I’m Worried I Won’t Like Retirement. Here’s What I’m Doing About That.

I know a lot of people around my age who are still decades away from retirement but can’t wait for that milestone to arrive. But I’ve always worried that retirement is not something I’ll enjoy.

I’m the sort of person who likes being busy. Can I manage the occasional couch potato day? Sure. But does the idea of spending days on end in front of the TV excite me? Not at all.

Now to be clear, I’m not trying to imply that that’s what retirement is all about. But the reality is that I enjoy working not just for the financial benefit, but also, the mental benefit. And I also like having some structure to my days.

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As such, I’m taking these concerns into account in the course of my retirement planning. Here’s what I’m doing about them.

1. Saving aggressively

I dread the idea of retiring and winding up bored. And while there are plenty of things I like to do (think hiking, reading, and so forth) that don’t cost money, I also know I’ll probably need a decent-sized nest egg to help ensure that I’m able to keep busy.

That’s why I’m aggressively funding my retirement savings now. As a freelance writer, I’m able to contribute to a solo 401(k), which means I can put in more than the $20,500 I’d otherwise be limited to based on my age for a regular 401(k) plan.

I’m also pushing myself to earn as much as I can now so that I’m able to save as much as possible. When you work on a freelance basis, you can sometimes choose to give up downtime and take on extra projects. That’s something I’ve taken to in recent years, and a big reason is that I have very aggressive savings goals that I want to meet.

2. Planning to continue working in some capacity

These days, I work on a full-time basis, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As a retiree, I don’t intend to plug away at my desk for 40 hours a week. But I do hope to continue working in some capacity.

Part-time work could give me the structure I need to anchor my days. And, since I get satisfaction from my work, I feel that the mental benefit could be just as important as the financial one, if not more so.

Retirement isn’t for everyone

I know some people who are enjoying their retirement to the fullest. And I know other people who retired, hated it, and went back to work because they couldn’t handle all of that downtime.

You may not know which camp you’ll end up falling into until you get there. But I know myself pretty well, and I can already see myself growing dissatisfied in the absence of some work and a pretty busy schedule. So rather than pretend that retirement will magically work out and be wonderful, I’m taking steps to tackle those concerns. And if you feel similarly about retirement, you should do the same.

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