Retirement is one of the most anticipated but least prepared for times of life. Everyone assumes they will do it. But most have no idea how exactly that is supposed to happen. Even if money is not the issue, many who make it to retirement find themselves adrift, not knowing quite what to do with all that time.
It can be counterproductive to retire too young. In fact, many experts suggest retiring too young is a bad idea. Some even suggest that the best way to die young is to retire early. There is some truth to that. But there is certainly more to the story.
If you are financially secure, you could be tempted to dump your job at 55. However, that means you will need to fill 30 or more years. The way most people fill a 30-year timespan is to work in their chosen career and make as much money as they can. Another motivator is to make the last payment of a mortgage. Take away those incentives and it can be hard to know what to do. Here are some options:
Raise Money for Charity
Pick up one of those customized tents like the eye-catching booths at a major trade show. Then go to shows and events where you can set up and raise awareness and money for your favorite cause. This is one of the noblest things you can do with your retirement years.
You are clearly an expert at making money. The most deserving charities generally aren’t. Those charities that have the greatest need are the ones who can most benefit from your expertise. You don’t have to be a general. You can be a foot soldier. Anything you can do will be of benefit.
Working for a charity, or even starting a new one is particularly beneficial for retirees because it satisfies the need for a meaningful pursuit. Everyone wants to feel like they are contributing. Everything you do for a charitable cause is worthwhile, not only in feeling but in fact.
Blog Your Adventures
Retirement does not mean you have to go home. Instead, you could go big. You have earned the money. Live largely. Travel the world without ever visiting the same place twice. Make a world map of every sushi place worth visiting. Go on a search for the world’s best sandwich. Be as eccentric as you are rich. Just do the world a favor and blog all of your adventures, and misadventures.
There are plenty of people who will be inspired by what you do and learn. There is a real benefit in travel that most people will never get to experience first-hand. But they can still experience the world vicariously. You can show people parts of the world they will never be able to visit and introduce them to people they would never meet on their own.
You will also expand as a person by traveling. Perhaps you did your fair share of business travel. But you will find that the world is a very different place when you are not a power broker. Find more of your humanity by traveling. And help others find theirs in the process.
We do not have enough teachers with real-world experience. Your knowledge and experience are far more valuable than your stock portfolio. Don’t just pass that treasure trove of information to your children. Share it with as much of the rest of the world as you can. You can benefit some part of the world by raising money for charities. You can travel the world and benefit from the places you visit by spending lots of money. But you can combine all three by starting a charity that allows you to travel the world and teach some needed skill everywhere you go.
That is the hat trick of retirement success. Help as many as you can. Have as much fun as you can. And teach something useful to everyone you meet along the way.