in Living by on March 31, 2016 0 Comments

This usually comes from people in their 30’s and 40’s, and I cringe every time I hear it. This is not a good plan, and I’ll explain why.

There are three reasons why planning, and expecting, to work your whole life is a mistake:

“Late career” disillusionment

I’ve discussed this problem in previous posts. It is quite common for people in the latter stages of their career, when they are in their late 40’s and beyond, to become disenchanted with their work. Either the job has become very routine with few interesting challenges, or you are being worked like a rented mule, or both. I soured on my job as I entered the later phases of my career, as have many friends and acquaintances.

Just plain tired

As my readers know, I am a very high-energy Type A. Hell, I wrote the book! Yet even I have gotten a lot more tired as I progress through my fifties. I just don’t have nearly the energy I had when I was younger. I can rally for a short-term project, but then I am beat. I sleep 9 – 10 hours most nights. Again, many of my similar-age friends also report being much less energetic than they used to be. Not having as much energy makes full time work much more taxing and less enjoyable.

The myth of voluntary retirement

Most people assume that they will be able to work as long as they desire—it’s a free country, right? The cold hard facts indicate otherwise. A full 60% of current retirees say they retired earlier than planned, due to either health or disability issues, or corporate downsizing. And it is not just your own health problems that might force you to retire, but also your spouse’s, since you may need to care for them if they fall ill. Corporate downsizings are a major risk when you are in your 50’s and 60’s because companies love to hire “young and cheap,” and you may not be able to find another job in your area of expertise.

So for all these reasons, planning to work well beyond normal retirement age (usually considered to be age 65) is not a good plan. I emphasize the word plan here. If you save enough to be able to retire at a normal or early age, then you can always continue to work if you and your spouse’s health holds up and your company will still have you. If not, then you just “exit stage left,” as they say. Also, it’s more fun to work when you are doing so because you want to and not because you have to. If you have planned for and achieved financial independence, then you can work just for the enjoyment of it. Lastly, you won’t have to live in fear of an unexpected involuntary cause of retirement, since you will be prepared for this possibility.

Develop a sound and realistic plan for your retirement, one which takes into account the realities of aging and the many things you cannot control, and you might still be able to work until your very old age, if that is what you desire. If life chooses otherwise, at least you will be prepared.

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

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