I have always been fascinated by lists of rules. They usually tell you what you cannot do and often there are several rules I had never even thought about doing! Check out the picture I posted at the end of this article of Hyde Park London boating rules.
The retirement “rules” that I had often thought marked the typical retirement were pretty simple in a lot of respects. They usually started with retire at 65 and retirement activities usually meant some hobby, travel, moving to a warmer climate if you are from the frozen tundra, and spoiling grandchildren. Life expectancies in this stereotypical retirement meant that you may only have 3 to 10 years to do these activities.
Today the rules do not apply. Life expectancies are longer, people are retiring earlier and while you don’t know how many days are ahead of you, they could easily be double or triple the historical retirement span. There are also an infinite set of possibilities for retirement and I have been thinking, praying, and journaling extensively as a way to discover what retirement will mean for me.
Rules are often meant to reduce risk in some way. I remember an Amtrak trip I took several years ago and there was an extensive oratory given by the conductor on the rules on the train. Most of them seemed to be focused on risk reduction or safety, although again some like opening the window and sticking my arm out “which could be cut off by a sign or tree branch” had never entered my mind as a good idea anyway. In my pre-retirement career, I have been a frequent flier on airlines and most of the rules are focused on getting you to your destination safely. Yet in the new retirement, it strikes me that this is the time to take some risks.
Retirement for some may be a time to review risk in your investment portfolio but to re-risk your life. If there is ever a time to pursue your passions, give back, put a dream into action, there is no other “now” than now. Throughout my 30 year career, I have had to continually reinvent myself as I had taken on new responsibilities, dealt with new challenges and navigated a new environment, and I don’t see this reinvention changing just because I am embarking on a new stage of life. Reinventing yourself can be exciting, it can lead to personal growth, and it can give you tremendous energy. This is not the time to be bound by rules, but to create your own path forward and that is what I am working on now.
Throw out the rules!
A Boomer in Transition