What’s Your Vision for Retirement?
Recently I had to take my car into the dealership due to a recall. Normally, getting the car fixed is a big hassle given my rather busy schedule, husband who travels, and three kids. However, when I made my appointment, I was told that the dealership had a courtesy shuttle that could take me to work. Great.
I arrived at the dealership at 7:30 am with a few other people carrying briefcases and lunch bags. We were directed over to a corner of the dealership where we were greeted by a man, sipping coffee and holding a cell phone. He surveyed where each of us was headed and then made a call on his cell phone. His partner, who would be here shortly, would take me west while he took the other riders east. Shortly thereafter, a mini-van pulled up. I entered in the passenger side and was greeted with “Good Morning, I’m Ken.” Ken was in his early sixties. He was a distinguished gentleman, sipping a cup of coffee, wearing casual (but professional) clothes, a golf hat and sporty sunglasses. He looked a bit out of place and over-qualified to be our shuttle driver. He asked me where I was headed and we were off.
As a financial adviser, I am always interested in people that are near retirement age, and their thoughts on retirement. I asked Ken, “How long have you been driving shuttle?” “I’ve been doing this for two years… been retired for four.” Bingo! I knew there was a good retirement story here. I found out that four years ago Ken had retired from his life-long career. He was “retirement age” and qualified for his pension so he thought it was time to retire. At first he thought retirement was great. All the freedom, no stress, all the time in the world. Until he realized one thing: “I was bored out of my mind.” He wasn’t feeling well, he was tired all of the time and didn’t have the energy he had when he was working. He thought he would feel the opposite.
This is where fate took over. While at a doctor’s appointment, he ran into a former co-worker. As they were comparing retirement notes in the waiting room, Ken confessed he was actually not very happy in retirement. His friend told him that a few months earlier he had gotten a part-time job working as a shuttle driver for a local car dealership and that that dealership was looking for other drivers. Ken’s friend called his boss and told him about Ken. He got off the phone and said “He wants to meet you.” Ken drove to the dealership that day and was hired on the spot.
Ken now works 3 days per week. Not because he needs the money. He was well set for retirement. Working has allowed him a little extra cash flow for “fun stuff” like sending money to a 529 plan for his grandchildren and extra charitable giving. The benefits of working part time in retirement are not just monetary. Once back at work, Ken realized how much he had missed the face time with people and listening to their stories. He liked the routine and the schedule that his part-time job offered. Overall, he was much happier than when he was 100% retired.
Ken’s experience is not unique. Many of our clients return to part-time work after retirement. They enjoy a wide variety of part-time jobs that bring back some of the routine and social interactions they were missing. In fact, we encourage clients to evaluate not only their financial but also their emotional position before they retire.
Questions to consider before making the decision to retire:
- What will you miss about working? (people? schedule? work itself?)
- What will your typical day in retirement look like? How do your retirement plans affect what your spouse has planned? Is your typical day realistic all months of the year? Retirement living may feel fantastic from May to September, but winter months can get long.
- Is there an opportunity to work part-time for your current employer?
- If you can’t work for your current employer, is there another job that intrigues you?
- Will you feel comfortable spending your savings in retirement? Will having part-time income not only enhance your financial plan, but allow you to enjoy your retirement to a greater extent?
Even if working isn’t the answer you’re looking for, many people find it is helpful to have a schedule and to get involved in a community of some sort. Being a part of a workplace or other community provides a sense of belonging and importance, as well as a feeling of fulfillment.
We’ve helped lots of people like Ken find their way into and through retirement. To review your retirement readiness, or to assess how your retirement is going, give us a call.