One of the things that I find interesting is how much retirement conversation is starting to creep into everyday life. And not because I’m talking about this on Unretirement Project. I’m hearing more people talk about retirement at conferences, etc.
On some level, I figured retirement would be something only discussed among people who are retired or very close to retirement age. And it would only be discussed in the context of simply not working anymore. But that’s not the case. Retirement conversations are happening with people of all ages. This is a good thing. We’re starting to demystify retirement. But that also means it’s opening our eyes to what the future holds – both the good and the challenging.
If you have a moment, I would recommend watching author Elizabeth White’s TED talk on the personal finance crisis. Because it has a direct bearing on retirement. And the notion of unretirement.
Regardless of where you are in your unretirement journey, I thought White’s talk had a few harsh realities we will eventually need to face.
- Being the first to “unretire” will be hard. Being the first at anything is hard. There are no rules or best practices. That’s one of the reasons we’ve started this blog. Hopefully along the way, we can document some of the great things people are doing and be helpful to future unretirees. But it’s important to keep in mind that we’re one of the first and we will need to use our past experiences to help us along the way.
- We will have to change. In her TED talk, White tells us that we need to “Get off our thrones.” We’ve always known that retirement would be a change. But the question becomes how much. Make no mistake unretirement will be a change too. Even though unretirement is designed to ease our transition, that doesn’t mean it eliminates change.
- We will need to develop a new relationship with money. Speaking of change, one of the biggest changes we will have to make is with money. In fact, it might extend to all of our resources. How we budget and spend our resources will change. We will need to prioritize our needs and wants. Many of us already know this, but we haven’t had to live it yet. It’s one thing to discuss “tightening the purse strings” and another to do it.
- Think retirement strategy, not money failure. So much of retirement is caught up in finances, I think it’s important to realize there are other aspects to retirement. Our retirement strategy includes quality of life, our health, etc. This could relate to money in terms of “Do I spend money on a trip or a pergola for the backyard?” Ultimately, we have to understand what’s important to us to develop a good retirement strategy.
I’m really excited that conversations about retirement and unretirement are more frequent. It tells me that people are planning for retirement as a new beginning. Because that’s what it can be. If we plan for it.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of San Francisco, CA