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What Type Of Retiree Are You (Or Do You Want To Be)?

What Type Of Retiree Are You (Or Do You Want To Be)?

By Mike Drak

We have been led to believe by the majority of those retirement commercials they like to show us that all retirees are the same but the truth is they aren’t.

What I have discovered through my research on retirement, there are actually a number of different types of retirees. Here are three types that I have discovered;

Retiree #1: The Survival Mode Retiree

A report put out by the Insured Retirement Institute “Boomer Expectations For Retirement 2019” stated that in America 45% of Boomers have zero savings for retirement.

It’s a big mistake to think that you can get by solely on a government pension and never have to work again because of the effect of inflation on things such as rent, property taxes, food and health care spending.

Every passing year their retirement world would become smaller and smaller in terms of what they can afford to do. Money is tight and would be getting tighter. Their stress levels would keep going up, and sadly they couldn’t even visit their kids at Christmas because they live on the other side of the country, and they can’t even afford the price of a plane ticket. Talk about being in retirement hell where every year they live is a little worse than the one before.

The only way out of this mess is if you are healthy enough is to find work but not just any work. Avoid doing bad work and instead find/create good work or preferably great work for yourself.

But it won’t be easy.

I remember reading somewhere that it’s estimated that 42% of jobs eliminated in the pandemic are not coming back. Older workers are going to struggle finding a job and if they do they will in many cases find that new job comes along with a significant pay cut.

Bottom line; many people need to continue working past the normal retirement date to avoid slipping into poverty but because of the pandemic it won’t be easy.

Retiree Type # 2: The Comfort-Oriented Retiree

Comfort oriented retirees enjoy a safe ordinary retirement and prefer to stay within their comfort zone. They are comfortable, and are often unwilling to take some risks, and become uncomfortable.

These are the retirees who are content with retirement just the way it is. The majority have saved enough money to support a modest retirement and some of them have been fortunate enough to accumulate a great deal of money.

They don’t want to work in fact they don’t want to do much of anything that will take them out of their comfort zone. They are comfortable just the way they are.

Happiness levels for people in this group have often plateaued. They are usually quite happy with the way things are and comfortable living in a very predictable way.

These people have chosen to select certainty, and as a result they become uninterested in trying new things. Their life is consistent, often not having any goals that will stretch them. Frequently getting to the retirement finish line was was their biggest goal.

My mother was a comfort-oriented retiree. She lived a simple life and was content with helping her family, taking care of her cat, and enjoying time with her friends. That was what made her happy. She never felt the need to go out and run a marathon, or travel the world. She was content with the simple things, friends and family. My mother showed me that you don’t need much in order to be happy. Just the basics— food on the table, a roof over your head, some level of financial security and people that love you. When you have these things there isn’t much to complain about.

Living like that isn’t wrong – it’s just wrong for people like me.

Retiree Type #3: The Growth-Oriented Retiree

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Retirees in this group refuse to take their foot off the gas and become complacent because they know that continually setting new goals, and realizing their retirement potential will make them happier.

These are the retirement rebels the people that have a strong inner voice that is constantly telling them to never be satisfied to keep stretching, exploring, learning, and experiencing. They are the retirees that have created a bucket list a mile long and plan on knocking things off that list for as long as they can.

Every goal they achieve gives them a “happiness hit” and a feeling of achievement and satisfaction. But they know this feeling will be short lived and to get another happiness hit they continually need to establish new goals and start working on them.

Each new goal they hit, each new adventure that they go on creates another good memory that will be added to the pile, and having a lot of good memories is important for their emotional well-being.

I know what type of retiree I want to be. How about you?

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Mike Drak

Author, Retirement Coach and Public Speaker at Victory Lap Retirement
Mike Drak is a thirty-eight year veteran of the financial services and lives with his wife Melina in Toronto, Canada. Mike is the Author of the best-selling book Victory Lap Retirement and also an award winning blogger, retirement coach and public speaker. Mike has also appeared on BNN, CBC Radio and iHeart radio.