What does retirement mean to you?
As much of our population of Boomers ages, this word comes up often in conversations, in both personal friendships as well as with clients. When? Will you?? What do you intend to do IN retirement, i.e., what does the rest of your life hold?
The word retire came about in the 1530s, from the Middle French “retirer” which means to retreat, to withdraw, especially to some place private. In the 1640’s it took on more of a note of leaving work of some sort.
In looking at synonyms, there was everything from “ebb” to “sever connections”. Yin and yang of retirement perhaps?
There are those who feel that saying the word out loud is acrimonious. On the other side, some relish the idea, holding it up in the spotlight as a lifetime achievement award.
It takes on different meanings in relationship to one’s connection with work, and the meaning derived in life from how you are seen in the world. Also, one’s gender can play a part. In the book Finding Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, he reports, “Because of the different role of paid work in the psychic economy of men and women, the response of the two genders to their jobs is generally different”. He goes on to say, “…women generally experience employment more positively than men.”
Retirement isn’t a death sentence, but in working with clients who are preparing for that, it can be viewed quite differently, depending upon the person whose opinion you are inquiring about. Finances, travel plans, healthcare and its costs, creating a haven for family to be included (both sets of generations, parents and children), these are all factors in determining the “when” of retirement. OR the if!! Some look at it with glee, others with trepidation. Some have their entire ego invested in what they “do for a living”, while others feel that they have reached a new plateau of freedom when leaving a career behind.
In the real estate field, as in some others, age and gender don't play such a factor. One can work until one’s demise if that is the choice. And in working with clients, age may not have such a hardline either. It’s more related to what your specialty is, your energy level, your relationships, how well you interact and understand your clients and your history in the business.
In buying a home “on a lake” for example (my particular niche market), that can immediately connote vacation or retirement. It can be part time or full time. There is a wide division in those two descriptions in viewing the reasons for buying property where my niche market is, Fishhawk Lake. It is vital to grasp the financial aspects of what the buyer is contending with when deciding which direction they want to go in purchasing real estate that could start out as a second home or even a vacant lot, later to become a full time residence.
It may not be so definitive as to what the future plan is and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! Two years, five, ten or maybe never retiring is A-OK.
It’s not all about the money.
"And, in fact, you can find that the lack of basic resources, material resources, contributes to unhappiness, but the increase in material resources do not increase happiness."
Being financially responsible to set up a comfortable place to retreat to is important for most of those in the aging workforce, but equally as paramount for ensuing happiness is finding joy in everyday life, simple pleasures, living in a place that offers solace when the world gets to be too crazy. This starts rising to the top of the list as many of us get older. We learn that money isn’t the ultimate high but simply a means of trade for investing in a joyous aging process.
What is paramount for me to comprehend in learning about my clients is this: What is your dream? Why do you want this?
Not only does this relate to my clients, but in my own life as well. As I ponder my future with my husband, and walk that ever-changing path of life, I see how certain goals that mattered in my 30’s don’t matter one whit now! Realizing that spending an afternoon with friends and having marvelous conversations or walking in the woods with my dogs and my husband are becoming more momentous to me than working a 60, 70 or 90 hour week.
I can grasp the importance of supporting this gentle country lifestyle for my clients as well. As a matter-of-fact, I look at it as an honor to present these lifetime “rewards” to them: a quiet lake lifestyle that gives them a sense of peace and offers the simple joy of waking up on a lake in all seasons as they look to “retreat”.