Retirement means different things to different people. A recent study asked retirees over the age of 60, “What is your single biggest challenge in retirement?”
Money, of course, remains a concern. But surprisingly, the list’s top three positions didn’t include “Retirement Savings.” But retirement planning? That’s a different issue. Having steady finances to last you throughout retirement plays a significant role in the quality of life, but what’s more important is your life planning. That might explain why the results found that the biggest retirement challenge that no one talks about is, “Finding Purpose.”
The top three responses include “Regret” (“I miss teaching and doing the work that I love. I feel lost.”), “Health” (“Keeping my mind healthy and adding value to the world.”), and “Identity” (“People don’t see you anymore.”).
The biggest challenge of retirement
In other words, what is it that you are going to do once you leave the workforce? You can retire from your career, but you can’t retire from life. For many retirees, they discover their enthusiasm and energy diminish, and their mental health declines. These are issues many retirees experience, but few discuss or prepare for.
Finding purpose leads to a more meaningful, healthier life
To achieve a more fulfilling retirement, the challenges of overcoming feelings of boredom, restlessness, and loss need to be confronted. Importantly, those who said they were enjoying retirement believe that their success is due to finding purpose in life through a new skill or interest.
In fact, there is a strong correlation between a strong purpose in life with healthier lifestyle behaviors and slower rates of progression of chronic illnesses.
Refinding Purpose and Redefining Yourself
Even if you don’t go back to work in the traditional 9-to-5 sense, taking on activities that bring you joy and satisfaction are important. Whether it’s consulting, volunteering, or taking on hobbies, rediscovering yourself after retirement, staying engaged, and giving yourself a sense of purpose promotes healthier behaviors, perspectives, and life.
An effective way to answer whether you’re giving yourself a sense of purpose is to ask these three questions:
- Are you doing an activity that you love?
- Are you good at it?
- Do others benefit from what you offer?
One of the most fulfilling ways to spend retirement is to give back through volunteering. Volunteering is a fun and fulfilling way to team up and work alongside your peers to help people in your community!
Whatever you choose to do with your retirement, ASBA can help you make the most of it!