TO RETIRE OR NOT TO RETIRE: THAT IS THE QUESTION
PART ONE: THE RETIREMENT PLUSSES—LEAVE NOW!
Family First— I am a lucky lucky lady with two wonderful daughters and spouses and FOUR grandkids, who are young enough to still believe that I walk on water. Now that is pretty awesome stuff. And while working, when I go to see them all in Washington DC, I arrive on Friday at 6 PM and then wake up at the crack of dawn on Monday morning so that I can take the 6 AM ACELA and can get to work in NYC by a little after 9. Pretty insane. Instead, what about being there during the week and picking them up at school or taking them out to some fun activity on school days off? Am I an imbecile for not being there as much as possible during this incredibly wonderful time of their lives? And furthermore, I do know that this blissful period doesn’t last forever—blink and you miss all the good stuff….and I’m sorry but doing that would be a cardinal sin. Let’s get real!
Second—there’s the fact of being offered a seat on the subway at 8 am in the morning when all the millennials and Gen Xers are going to work with me. Really…do I look like “the elderly” to you people? I mean, I’m fit, just worked out at 6 am, am not too wrinkled and don’t dress like an old lady. So, why do you people insist on making me feel old? Solution—Don’t ride the subway at commuting times, and I’ll be riding with people of my generation and I’ll look younger than they do and no one will offer me a seat and I’ll feel young! Score!!!!
Third—Working always means having to deal with Office Politics. Think about how many people you have to be nice to during any business day…and what percentage of those people would you be nice to if you didn’t have to? I mean, don’t you just want to say to some of them: “ If I never saw you again, it would be too soon. I think that the way you treat people qualifies you to be a charter member of the people I don’t respect club.” But, of course, that’s not the way we can behave…if we want to keep our jobs. So, we flatter, cajole, joke and act respectful to everyone…and we keep those ugly thoughts way back in our subconscious. But wait! What if if I never have to deal with them ever again???? Admittedly, I don’t have that many of them in my work life. So, I’ve labelled those outliers, the “others”….like those Lost weird people. But really, what if I could spend time ONLY WITH PEOPLE I LIKED. What a concept? And at my age, don’t I deserve that? Why must I continue to put up with those few people who disrespect me? And really…they were probably still in grade school when I was graduating first in my class from business school. Eureka!!! If I retire I DON’T HAVE TO PUT WITH THAT!!! It’s like Danny Glover said in Lethal Weapon: ”I am too old to put up with this shit!!!”
Fourth—At my age, do I REALLY have to fill out a time sheet??? Yup, that’s just the rules, from the CEO on down. In practical terms, this means that I have ZERO…count it NO flexibility to take most of those trips that I really want to go on. Admittedly, I have friends who have jobs with much more flexibility, so they can have their cake and eat it too. But sadly…that’s not my job. And honestly, I’ve got a long bucket list and I shudder to think how I’d feel if there wasn’t enough time in my life to take all those trips. It would be incredibly STUPID to overstay work without enough free time to enjoy everything I want to do. And I am not STUPID… so, I say to myself… do the math and you’ll see that you’d better get out now and do the stuff you want to do while you are really healthy. It’s not like your planned end of life at over 100 is guaranteed….no matter how lucky you are….
Fifth— I hate to admit this…and those who work with me will frown when I say this…I am just not that into this work stuff any more. Sort of like Miranda on Sex and the City talking about guys who didn’t call back: ”They’re just not that into you”, she advised her young friend. Well……Work…”I’m just not that into you!!!” I have done what I do for almost 35 years and …I do know how to do it…( despite the opinion of those few people in the paragraph above who don’t respect me.) I’m good at what I do, my clients think I’m pretty terrific…(if you doubt that, let me send you some of their emails after I announced I was leaving). And I could keep doing what I’m doing, and then learn about some new investment vehicles and talk with clients about the benefits and risks. But hey, it’s just another product and the markets are getting ridiculous and today’s mantra is ETF…so why bother?
I have friends in this business who continue to love their job..but if I am totally honest with myself, that’s just not ME. Work has always been a means to an end. (No need to go into a discussion of those ends here). But the point is that Work doesn’t define me. WORK IS WHAT I DO. WORK IS NOT WHO I AM. So, my dear…perhaps you can walk away from this work persona, because hopefully there is another person inside. And if you’re not so turned on by the day to day work, why bother, right? And for the people I worked with who might be reading this, I’m sorry to admit my sort of lack of interest and I say to you… please don’t disrespect me for this. OH WAIT…it doesn’t matter if you respect me or not, because I don’t work with you any more!!!
And then let’s return to that bucket list again. Travel is definitely on it. But to be honest, I am not exactly certain what else it on it. Why? Well…if you’ve got a job that doesn’t limit itself to 8 hours a day, involves a lot of travel, and you’ve raised two kids, you’re responsible for all your own financial planning and existence and no one else does it all for you, you manage two homes…etc etc. etc…I ask you, when do you have time to figure out what you want to do next? You’re so busy just doing what you do and you just don’t have the time to look into the future. HMMMM…that’s quite an admission. So, why not find the time to look at what you want to do and why. Like writing this…which is great fun!!!