According to a 2014 Report, Aging, Longevity. Nine Landmark Studies: Work in Retirement Myths and Motivations, p. 9 (produced by AgeWave, supported by Merrill Lynch), most pre-retirees do not aspire to go directly from pre-retirement work to retirement. Thirty-seven percent of pre-retirees prepare for retirement. Over 50 percent take a break from working for about two and a half years to “relax, recharge, and retool.” Then, on average, reengagement lasts about nine years.
The report states that there are four stages of Retirement:
Phase 1: Pre-Retirement (5 years)
Phase 2: Career Intermission (2 1/2 years)
Phase 3: Reengagement (9 years)
Phase 4: Leisure
Whether they return to work in some fashion for financial reasons, because they are achievement oriented or workaholics, or because they are service-oriented, most choose a more fulfilling type of work that gives them flexibility, more fun and less stress. They are more open to trying something new. If they stayed in the same line of work it was because they are good at what they do. They are much more likely than younger folks to own their own business or be self-employed.
The report suggests that pre-retires get started planning the next step before they retire, talk with their spouse or partner how how to balance work with other concerns, develop technology skills, discuss with employer how to continue working on a more flexible basis, and other options, consult with a financial planner to determine whether you want to start a business or work for yourself, consider health challenges, and understand how working can affect Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits.
Don’t feel badly about yourself if you skipped the first phase (Pre-Retirement Planning) , accept where you are and move forward. You may be like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and continue to be motivated to work for social service or other reasons (such as financial need or love what you do) into your 80s or even 90s. By exploring possibilities of what you want to do in the future in board games such as Who You Are MATTERS!, by volunteering in groups such as Creative Aging SF, and start-up non-profits such as Corte Madera’s Age-Friendly Intergenerational Center, by continuing to work as a part-time consultant in your areas of expertise and interest, by setting family as a priority, by focussing on overall wellness, maybe taking up hobbies, Pre-Retirement Planning and Career Intermission can be fun, creative, and meaningful, at least it has been for me.