If retirement is around the corner, start thinking about what you will do when you are no longer working. You may think you’ll spend time traveling or playing golf or gardening. But all those items will only take part of your time.

What will you do for the rest of the time?

Many retirees plan to stop working, but they don’t think about how they will spend their time. Often, they are shocked to find out that they miss work after retiring.

If most of your time is spent at work, your social network is there as well. You probably spend more time with your colleagues than with your spouse.

Some retirees plan to continue staying in touch with colleagues. While intentions are there, it’s difficult when you’re not in the office daily.

If you’ve been at your company or in your industry for many years, you’re used to answering questions or solving problems. People seek you out for your knowledge. When you retire, you will no longer be a resource.

This sense of importance goes away when you stop working. It’s one of the frequent complaints I hear from retirees. They miss being important.

Before you stop working, be realistic about how it will impact you. If your identity is tied to your work, then rethink retirement.

Here are some suggestions to explore.

1- PART-TIME: Instead of stopping work completely at your current employment, phase into retirement. Your employer may need your expertise and would be willing to keep you employed part-time. Before agreeing to lesser hours, find out how it will impact your retirement and health care benefits.

2- CONSULTING: If you’re ready to leave your current employer, explore consulting in your field. Reach out to your network and find opportunities where you can leverage your experience. Set-up a business structure such as an LLC to separate your business from your personal activities. Be sure to check regulations for your industry and in the State where you reside.

3- TEACHING: With your industry knowledge, you may be an ideal candidate to teach. Check with junior colleges, community colleges, and other local educational centers. Some classes need guest lecturers, or you may find an evening program to teach. You may meet all the requirements to teach, or you may need to attain a Ph.D.

4- PRO BONO: If you don’t need the income or health benefits, consider using your expertise for pro bono opportunities. Check to see if your professional society organizes volunteer activities. Or perhaps, there’s a nonprofit organization needing a leader or Board member. Another option to consider is to be a mentor at a local university.

5- NEW PATH: If you’re interested in pursuing something different, begin a new career path. It’s never too late to return to school. Some colleges offer senior discounts.

As you enter the next phase of life, recognize that retirement is being redefined. You don’t have to stop working if you find joy in work. Be bold and start exploring your options. In this way, you’ll begin retirement with a plan.


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”