He thought he was ready, but after 9 months he realized retirement just wasn’t for him. 

A former work colleague of mine had been a self-employed consultant for many, many years, and when his latest contract finished last year, and with nothing on the horizon, he said to himself:

“Yes, now’s the time; After more than 20 years of travelling all over the world for my clients, it’s time to hang up my carry-on luggage and settle down and enjoy life.”   

That lasted for a few months then it struck him. During those intensely busy consulting years, he hadn’t developed any external interests or a social network in his hometown, and he was finding he just didn’t know what to do with his days or how to keep mentally stimulated.  Yes he was Financially and Physically Fit to retire but was he Emotionally Fit? Absolutely not. A possible solution for him came when a fellow contractor asked him to commit to a long-term gig in a town not far from his home, with an expected completion date at the end of 2017. So, my retired friend put his retirement on the shelf, as working was better than retirement.  

And then it happened. My wife and I were visiting him a couple of weeks ago and over dinner I gave him a copy of my book, Retire Fit, Fit & Fit. The very next day he emailed me to say that he spent most of the rest of the evening reading my book, and he loved it. The chapter on Emotionally Fit especially made him realize there are lots of things he could be doing and wanted to be doing other than working. He dusted off his bicycle and did a ride, he remembered how much he loved a specific sport in university, and realized that he really was ready to start recording the fascinating history of his family. He plans to work out the rest of his contract but then, look out world, he’s retired with a full and active life ahead of him.

His experience isn’t unusual. While many people may be ready to stop working and may be Financially Fit to do so, they haven’t yet determined “who” they will be and how they will motivate themselves. Ideally, you will plan in advance and get ready for this before retirement, but if not, be kind to yourself and use those first few months of retirement to recover from your work life and plan for the enjoyment of your retirement life.