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Retiring on Purpose

Mike Drak, 3:06 am ET

WHEN I GIVE presentations on retirement, I ask folks about their worries. For pre-retirees, their biggest concern is not having enough money. That’s no surprise. Financial firms spend millions pushing the importance of saving for retirement.

But when I pose the same question to recent retirees, I get a completely different answer. Overwhelmingly, their biggest concern is finding purpose in retirement. Similar results emerge from a recent survey by Age Wave and Edward Jones, which found that 92% of retirees agree that “having purpose is key to a successful retirement.” Indeed, 93% believe “it’s important to feel useful in retirement” and 87% agree that “being useful helps them to feel youthful.”

I’ve always believed that doing work you love and are passionate about can serve as a personal “fountain of youth.” After initially failing miserably at retirement, what I’ve learned is that a successful retirement is much more than a money problem. Instead, it’s a design problem that needs to be solved.

It takes a lot of thought, time and planning to design a sustainable, satisfying retirement that you’ll be happy with for the next 30-plus years. But if you do it right, the payoff is enormous.

Don’t make the same mistake that I made and expect to fall into a happy retirement simply because you’ve accumulated a lot of money. The key to a successful retirement is to figure out exactly what you’ll be retiring to. Prior to retirement, your goal is to identify what your sources of purpose will be and then build a life around that. Do that, and retirement will be pretty good.

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jerry pinkard
jerry pinkard
10 months ago

I totally agree. The key point is what you are retiring to. I was talking to someone about my retirement plans and he wisely asked “what will you do after breakfast everyday?” We sometimes have to search for our purpose and it is very rewarding when we fin it. Good article!

Mike Drak
Mike Drak
10 months ago
Reply to  jerry pinkard

Just wanted to add that finding purpose is what got me out of retirement hell! What I know for sure is that every retiree needs a sense of purpose in their lives and even having a lot of money will never change that.

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