Why I’ll Never Retire

Camp's Bay Beach in Cape Town, South Africa

You read that title right – I have no plans to retire. I know this bucks the trend of what society says I’m supposed to want, but I’m all about bucking trends. I prefer to set my own course. Naturally, that course involves planning to never retire. I actually plan to work as long as humanly possible. You may be wondering why I feel this way and how it’s going to be possible for me to work into old age. If so, you’re in luck because that’s what I’ve written about today.

Since Americans (and many people around the world in general) are now living longer than ever before, many find themselves retiring at age 65, a whole 15 years before reaching the average life expectancy age of 80 (for women). Of course, many people live well beyond that. I know several people in their 90s and above. That’s quite a long time to live off savings and/or social security, the latter of which’s longevity is in serious question. Just as many people think my generation’s chances of actually receiving our social security payments is slim, I firmly believe that retirement for most people currently my age (and younger) simply won’t be possible, at least not at the now standard 60 to 65 years of age. For most, there’ll simply be too much living left to do, and too many ongoing expenses that need to be paid, to allow us to stop working. In lieu of this, I’m preparing myself now. This is the core reason why I’m never going to retire.

Me never retiring can also be traced to this central issue: the desire to be helpful and useful. I’m in the process of endeavoring into work that will allow me to be helpful and useful to people no matter what age I am. As a writer and a life coach (soon-to-be, at this point), I have the option to keep working as long as I can remain helpful to people and as long as my words and my messages stay relevant to the larger population. In my career plan, I have the power and control to decide what my destiny is and what my desired outcome will be.

Another reason I don’t want to retire is because I want to fully enjoy my life now, not when I’m over 60. Because I’ve chosen to not delay my gratification and full enjoyment of life, I don’t work a traditional job. I worked traditional jobs for nearly 20 years. I know what that’s about and what that takes. I’ve taken the plunge into the great unknown now in order to get myself ahead for later in life. Since I no longer have a “safe and secure” job, this also means that I don’t have a 401k and retirement plan to which I’m contributing (and to which an employer is matching). While I do have money saved, and we do continue to save via Jeremy’s work, my choices mean that I will very likely have to keep working to survive as I age. I have thought this through, and I’m perfectly okay with it. Why? Well, that takes us to the next point.

I want to keep working throughout my life because I want to remain mentally sharp, involved in the broader conversations out there, and frankly, I want to stay relevant. Keeping working versus falling into a care-free retirement way of life is just more appealing to me. I want to keep my brain challenged and working as I age, and continuing with my writing career and coaching practice will help with that tremendously. Staying committed to my profession as I age also means that I have create the opportunity for myself to stay relevant and part of the broader discussions happening around writing and personal development. With my years of expertise and experience, I position myself to be a thought leader.

Further, I have no plans of retiring because I love what I do. Why on earth would I ever want to stop? I have the type of career path that allows me to work from anywhere. As a result, Jeremy and I already have plans to start traveling full time in a couple of years. I’m not waiting until I’m older and potentially less mobile to start traveling. I’m going to incorporate work and travel into my life harmoniously and figure out a way to have both – a successful career and a lifetime of travels. This will lead to us making some big sacrifices in terms of relative comfort and security, but it’s not something that scares or deters neither me nor Jeremy.

The final reason you’ll never see me retire is because there will be no one forcing me to do so. Working for myself allows me to be in control of my workflow, income, and overall quality of life. Since I’ve chosen myself to be worthy of such a life arrangement, I’ve put myself in the driver’s seat and have taken direct control my life’s direction. I work on projects that I enjoy, and I’m not at the mercy of a company who’s just using my services to advance their own agenda(s). Choosing this entrepreneurial life isn’t easy, but it’s definitely the best and most rewarding path for me.

What about you? Do you plan on retiring or do you have a plan like mine? Tell me about it in the comments section below. I’m curious to hear other people’s takes on this issue.

This post was inspired by the thoughts, words, leadership, and hard work of Dan Miller (coach, leader, mentor, writer, speaker, avid and enthusiastic salesman, and much, much more).