What if you find you have to un-retire?

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‘Many people completely fail at retirement.’ That’s what Hyrum W Smith reckons in his book Purposeful Retirement.

I’m not sure what percentage ‘many’ is, but it does lead to the question, what can you do if you sense you have to un-retire? Smith says some of them go back to work or pursue a new career.

Ways to help avoid un-retirement

The best way to avoid un-retirement is to make your retirement work the first time around. Here are three ways to assist in making retirement stick:

1. Plan your retirement well

I suspect that many of the ‘many’ who fail at retirement haven’t thought much about their retired life. David is a good example of this. He retired and found himself sitting on the couch for three months and gave up on it—you’ll find his story here.

Planning means you have worked out what you want to do, how you will do it and the basics of what you want to achieve in the first three to six months. You have direction. Circumstances may change your plans, but your bigger plan and purpose probably won’t change.

How would you answer the question: Who do you want to be in retirement? That could help you in your planning.

2. Do a test run

Why not take a month or two of holidays or long-service leave to test your retirement. Yes, you could do the exotic holiday and travel. But it will be more helpful to stay at home and work out what you will do there in retirement.

At home is important because this is where you’ll spend most of your retirement. Why not start by working out what a regular week in your retirement would look like? And test drive it. You might get to like it—or know you need to change it.

Whatever happens, this is a test run, not reality. But it will help create a better reality.

3. Retire gradually

One of the things you can do is negotiate to gradually retire from your workplace. I’ve seen several people do this. They start by taking Monday or Friday off to create a long weekend every weekend.

Over time they add to the number of days off until they finish up completely. It’s a good way to ease into retirement if you’re able to pull it off.

Not every employer will be willing to allow you this kind of time to experiment with your retirement. Some have got around this by finding another job that fits their program and allows the flexibility they want.

What to do if you need to un-retire 

Back to Smith’s comment about many people failing at retirement. He does make some suggestions about what to do if you do need to un-retire.

He writes of those who go back to work or find a new career, but doing it differently this time around. This time, ‘work is about pursuing a passion. This time, work is about doing something you love to do.’

He suggests there are four questions you can ask to help you work out how you can do that:

  1. What do you feel passionate about?
  2. What brings you joy?
  3. Besides getting paid, what did you like about your day job?
  4. What skills, talents and business contacts can you take with you?

Answering these questions can help you find another job that will suit you at this stage of life. But it can also help you decide what you can do in your retirement to make it purposeful and meaningful. That could mean you don’t have to un-retire.

Bruce Manners is the author of Retirement Ready? and Refusing to Retire, and founder of RetireNotes.com

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Category: Planning, Working

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