Don’t rely on retirement to make you happy

There’s a lot of talk about retiring early. As someone now in their late 70s, I find it hard to get my mind around the idea.

I attempted to retire at about 70, found myself terminally bored, and un-retired. With any luck, I’ll keep working about 30 hours every week for the rest of my life. I find it extremely satisfying.

But if you do want to retire thinking it will make you happy, be my guest. Just make sure you have all the pieces in place or an ability to re-enter the work force in some capacity if you discover ‘work’ is not the source of your unhappiness.

by Rob Carrick \ May 23, 2019

A lot of your feelings about retirement will be driven by whether you love, hate or tolerate the work you do. The person who writes a blog called Financial Samuari loved his work. And after he left his job in 2012, he felt adrift.

There are two threads to the Financial Samurai’s story, one of them being the importance of work in the lives of many people and how hard it can be to establish a new identity in retirement. The other relates to the fact that the Samurai was 34 when he retired. Yup, 34. The Financial Independence, Retire Early (F.I.R.E.) has a strong following among millennials. How fun is it really to retire young?

The Samurai’s job was in the securities industry and required frequent trips to Asia. When he left, he missed the excitement and comradery. Worse, he felt like he had no self-worth. “This ego hit took me a full year to get over,” he writes.

Here’s another killer observation about early retirement: You’ll be disappointed you aren’t happier. “So many people think that once they achieve financial freedom or leave a job they dislike, they’ll suddenly be permanently happier,” he writes. “The truth of the matter is, your elevated happiness will only last at most three to six months. Eventually, you’ll revert to your natural state of being.”

The lesson I take out of this is, whatever your age, don’t look to retirement to make you happy. Find your happiness elsewhere – family, friends, pets, hobbies, exercise, learning, mentoring, volunteering and more.

Note: Rob Carrick is a personal finance columnist who lives in Canada. He talks often about financial planning for people under 40.

Here’s a paragraph from the link I found that gave me the idea for this post:  For more money stories, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group. Send us an e-mail to let us know what you think of my newsletter. Want to subscribe? Click here to sign up.

Here’s the URL that gave me the idea for this post:

Good luck!