Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Nobody wants to work forever, but that doesn’t mean retirement is easy for everyone. In fact, according to a recent survey, it makes 40% of Americans more scared than death. Of course, lack of income and insurance were at the top of their list Whybut one of the main responses was also a desire to stay mentally and physically active and maintain valued networks of colleagues and friends.
People who fear retirement because they imagine going through their days without professional fulfillment should know that enriching experiences still await them – often because of their retirement, not in spite of it. No one needs to retreat into an empty void of solitude unless that’s the kind of retirement he craves. Instead, retirement can and should be all you need so you can continue to grow and prosper, even if it means working.
Related: 6 reasons to pursue entrepreneurship when you retire
“Retiring” doesn’t have to mean “no longer working”. It can be less scary to leave our old professional lives behind and retire, because if we want to, we can choose to start a new life, and with a new purpose. At its core, retirement is an opportunity to retire in a way that exhausts us, but not everyone is interested in completely retiring. Especially for leaders, when we have work to do and see the end goal in sight, it’s only natural that we want to work towards it. If that’s what gives us satisfaction, it should be a welcome part of our retirement.
In 2017, researchers concluded that many people who work for retirement do so to give their lives purpose. Many older Americans go back to work for money, but a 2020 survey found that more than half of workers said they plan to work until retirement for the sake of their mental well-being. A survey that year also found that a third of retirees eventually reverse retirement, especially leaders with skills and qualifications. When someone calls with an offer to take on an exciting role in a relevant industry without the stress of running a business, most retired leaders would rather take it than spend the rest of their days on a golf course. bring it, and that’s okay.
Related: A Modern Retirement Mindset: Elevate Meaning and Purpose by Going “Job Optional.”
Live experiences in new ways
If retirement without professional enrichment sounds boring, treat it as an opportunity to discover new ways to approach the world. Before I retired my job was mainly about managing people and building a positive culture, but now I can explore areas I never had time for and engage in the day-to-day work I missed running a large organization. Even setting up my new office, which I decided I needed after months of unsuccessfully trying to function from home, is more fun because I can make it exactly how I want it. It’s a charming waterfront space in an old historic Miami village with five offices, a kitchen, a meeting room, and enough room for three dog beds.
My kind of retirement was putting down the heavy weight of running a large company and transitioning to a work environment that allowed for greater mobility and independence. More of my everyday choices can be formed around my interests, and I just have to live up to the expectations I set for myself. Even if I decide to keep working, I have much more leeway to take risks or explore new options. I don’t want a vacation from work; I want to have the chance to celebrate what I gained in my experience by doing what I really want with it. Instead of seeing retirement as the end of professional development, we can fill it with growth and new experiences to develop ourselves.
Related: 15 Ways to Reduce Stress During Retirement
Keep doing what you like
As the business keeps pace with consumer needs, running it becomes more and more complex. We are all so determined to improve quality and safety in all moving parts of a business, and people need help in many different areas. While I may not be looking for these opportunities, I definitely want to say yes when a great person doing interesting work calls me looking for help. Retiring gives me the freedom to offer my years of industry expertise to the next generation and shape them to lead the way.
I also love seeing how products are made, and I’m invariably excited about the direction the production is going. Recently I visited a new paper mill that produces sustainable packaging. People pay attention to the trend and consumer demand makes sustainability cheaper and easier to participate in and scale up. I’ve been in the industry long enough to witness the evolution from plastic to more sustainable solutions. As we move into a new day and an exciting new direction for the industries that matter to us, we can make retirement part of that fun.