I was waiting for a bus at a stop on Commercial the other day. A gentleman who appeared to be about my age approached and sat down. He clearly wanted to chat. English was not his first language, but we managed well enough.
After some small talk about the weather and buses, he asked me whether I worked or was retired. “Retired,” I beamed. He asked me if I liked being retired and why. I explained that I have been retired for almost a decade, and that I love the lack of schedules, the ability to avoid doing things I didn’t enjoy, the lack of a boss. But what about money, he asked? I told him that, for me, being free and self-managing was a lot better than being rich and under the gun.
He didn’t look convinced. It turns out that he retired just last November and he hasn’t yet gotten used to it. I suspect that though money was an issue, he was much more concerned about lack of structure and lack of regular human contact.
It would be useful for corporations, perhaps, to help train their workers about the non-financial aspects of retirement. I don’t claim to know what that training should include, but over the years I have come across numerous retired workers who seem somewhat lost and confused without the structure and social relationships of a job.
Now that we live so long, retirement can be for decades. To manage that length of time a decent pension is vital, but it is far from the whole enchilada.