Bored in Retirement? Find Your Essential Self, For Starters

Seventy-eight million strong and hitting this artificial finish line of 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, boomers everywhere are beginning to discover that retirement, as we’ve known it for decades, needs redefining.

More than a few people enjoy their first few months of retirement and then find themselves unbelievably bored. With no daily routine and no purpose, they find the dramatic shift from “labor-to-leisure” tiresome, as reported in the article “How to Avoid Becoming a ‘Bored Boomer’ in Retirement” from Next Avenue. The traditional idea of retirement as a time to do very little, when you are still mentally and physically capable of doing anything, is being challenged by a generation that has so far changed every stage of living.

A study from the Federal Reserve in 2016 found that a third of retirees eventually consider retirement and return to work, some on a full-time and others on a part-time basis. Another study from the Rand Corporation, found that 39% of workers 65 or older who were employed had tried retirement, but didn’t care for it and decided to go back to work.

What’s behind this trend? Some of it has to do with a focus on the financial side of retirement, leaving out the planning for what life in retirement will look like. It turns out that the “soft-side” of retirement requires just as much planning as the money part.

Here’s the sad thing: the first part of retirement is usually when people are at their physical and mental best. Spending five to 10 years figuring out the mental, physical, social and spiritual challenges of retirement that could have been discussed, explored, and planned while still working, is too much time to lose at this later stage of life.

Some key issues:

  • A loss of identity, if what you do has always been who you are.
  • Spouses who find themselves wanting to pursue completely different agendas.
  • Boredom because of lack of social engagement.
  • Depression and physical deterioration, because of reduced activity and no sense of purpose.

How to undo the “bored boomer” syndrome?

Find your “essential self.” What did you love when you were 6, 8 or 10 years old? What did you want to do, before parents, schools and financial obligations got in the way? Bored boomers can redefine who they are and what their greater purpose is. What is your essential self? What are you passionate about? What skills can you use to bring about greater good?

Reintegrate yourself. You have decades of experience, skills, insight and knowledge. What could your second career do to combine all of this with your essential self?

Start a lifestyle business. What does that mean? A lifestyle business is a business that gives you a level of income, freedom to work when and where you want and is not set in any physical location. That includes coaching and consulting, services like web design or graphic services, freelancing sales in your prior industry, etc.

Retirement hasn’t been about playing shuffleboard and taking naps for a while. However, expect it to change even more in the coming decades, as boomers transform this next phase of their lives.

Reference: Next Avenue (Feb. 5, 2019) “How to Avoid Becoming a ‘Bored Boomer’ in Retirement”

Suggested Key Terms: Baby Boomers, Retirement, Social Engagement, Second Career

About the author

Bob Brumfield

Attorney Bob Brumfield has been practicing law since 1984 and regularly receives the “Top Lawyers in California” award as well as the “Client Distinction” and “Client Champion” awards from Martindale-Hubbell.

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