“What’s Next?” – Creating a Fulfilling Life After Retirement


As you get ready to ramp down from your full time business role, many start to ask the question “What’s next?” While everyone has ideas about how they would like to spend their next phase of life, the reality is that few actually know how their time will truly be spent. Generally speaking, most people want their lives to be purposeful and meaningful, and retirement is no different.

Establishing a plan about the goals and aspirations you wish to reach during your golden years is a great place to start to help avoid the emotional loss most owners feel as they ramp down or exit their business. Sitting down and truly thinking of what you would like to do and what kind of an impact you want to make, is important to do well before you actually exit. Of course, our life priorities change with each life experience, and it may be hard to know exactly what we will want in the future, but creating a basic framework is important so you live the life you have dreamed of living.

According to multiple studies, most retirees are concerned first and foremost about having enough money to get them through their retirement in a joyous and comfortable nature. A study done by the Bureau of Labor, which was published by the Wall Street Journal in 2014, asked pre-retirement Boomers what their top concerns after retirement would be. Of course “having enough money” was at the top of everyone’s list, but after that came:

1. Health

2. My partner’s health

3. Will I need to work?

4. Where will I live?

5. Will I be bored?

The concerns are general, yes, but important to think about nonetheless. The second part of their survey asked what the vision of their post retired lives would look like. The top five came out to be – Joyous, Purposeful, Inspiring, Educational, and Strong. So, looking at the common concerns and aspirations, the question still begs to ask “What is next for you?”

Although most professionals look forward to retirement, the loss that comes with exiting a business can be traumatic. Careers give us a sense of self-worth and belonging in a community. Once you’ve left that ‘community’ of work, it is extremely important to continue to actively engage in some meaningful way. Without doing so, both mental and physical health may suffer. It’s easy to get stuck sleeping late and watching lots of TV. According to the Bureau of Labor survey, the most time consuming activities of the average retiree are sleeping, followed by watching TV/movies. Activities like eating, socializing, reading, cleaning, and exercising were significantly less time consuming on a daily basis. We cannot stress enough how important it is to stay active in your community, revisit or start new activities that are meaningful, and exercise.   

 Living a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life can be tricky at any age. If your top worry is your health, join a gym, start walking, take tennis lessons, explore different forms of exercising. If your top worry is boredom, identify your strengths and passions and network with people to find meaningful ways to contribute. If you are worried about losing your community connections, plan to travel, join a club, get together with colleagues over lunch or drinks. The possibilities for involvement and entertainment are endless! It really is just up to you to decide which would contribute to helping you feel happy, healthy, and fulfilled.