Retirement is Not what I expected
I worked for almost 43 years in a high stress atmosphere.
Never was one of those guys that loved my job but I didn't really hate it either. At first it involved a lot of hours of setting behind a drafting table and later setting in a cubical at a CAD station. Changed companies several times. The job paid very well.
I figured I would continue to do it until at least 66. Maybe until 70. I have been in the oil & gas industry most of the 43 years. When oil get cheap the industry shrinks.
Last year, after 7 1/2 years of service and no complaints, our department manager walks into my cubical on July 5th and says "Upper management and I decided to make a leadership change in this position. I don't have another project to put you on so August 1st is your last day. Sorry." That was two months before my 64th birthday.
I spent the first few weeks in shock. Then the next few in panic as there were no available jobs in my field. (With oil prices being very low there was no chance of a 64 year old guy at the top of the pay scale finding another job).
It was the first time since I was about 16 years old that I didn't have a job. Then I started to think about doing the thinks that I always thought I would do when I retired. After all, I wasn't hurting for money. I already had a financially secure plan.
But then I began to realize that all the things I had planned to do in retirement were not really plans at all. Just thoughts. Hobbies are hobbies. Not things to do for a living. Menial jobs don't pay very well.
Learning to do something completely different is hard at 64. When it began to sink in that the "when I retire I'm going to . . . . " was not not going to happen and wasn't what I really wanted to do any, the panic worsened and the depression began to set in.
Depression is devastating! It is completely undesirable and uncontrollable. I would set and think, why am I so miserable?
I reached a financial pinnacle a few years ago that I thought I would never achieve. I have no debts. None. I have a great wife, solid children, 7 grandchildren. We are all in good health. I can do whatever I want.
Why do I what to do nothing but disappear?
That has lasted for a long time but I have begun to come out of it. With some help I finally figured out (at least partially) what the problem is . . . . . was. I had spent most of my adult life working and saving and thinking (not planning) for a time in the hazy future when I would retire and "do whatever I want".
I had concentrated so hard on achieving a certain financial goal that I never considered what I would actually do with it.
I have reached a point just in the last few weeks where I am beginning to get my head wrapped around the idea of actually using the finances that I worked to put in place for the actual reasons they were put there.
I am beginning to come out of that deep dark hole. I'm discovering that I like doing some things that I never even considered. New endeavors. New hobbies.
So I have some advice: One is the age old saying "money cannot buy happiness". Maybe more importantly, "when I retire I'm going to do whatever I want" is not a plan!!
Also, your plans are only good for right now. The future is very unpredictable.
All employers should offer retirement counseling. Unfortunately most companies are only interested in their bottom line. You need a real plan. Get some help!!!