Running out of money has always been considered the key risk of retirement. But there are three other risks that are equally significant and can undo our life in retirement.
1. Not replacing our work identity
Identity is key to our sense of self and how we engage with the world. Often we find our ‘fit’ from what we do at work. If we don’t replace our work identity when we retire, then we risk floundering and wondering who we are.
The Up Side – Retirement presents the opportunity to re-invent ourselves around our truest sense of self. Taking take time to establish a new identity before we stop working will position us to embrace retirement and start enjoying it from day one.
2. Not being pro-active about our Health
Health is key to our enjoyment of life at any age, but as we get older we need to do more to nurture our health. If we fail to be pro-active about our health as we approach retirement, then we risk a slide into inactivity and ever declining energy once we retire. We risk losing our vitality and joie de vivre and attribute our slump to ‘ageing’, without realising how much we can do to improve our lot.
The Up Side – More free time in retirement presents the opportunity for re-engaging with our physical health after many busy years of working. Many people find that focusing on their health gives them a better sense of well-being than they experienced when they were younger.
3. Failing to stay Connected
One of the forgotten benefits of working is the connection it provides with other people and communities. Even if we don’t have particular friends at work, we usually benefit from the social contact of a workplace. If we don’t replace this connection we risk feeling isolated and adrift, and increase our risk of mental health issues like depression.
The Up Side – Retirement gives us greater choice about who we spend time with, and allows us to be with the people we value most, and time to engage with communities which reflect our values and sense of self.
As well as making sure we have enough money for retirement, we need to be proactive and take steps (before we stop working) to manage the other risks of retirement.