“Myth: a widely held but false belief or idea.”
Think of your retirement years. What pops into your head? Why did those images appear in your mind? Your world has taught you many lessons about the coming post-career years.
There are many myths floating around about retirement. Some of them promise a future filled with ecstatic wonders. Some myths take us in the opposite direction and paint a picture of misery. If you are going to successfully navigate this next chapter of your life you must debunk those myths.
Here are 7 retirement myths debunked.
Myth 1: Now Life is All About Me.
Until this point life has been about everyone else. You’ve raised a family. You’ve helped out your friends at work. Maybe you’ve been active in your church or other organizations. You’ve volunteered. You’ve been a leader. You’ve done your part. But as you enter into the post-career chapter of life, now is the time to focus on yourself.
Here’s the truth: now is the time to give back to others more than ever before.
Myth 2: The Productive Years of My Life are Over.
This is the glue factory mentality. When horses are of no use they are set out to pasture. They wander around without purpose until they die and shipped off to be turned into glue. This myth suggests retirement sets us out to pasture because the productive years of life are over. We wander around, enjoying the “Golden Years” until we fall over dead.
Here’s the truth: if you make the right decisions you are about to enter into the most productive years of life.
Myth 3: Life is About to Get Easier.
Why wouldn’t life get easier after your career is over? No more routine to follow. There is no boss getting in your face. You can sit around and watch Matlock reruns all day long. And you need never set another alarm clock. You are about to coast down easy street.
Here’s the truth: life is about to get more difficult because you must rebuild your life within a new framework.
Myth 4: I’m No Longer Needed.
This myth comes to us in subtle ways. After the retirement party you leave your career behind. It’s over. They no longer need your services. And check out the definitions of retire and you will see this phrase, “to pull back.” The message is clear: you are no longer needed.
Here’s the truth: with your accumulated years of experience and knowledge you are needed more than ever.
Myth 5: My Expenses Will Go Down.
We really want to believe this myth. If only it were true. But you still need to eat, a place to live, health insurance, and cable TV. Your fixed expenses will remain the same. Don’t kid yourself: the senior coffee at McDonald’s isn’t that much cheaper.
Here’s the truth: unless you work hard to change it, your expenses remain about the same.
Myth 6: It Takes Lots of Money to Have a Happy Retirement.
This is one of the scariest of all retirement myths. I’ve written a lot about the experts who assure us we need a million bucks in the bank before we can even begin to think about retirement. A fulfilling retirement, according to this myth, is reserved for those in the millionaire’s club.
Here’s the truth: even without a lot of money you can make these years the most rewarding part of the journey.
Myth 7: It’s Time to Fade into The Sunset.
“Happy trails to you. Until we meet again.” If you recognize those words you might have the idea life is coming to an end and you need to ride slowly off into the sunset. This myth says older folk need to just shut up and slip away into oblivion.
Here’s the truth: if you make the right decisions these years can be the land of perpetual sunrises.
These popular myths about retirement paint an unrealistic picture. They either make it look wonderful or terrible.
These popular myths about retirement breed confusion and set the stage for disillusionment. What’s the answer? What should you believe instead of these myths? Instead of worrying about retiring I encourage you to consider ReFIRING.
The ReFIRE process cuts through the confusing myths and sets you on a course of fulfillment for your post-career years.
JB & I have been “retired” 10 years this spring. I wish we had better prepared for all the areas you mentioned in this “new” time of our life! In retrospect we prepare for other era’s of our lives much more than retirement, regardless of the age we “retire” from the workforce. For me it was especially hard emotionally and mentally; much harder than I ever expected!
Thanks for sharing your valuable insights.
I tried to add to my first comment but it was frozen so this is an addendum! I did not realize how difficult it would be to “rebuild my life within a new framework”! I had not really realized how much my definition of self was tied to my chosen career field. I felt “unnecessary & unneeded” and disillusioned! I wish I had read something like your Blog 10 years ago!!
I agree totally with REFIRING…not retiring!! And the Lord and I are working on it!
Good stuff, Randy. I plan on embarquing on this adventure in about 2 years. I am trying to picture what life will be like then. I work on a team, and feel like I make a contribution. ( I just finished an 11 hour work day-hey, they need me!) I think that can continue. How that will look l’m not sure. My wife and I are not looking for a life of comfort after retirement. Some of the most miserable people I know are also the most comfortable!
Thanks for your comments. I’m guessing the transition is more difficult than people anticipate.
Well, not to sound like I’ve got it all together here, but I have “debunked” several of those myths in the 8 years since my retirement. I worked in a very busy newspaper office for 23 years, and the day after my retirement, I began asking God to show me how He could use me now. And NOW is the time I am volunteering, spending time with my grandchildren, and, I even wrote a book. Never written anything in my life. I say, just look for, and ask God for, opportunities!
Thanks for sharing your story!