Not Retiring, Again

Next year I will push back my retirement again, for the second or third time. When I was 50, being 62, 65 or 70 sounded so old. The plan was to retire on schedule like my friends, but each time I reached the designated age, it seemed too early. Too soon. Too risky. Ya know, retirement is dangerous. No one comes back alive.

I’m blessed with a job I enjoy; it’s interesting and important. It is not taxing physically and the pay is good. So, why stop if no one is making me? What else would I do? I don’t play golf, I enjoy travel less than I used to, and find the demands of getting up and at it each day to be healthful.

There’s longevity risk. How long is long and how much savings will be enough? What will Medicare and Social Security look like in 10 years? What, what, what? If, if, if. And I tack on anther 5 years and continue.

This is happening a lot with Boomers today, working longer into ‘retirement age’. Some, out of desire to continue meaningful employment. For others, the need to make up for a life of immediate gratification. I fall into both categories.

Does this mean I’m still booking 60 hours a week? No. While I look forward to getting at it each day, I’m no longer interested in being the top gun. Someone else can win the cruise or get the steak knives. It’s enough to do things right, take pride in accomplishments, and feel like I’m making a positive difference in people’s lives.

Evening appointments requiring night driving went away a few years ago. Plowing through snow storms on slippery roads has been set aside. Working weekends or checking emails during dinner, not so much anymore.

Is this slowing down? No, it’s smartening up. Working wiser instead of harder. Taking time for a relaxed lunch, maybe visiting thrift shops or state parks along my drive, stopping at a prescribed hour each day, longer weekends, shorter work days. I gave up multi-tasking and settle for making my mistakes one at a time. Pacing. Pacing is all.

Part of the pace is learning new stuff, which is great! Of course, there is the computer; everything is on the internet now. What worked yesterday is obsolete tomorrow. There is much to learn and I learn more slowly. Where a younger person might need an hour, I’m struggling for three or four. Learning takes longer, but goes in deeper. Discovering new possibilities and processes continues to be exciting.

Beyond that is new programs, rules that change endlessly, and discovering ways to achieve better results for clients. I’d miss this stuff. The challenges are invigorating. While I hear younger folks complaining of almost constant change, it is part of what attracted me to working with retirees and continues to keep things fresh and new.

So, I’m not retiring, again. Moved it out to 75 and by the grace of God, I may be pushing it out again after that.

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About the author

Scott Funk has specialized in Home Equity Conversion Mortgage reverse mortgages for over a decade. He is a recognized Aging in Place advocate in his home state of Vermont. His monthly newspaper column Aging in Place has run for 7 years in 24 papers around the state. Scott is brings a lighthearted approach to his talks on Boomers, retirement and aging on purpose.