John D. Weaver, LCSW, BCD, ACSW is a founding partner of EYE OF THE STORM, Inc., a private consultation and education group practice specializing in disaster mental health, crisis intervention, and risk management related training and support. Weaver has been an active volunteer with several organizations including the Mental Health Association and the American Red Cross (ARC). He has assisted at several local and national disasters.
Q. I’m about ready to retire but I’m not sure if I should go now or stay on a bit longer, to pad my retirement savings a bit more. Any advice?
Folks generally reach a point in their careers when they realize they have retirement open to them as a serious option. Some clues that you’re there? Work you once loved and/or tolerated well is not as appealing to you. Paperwork is becoming overwhelming. It is harder than ever to leave work and/or thoughts about work at work. You are having trouble relaxing and unwinding. Work stress is starting to take a physical and/or emotional toll on you and your family. You find yourself checking your retirement nest egg more often. Bottom line – you will know when it is time to go.
Q. But I can’t go, I love my job (most of it anyway). I’d miss ______ (fill in all the good stuff). What will I do with myself all day?
Retirement gives you extra time to do the things you enjoy (e.g., read, travel, exercise, socialize, watch TV, garden, visit family, cook, enjoy recreational sports, etc.). At the same time, it gives you more time to do things that aren’t always fun (e.g., cut the grass, clean, paint, get that surgery you’ve been putting off, visit family, and other things you’ve been putting off). As long as you are able to strike a balance between time spent having fun and time spent doing things you have to do, you’ll be fine.
Q. My partner tells me that, when I retire, I can’t just hang around the house all day. I guess that would drive us both crazy, right?
Right! Both of you need to keep busy, sometimes together and other times by yourselves. The list above contains a nice mix of things that can be done solo, done with friends, and/or done with your partner. Also, consider working part time (if you need some extra money) and/or volunteering.
Either way, it will keep you busy and that will keep you from getting tired of each others company.