Does Your Retired Life Suit Your Personality?
We’ve all seen those pictures of retirees sitting on the beach drinking a fruity cocktail or sailing off into the sunset on their yacht.
But retirement is not one-size-fits-all. There are lots of ways to spend this next portion of your life. If you can identify your retirement personality type, you will be clear on what you want this time to be like on a day-to-day basis. It also influences other factors that go into retirement planning, such as how much money you’ll need and where you will live.
So here are ten basic retirement lifestyle paths a retiree might follow. Which one describes you?
Related: Designing Your Retirement Lifestyle
1. Continuous worker
Some people never retire. They love their work – their colleagues are their friends. Some form of work for pay will remain a part of their life for most of their remaining years. If retired they may stay connected to their former work – say as a consultant or contract work. Or the work may be modified but still on a similar path using previous experience. Perhaps the new job will be in an entirely different field.
A continuous worker may need the money. Or they may crave the structure, social contact, challenge or sense of accomplishment that work brings. Sense of identity comes from the job.
Volunteers share some characteristics with the continuous worker such as the need to feel productive and sense of purpose. But instead of money, they are motivated by a desire to contribute and give back to society.
Volunteering can take many forms. Usually the focus is on a specific social cause such as helping the less fortunate, or a particular interest – docent at museum or helping out at a church picnic.
People who spent their career working just for a good paycheque rather than doing what they are passionate about will look forward to retirement as a time to finally do what they want to.
It may be starting a business, or expressing themselves creatively as an artist, writer or craftsperson, or pursuing a hobby or sport that has always interested them.
Adventurers want to try something entirely new. Often, they want to hit the road and explore the world.
They might purchase a recreational vehicle and travel the country or learn to sail. Perhaps they wish to expand their horizons and hit some out of the way destinations or take part in adventure travel.
Searchers are retirees who are looking for their niche. They try out a variety of new activities during this trial-and-error period to discover their passion. For them, retirement is a time for reinventing themselves and seeking fulfillment. They’ll end up with a new path once they figure out what it will be.
6. Life-long learner
This retirement lifestyle will include taking classes on whatever is of interest and making good use of the local library. For vacations they prefer destinations that have an educational focus, historical importance or will afford them the opportunity to learn about new cultures. It’s important to be engaged with the world.
7. Doting grandparent
Enjoying the family is the greatest priority in the retirement years. These retirees choose to live as close to family as possible. They don’t want to miss out on their grandchildren’s performances, sporting events and birthday parties.
They are happy to babysit and have installed swings and playsets in their backyards. They might organize and sponsor family vacations if they are financially able.
8. Fun seeker
The fun seeker views retirement as a permanent vacation. They look forward to filling each carefree day with recreational activities and entertainment. Their attitude is that they have worked hard all their lives and now it’s time to have fun. They dream of playing golf every day, joining activity clubs and participating in lots of social events.
The best living option for fun seekers might be a seniors-only active retirement community with a golf course, pickle ball courts, a pool and a club house with dozens of organized activities and clubs to choose from. Since all the neighbors will also be retired, it will be easier to find activity partners.
Loafers have decided that retirement is the time to just kick back and relax. They take each day as it comes with no particular activities in mind. For them, the joy of having no schedule and no pressure makes for a stress-free and rewarding life. They are at their happiest when puttering around the house feeling comfortable and content.
They may envision retiring to some beautiful, quiet, idyllic place like a beach, tropical island or cabin in the mountains or by a lake where the environment will be relaxed and serene.
Related: Managing Your Time in Retirement
Retreaters disengage from their previous routines. This style is common at first, but it can become a problem if kept up too long. They may become couch potatoes doing nothing but watch TV all day.
With nothing worthwhile to occupy them, retreater often become socially disconnected and depressed.
Own your new identity
Of course, whatever your personality, your retirement path won’t always be in a straight line. You may see yourself in more than one of these categories and will no doubt change your path down the road as your retirement progresses.
If you’re a couple, it’s important to compare your retirement personality with that of your partner to ensure you both have compatible visions.
Let go of what you used to do. Think of yourself in new terms and embrace what you’re doing. Retirement will be pursued in your own unique way. It’s no surprise that the happiest retired folks are involved in a variety of activities.
Where do you think you fit in?