Overview: Co-authors Alan Spector and Keith Lawrence wrote Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement based on a decade of research and interviews with more than 200 retirees. The following article, an excerpt from their book, sets the stage for answering important retirement planning questions.
As you make your planning choices, you will be answering many of the key questions most retirees have.
- How will I spend my time?
- What will I do to replace the intellectual stimulation, daily structure, relationships, and sense of purpose that I have or had in the workplace?
- How will I redefine myself in retirement?
- How can I make the many choices in front of me?
- How can I take advantage of all of the opportunities?
Our suggested approach to answering most retirement questions is to look at the question holistically, in a way that takes all of the key elements into account. It is on this basis that we will guide you through an approach to putting your plan together. Let us look at an example of a question we frequently hear, “Should I be working after I retire?”
This is a great question, especially considering two sets of facts. First, the 2006 Merrill Lynch New Retirement Survey showed that 71 percent of Baby Boomers anticipate working in some capacity in retirement; two-thirds of those in different kinds of jobs than those of their primary career. Second, while it may be difficult to believe so in the current job market, some estimates indicate that there will be a labor shortage in the United States before 2020. Many of these jobs will be in the social sector, including health, education, government, and non-profits. It would not be surprising if supply and demand brought baby boomer retirees and work opportunities together in some capacity.
While the question of whether or not to work in retirement seems relatively straightforward, there are many factors to consider:
- Do I need to earn money or receive health insurance benefits to ensure my financial security once I am no longer in my primary career? (financial security)
- Should I find a part-time job to help replace some of the things my career provided me — camaraderie, intellectual stimulation, a sense of purpose? (connectedness, growth, purpose/values)
- Will a part-time job help ease my transition from working full time into the new phase of my life? (stages of retirement)
- Is there a job that I should be doing that better matches the things I am passionate about? (passions)
- Would it be best for me to be spending my time working versus volunteering? (giving back)
- What impact might working have on others in my life? (connectedness)
As noted, these questions relate to many of the key elements of a fulfilling retirement. The answer to “Should I be working after I retire?” can be best answered, therefore, by holistically considering the effect on each of the key elements.
While it may not seem so initially, the working-in-retirement question is similar to the question, “Where should I live when I retire?” What is the similarity? This is another example of an important question that can best be answered by holistically considering multiple key elements. With regards to the location choice, here is a sampling of considerations:
- Do I need to reduce my living expenses to be financially secure? For example, should I downsize from my home to a smaller condominium? Should I move from the expensive city where I live to one with a lower cost of living? Should I sell my house and choose to rent? (financial security)
- Do I want to be closer to family or friends to be more connected? For example, should I move to be closer to my grandchildren? Should I move to be closer to my aging and ailing parents to provide them the support they need? (connectedness)
- Do I need to change location for health and well-being reasons? For example, should I move to a warmer climate where it is easier to stay active and fit? (well-being)
- Should I move to a location that allows me to more readily pursue my passions? For example, should I move to a lake community because I love boating? Should I move to Florida to be able to play golf year-round? Should I live part of the year in one location and part in another to meet my needs? (passions)
The working in retirement and location questions are but two examples of the choices you have in front of you. With your knowledge of the key elements, you will find you will be able to readily sort through opportunities to consider your options holistically and, as a result, make better choices.
About This Article
A special word of thanks to authors Alan Spector and Keith Lawrence for sharing this excerpt with us. Alan Spector is the retired Director of Worldwide Quality Assurance for the Procter & Gamble Company, author of four books, and a management/quality assurance consultant for companies and nonprofits. Keith Lawrence is the retired Director of Human Resources for the Procter & Gamble Company and Founder and President of Sustaining Success Solutions, consulting with major companies worldwide. They co-founded LifeScape Solutions™ to conduct retirement life planning seminars for experienced employees of companies, clients and prospective clients of financial advisors, and faculty, staff, and alumni of universities. For more about Your Retirement Quest, go to
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