To Retire, or NOT???
A few months ago, an acquaintance and I were discussing his future plans. He was about to leave the military, and we were discussing good companies that he should apply to for employment. One of those companies had fantastic benefits, including a great retirement plan and I pointed it out. They had a significant 401k match, higher than most I’ve seen. He told me, “That doesn’t matter to me. I will never retire. I’m going to work till I die.” I was stunned and just kinda stared at him for a minute before we moved onto another topic.
Just this week, I had a similar conversation with a friend. “I don’t want to retire. Ever.” Say, whaaa?! Who wants to work until they die? Not me.
Why do you think people don’t want to retire, but work until they drop? I suppose some associate it with staying at home with nothing to do. Maybe people don’t like to think of their last decades on earth. I guess that makes sense. Maybe people like to feel like they are contributing to something? Aren’t there other ways to feel like a contributing member of society than sitting in a cubicle? Wouldn’t you rather spend your last years ANYWHERE else but work?
To me, retirement isn’t vegging around the house. Its FREEDOM. Freedom from sitting in a cubicle. Freedom from meetings (I hate meetings). Freedom from work drama (omg, people…..so much drama). Freedom to chose how I will spend my time and who I will spend it with. Freedom to start a hobby. Freedom to live where I want. Honestly, there are so many freedoms.
I don’t know how it happened, but a few years ago, I became obsessed with retirement. Probably because I read several articles like this that scared me. So many people who weren’t prepared for future. I didn’t want to be one of them. I started reading articles about saving more money for retirement, listening to podcasts on the topic, and subscribed to at least one newsletter. I slowly started contributing more and more to my 401k, adding just a little bump in contribution for every promotion. I would log into my retirement account constantly just to watch the balance to up or down (still do). Because of my age, I started moving my investments out of bonds and “safe” retirement funds, to ones that were slightly riskier and had better returns. I even followed retirement gurus on twitter! Even though my 60s were far away, I knew that starting early was important.
The Next Step
While saving for retirement is important, there are other things that we need to do to set ourselves up for a happy and secure rest-of-our-lives. In December 2016, my husband and I sat down to discuss our financial future and what our goals were for 2017. We decided that saving for retirement was only one aspect of our plan. We want to pay off all of our debt. We want to have enough saved in case one of us loses our job. We even want to start saving for early retirement.
What are your thoughts? Do you look forward to retirement or do you want to work forever? Do you feel that thinking about retirement earlier in life is important?