I was chatting with a colleague the other day and the discussion led to retirement. My plan is/was to retire when I turn 40. I just turned 34 on Monday so I have six years to go. My friend spent 20-something years in the newspaper business and just left that to head into the world of PR.
He’s counting down the years until he can retire at 65 and has big ambitions once he is done work: spend more time at the cottage, kayak, ski, golf – you know, the usual retirement stuff.
One thing is for sure, he said, he doesn’t want to get bored.
“I know four people who retired and then a year or two later were dead,” he said. It was either poor health (alcoholism) or suicide that ended things for two of the people. The folks couldn’t find more productive things to do with their time because, as he said, their jobs where their lives. Without that work they didn’t have anything else going for them.
That’s not an insult by any means. Many people throw themselves into work. I often work eight days straight and then don’t know what to do with my downtime. I am just as guilty as the people he referenced.
My mom is a teacher and is bored out of her mind the first week into the two-month summer break. She is forever calling and asking me to walk the dogs with her or go for lunch. (Hey, if she’s paying for the meal, I don’t mind!)
So the reason I wrote that “is/was” thing at the beginning is because I am reassessing the retirement plan. Sure, I could travel the world and relax since I have been working from the age of 13. But without work I think I would get depressed.
I recently asked radio listeners if they would prefer to work like a dog from an early age to retire sooner or work at a slower pace and retire later in life. Do you have a guess at what the most common response was? And what would be your answer?