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Monday, July 15, 2024

Retirement Redesigned

HomeThe Weekly ResetWhy Retirees Should Take A Day Off

Why Retirees Should Take A Day Off

This post is a duplication of our newsletter, The Weekly Reset, where we review a key theme each week. In the spotlight this week: Why Retirees Should Take A Day Off. Will you still take a day or two of during retirement?

A note from Johann

Why You Need A Retirement Occupation

And find balance by taking time off

It may sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t. Working at something in retirement doesn’t have to be like your job. There is a temptation for newly confirmed retirees to relish the unstructured time lying before them. No more regular meetings, no more deadlines, and no more corporate politics. Just endless free time to do with it what you feel like. The trouble is that without a plan in place, unguided free time catches up with you in due course. Before you know it, what was once pleasurable can be bad for your health – both mental and physical.

So how do you create a retirement occupation? A routine is one important element. The best way to do it is to mimic your time in formal employment but with a more relaxed schedule. Many advisors will tell you that the key to a good retirement is to stay active, get regular exercise, eat carefully, and maintain a busy social life. These are all well-known pieces of advice. Most importantly, you also need something that will give your life meaning.

We all draw meaning from unique elements and in different ways. It can be a part-time involvement in work, or a charitable project linked to your qualification. The key is that you need a focus and a goal. We call it a retirement occupation because we challenge you to account for what you will do in retirement and how you will occupy your time.

Being busy with your retirement occupation also creates the opportunity to take time off from that routine – similar to a weekend, though in retirement you can choose your own schedule. This regular rhythm creates a satisfying lifestyle balance where time off is restful and not unstructured grey time.


Our top pick this week:

The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Man sitting on lounge chair relaxing
Image as featured in article by Wharton

“You’re excited about retirement, right? You’ve worked hard for, what, four or five decades now? You’re due. No more early alarm. No more meetings. No more deadlines. No more office politics. Can you believe it? It’s just you – out on the links; puttering in the garden; taking care of your grandkids. It’s going to be great.”

Except, what if it’s not as you pictured? What if those things you’ve looked forward to all these years – more time for your hobbies, more time to travel and more time to relax – aren’t enough to sustain you? What then?

Even soon-to-be retirees with big plans for the next chapter of their lives often harbor big doubts about what comes next, according Stewart Friedman, practice professor of management at Wharton and founding director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project. “The questions people ask at earlier stages of life become more profound at these later stages,” he says. “Am I living the life I want to live? What is most important to me? Who is most important to me?” You see the end, and so you think about what you want to do with the time that you have remaining. There is the question of: now what?

“There’s often a combination of excitement and anxiety as people approach retirement. The excitement comes from having more free time, but the anxiety comes from figuring out how much I can afford to spend? And what will I do with all that time?”

Aging well and gracefully in retirement may be the goal, but getting there is often the challenge. After all, it can be traumatic to leave the working world – particularly if your self-concept is wrapped up in your job. You might feel a loss of importance and a loss of vitality; you may grieve the loss of friendships. “A lot of people get their identity from work and they get their social interaction from work, so the idea of stopping means they’re going to lose both,: says Peter Cappelli, professor of management at Wharton and the director of the school’s Center for Human Resources. “[You need to] respect that it’s going to be a huge loss.”

“If you’re getting close to that part of your life and you don’t know what you’re going to do, treat is as a worrying sign,” he adds. “Don’t assume it’s going to be OK and that it’s all going to work out. Figure this out now. Get busy.”

The first step is self-reflection. Start by doing a realistic assessment of what you enjoy about your job and what you stand to lose by retiring. On the one hand, you may feel ready to leave the working world, but on the other hand, as the reality of retirement takes hold, you may feel restless and uncertain.”

Click here to read the article on Knowledge @ Wharton

Our Spotlight video:

Why Retirees should take one day off per week

Every week we highlight a topic relevant to retirement and our third chapter of life. This week our spotlight was on why retirees should take one day off per week. It is important for us to stay active and productive in retirement to avoid atrophy of our spirit, mind and body. To do this effectively we can still punctuate our routine with real rest time rather than the constant fallow time traditionally associated with retirement.

Spotlight of the week

Other highlights for the week:

9 Resources to Help You Move From Languishing to Flourishing

Woman holding a bushel of flowers
Images as featured in original article by Happiful

“In the article we learn that mental health is seen on a spectrum in the psychology world, ranging from depression to flourishing. Described as ‘the neglected middle child of mental health’, the term languishing is used when we don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but we’re also not as mentally healthy as we could be.”

There’s a name for the blah you’re feeling: It’s called languishing.”

Putting a name to how we feel and shining awareness on it is the first step. The next step is to make a plan of action to help bring you closer to flourishing.

When we’re in flow, we feel absorbed in a meaningful challenge. Time slips away and we feel utterly present. This concept, outlined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, is described as being a possible antidote to languishing. So how can we find our flow?

Click here to read the article on Happiful

Weekly Poll

Do you actively plan for the lifestyle choices you’ll need to make in retirement?

Click here to answer the question in our Facebook group

Last week’s poll: Will you keep taking a day or two off per week in retirement?

Last week’s findings: Our poll found that 86% of people who answered will keep taking a day or two off per week in retirement.

Most Popular Post of the Week

Get a job in Retirement. It’ll help your Wealth – and Your Health

Click here to read the article on Barrons

Most Popular Quote of the Week

“The minute you begin to do what you really want to do, it’s a really different kind of life.” R. Buckminster Fuller

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"The minute you begin to do what you really want to do, it's a really different kind of life." - Quote by R. Buckminster Fuller
Quote by R. Buckminster Fuller

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Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.