To Retire or Not To Retire? That is the Question.
Steve Lopez is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. His new book about considering retirement is "Independence Day: What I Learned About Retirement From Some Who've Done It And Some Who Never Will" and is featured in this NPR "Fresh Air" episode.
In listening to the episode, I was struck by the research that Stanford's Dr. Phil Pizzo has shown that the three most foundational features of life after 50 - purpose, community, and wellness - become harder to maintain when we retire. It's obvious that we might feel less purposeful upon retirement unless we've retired to something, not just from something. It also makes sense that we might feel a little lonelier when we no longer have our workmates in our world.
But, Lopez's book suggests that our wellness is also at risk in retirement because the structure and schedule of work help create the discipline of a workout regimen. As I've mentioned, many retirees replace work with TV, as the average American retiree watches 47 hours per week. Not the best prescription for wellness.
Lopez believes fewer and fewer of us will choose the traditional retirement path. He gives a tip that we should test-drive our retirement dream before buying. Take a couple of extra weeks of vacation or a sabbatical and test out what you think you'll pursue in retirement: knitting rugs, nature photography, working with kids in inner-city schools. Sample the dream to determine whether it will nourish and sustain you. Or maybe make a list of a half-dozen dreams about 5-6 years before you might retire and test out one per year to see if a portfolio of activities might suit you.
If you're pondering whether "to retire or not to retire," you might enjoy our upcoming Baja workshop "Reframing Retirement: Thriving in Your Next Phase of Life" March 19-26 with my co-founder Jeff Hamaoui, me, and two experts in considering alternatives to retirement (as well as how to do retirement well), Colleen Drummond and Robert Laura.