Sophomore Year Retirement Blues

Sophomore Year Retirement Blues

“Freedom FROM is only relevant if there is a Freedom TO.”

I recently asked a prospective client, let’s call him Joe, “What are you going to do when you retire?” It’s a standard question that’s usually met with a standard answer. “That’s easy. I’m going to sit on the beach, do a little traveling, maybe spend some time with the kids and grandkids. Anything but this.” This being burnout from over two years of pandemic-educed overtime and stress working as a critical care physician, a career he’s enjoyed for more than twenty years.

Such a perspective is common among many of our clients. Retirement is viewed as an escape from adult troubles and a return to simpler times, free of worry and responsibility. Indeed, many recent retirees spend time on travel, home remodeling, visiting kids, and revisiting forgotten hobbies. 

Unfortunately, most clients are done, bored, or lonely after a year or two. A surprising number return to work on a reduced work schedule. In short, they fail at retirement

On the other hand, consider the story of Richard (not his real name, of course). Richard retired after a long career and promptly signed up for cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu in France, where he purchased an apartment, enrolled in language lessons, and arranged to live there three months a year for five years while he pursued his certificates. He successfully relocated to Tampa for warmer weather, joined a local pickleball league and a dining club, and became active in several retiree groups. 

What’s the difference between Joe and Richard? 

One had a vision and a plan, whereas the other wanted to run away to anywhere. Richard thought about how he would rebuild his friend network, engage in intellectual pursuits, create a new schedule, and find ways to stay informed. 

So what should you do? The following questions may help you start thinking about retirement more constructively: 

  • What are you going to do during your second year in retirement? 
  • What is your sample weekly schedule? Create a seven-by-three grid, fill out a typical week for what you might do morning, afternoon, and evening. 
  • Who will you hang out with now that some of your work friends are no more? 
  • What will you do to stay intellectually stimulated? What hobbies, interests, or activities will you pursue? 
  • Where do you see yourself living? Consider the cost of living, health care, culture, housing, security, and ease of travel. 

If you answer these questions, let us know, and we would be happy to help you figure out how to turn your dreams into reality. 

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