Retirement – what do I do with the rest of my life?

Retirement – what do I do with the rest of my life?

Retirement – whether you chose to go or were pushed out, for example, as part of an organizational change, the time after retirement can feel like a yawning open space. Yes, you know these days retirement is supposed to feel like the start of something, and not an ending. But, for many of us, knowing we are expected to make a fresh start is quite daunting.

For some people it seems simple. They have spent years wanting to have more time for a well-loved hobby. Perhaps they have ideas about turning that hobby into a money-making activity. For others, the most important thing about the time ahead is an opportunity to be with family and grandchildren in particular.

Lots of us, don’t know exactly what to do next. Many need to continue to earn just to pay the household bills. Even, if we don’t need the money, we need a challenge and, perhaps, a new mountain to climb.

So, where to start? Well, ideally, you begin thinking about life after retirement, long before you actually retire. But, if you haven’t had that opportunity, you can still do the work to think through what is going to happen next, shortly after you retire.

Ask yourself these questions;

  • What has given me the most satisfaction in my life so far?
  • At work and at home, what did I really enjoy doing and why?
  • What was I really good at?
  • What did I dislike and would want to avoid in the future?
  • What was I not so good at?
  • In what kind of environment would I want to spend precious time?
  • What have I always dreamed of doing but never had the chance?

The results of this exercise are for your eyes only, so you can afford to be entirely honest.

Now, think about the constraints and how the choices you make may affect the rest of your life and those closest to you.

How free are you to retrain for something new? Do you have resources to pay for that training? Lots of people do retrain for new careers in later life but taking on a programme of training that is going to last several years in unlikely to make sense after 60.

You may want to consider working part-time. That would give you more time for family and other interests. It may also make long-term working more sustainable as it gives you recovery time.

Don’t be afraid to have big dreams and ambitions. Lots of us over 60 have achieved things we never imagined possible ten years earlier. And some of us feel more fulfilled in our work life now than we did earlier, even though we may not be earning quite so much.

Life after retirement is all about quality. Think about what that means for you in your particular circumstances. Now go out there and enjoy yourself.

Working with a coach really can help you have a better life. Get in touch at the email address below – I offer a free half hour trial session by phone or Skype.
Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link