“Some things I hope I never do: clog the checkout line at a drugstore while laboriously counting out 54 pennies in exact change; drive 10 miles an hour in a 35-mph zone; serve my children freezer-burned tuna noodle casserole.” *1
Retirement can be the opportunity of a lifetime to achieve so many goals we’ve deferred while building our business, our family, and supporting others. Retirement, finally, is “me time!” Or so say more than one of our retiring clients.
On the other side of the coin, however, retirement can be disappointing, even dangerous. But we do look forward to it. In fact, retirees and pre-retirees optimism is at all-time highs: "82% of polled retirees are optimistic about their ability to live comfortably in retirement, up from 75% last year. The figure closely matches the levels recorded in 2005 and 2017 and is the highest since the survey started in 1990." *2
“Among those who are still working, 67% are confident in their financial prospects during retirement, up from 64% last year. *2
Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of clients plan and achieve successful retirement financial plans. Sometimes, we caution them against retiring too early. The perils of retiring too early are not just financial.
According to one research study, men who retire at age 62 have a 2% greater mortality risk. In a different research study, men in their 60’s who postpone their retirement by five years have a 32% decrease in mortality risk. Improvements for women were less pronounced, but similar: retirement can be hazardous to your life! *3
Retirement may increase the risks of mental decline, of depression, physical decline, and happiness. We often say, instead of retiring from work, we should be retiring into something new. Give thought to who you want to be with, and what you’d like to do, and be wary of the risks of over-eating, too much screen time, and general boredom and malaise. Instead, new work—even unpaid work—positively correlates with a longer, more healthy and happier life.
So, maybe it wouldn’t be too bad to serve the grand-kids freezer-burned leftovers, as long as I get to see them. I still hope for you, and everyone you love, that you’re not in a position where you’re literally counting exact change in the check-out lines. I’m certainly optimistic that technology is improving mobility for retirees—Uber and Lyft are just the beginning—but frozen tuna casserole?
I’ve cooked worse.
1. Older People Used to Seem So Odd. Now I Get It.
2. Workers, Retirees Are Feeling Better About Retirement Finances
3.The Case Against Early Retirement