Is Retirement All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

After ‘ËœThe Great Recession’ there’s been a lot of talk about the baby-boomers putting off retirement or having to forego it completely. While this may be devastating to some, looking around me at certain people I know who are nearing retirement age, I wonder if it’s not a good thing. I don’t say this out of cruelty, but I sometimes wonder just what these people would be doing with their spare time without work. To be frank about it, with no real hobbies or interests, it seems like they would be doing a whole lot of nothing or just waiting around to die.

While in our mind’s eye, retirement might mean one thing, once people get there, many of them might find that retirement is not be all it’s cracked up to be. Before we get all bent out of shape about not being able to leave the workforce as soon as we’d like, maybe we should consider that continuing to work might actually be good for us.


Before leaving the regular workforce to venture out on my own as a self-employed individual, I took many of the benefits that come with regular employment for granted. I think that many of us who have remained in employer-based roles for a substantial amount of time suddenly wake up one day once those perks are gone and realize that they really were nice things to have.

When I worked in the hotel business, not only did I received the typical benefits of an employer sponsored healthcare plan, a retirement plan, paid vacation, and sick days, but there were also extras. I had free downtown parking, could go to NBA basketball games with everything comped (food and drinks included), and received free daily lunches cooked by the hotel kitchen.

Many jobs have perks that we just become accustomed to until they are gone. And missing such benefits can hit home hard once you’ve retired.

Continued Security

With the loss of a regular and often substantial income may come the stress of the financial unknown. Sure, there may be things like social security, a retirement or pension fund, and similar incomes streams, but they may not provide the same buying power as a previous and regular income.

When I moved into the world of self-employment, I quickly realized the stress that comes without that bi-weekly paycheck. We often become accustomed to such security and it can make for nice peace of mind. Retirement can eliminate this security, and while it can replace some of a previous income, might not replace it all, making for stressful golden years.

Avoiding Boredom

While we may not realize it at the time — and might hate to admit it if we do — some of our closest friends and associates may be found in the workplace. Without them, we could be left with a sense of emptiness in our lives. Not only this, but many people need a sense of purpose, and without some semblance of order and structure, may be left to stare at the television or read the paper, which only gets a person so far.

Leaving the workforce for greener pastures as I did when I moved into the freelance world — or as you might do in retirement — can bring the good with the bad. If you’re prepared for having lots of time on your hands and have hobbies or plans at the ready, it might not be that much of a shock. However, even the busiest and most organized of people can find boredom scratching at the door when the schedule of regular employment disappears, so being prepared can help keep ennui at bay.

More From This Contributor:

Expecting an Inheritance to Fund Your Retirement?

The Little Things That Can Add Up in Retirement

Getting a Spouse on the Same Retirement Planning Page


The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. For financial advice, readers should consult a licensed financial advisor. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.