Retirement is supposed to start a leisurely phase of your life that takes everyone down different paths. From venturing into the unknown or staying involved in their field of work, to having no agenda or being uncertain of their next steps, retirees fall into six main categories.
Which category are you?
This category of retirees is definitely on the proactive side, but more intent on venturing into the unknown. For “adventurers,” retirement is an opportunity to face new challenges and pursue the dreams or ideas they had to shelf when they were working. “Adventurers” may travel, do daring acts, get work in an unfamiliar field, or start a hobby that their career prevented them from enjoying.
As its name suggests, a “continuator” remains involved in their field, but in a different capacity. They essentially modify what they already do by staying connected with their former profession, while forging new paths. Someone who had a career in law enforcement for example, might get work doing security or teaching courses in self defense. A retired reporter in this category would do something like freelancing or start their own blog.
This type of retiree has no real day-to-day agenda. When they wake up every morning, one of the first things they ask is “What should I do today?” It’s not without reason though, and these retirees actually prefer functioning at this pace. Your “easy gliders” were likely in a physically demanding line of work before retiring, like construction or something involving manual labor. These retirees worked hard all their lives and are excited to relax. They have no real plans after retiring, and want to take things one day at a time.
The “involved spectator” likes to remain immersed in their field, but as more of an onlooker. Although the “involved spectator” no longer works, they still enjoy staying updated on their field’s latest progress and developments. Your “involved spectators” will participate in or follow industry events, news, and check in with people still working. A retired doctor for example, may no longer practice medicine, but still attend medical conferences. A former teacher might not lecture in a classroom, but attend Board of Education meetings, and stay updated on the latest happenings at their old school.
Some view this as the more depressing category a retiree can fall into, since “retreaters” are dubbed as couch potatoes, who can’t figure out their next steps. There are two types of “retreaters” – one who is depressed because they lack a sense of purpose, and someone who decides to retreat from the world until they determine their next course of action. Almost one third of retirees develop depression symptoms, and the overall risk can rise by nearly 40% in your first few years of retirement. There’s a good chance you may temporarily fall into this category, as many retirees tend to form lazy habits that unknowingly turn them into “retreaters.”
“Searchers” are the kinds of retirees who wrap up their career, and find themselves asking “Okay…now what?” once the reality of their new life phase hits. “Searchers” aren’t sure what course of action to take, and will venture down a variety of different paths to see what suits them best. Imagine working as a welder for 35 years, and then trying a range of activities from sculpting, traveling, and stamp collecting, to different part-time jobs like working at a restaurant, grocery store, or doing volunteer work? That’s essentially how a “searcher” functions. “Searchers” are similar to “adventurers” – in terms of being proactive – but will pursue a broader variety of avenues, and may eventually wind up falling into another retiree category.