Thursday, 29 December 2011

#162: Retirement Syndrome

It’s good to know that if I ever win Lotto 649 and have to suffer the ensuing shock of such catastrophic life change, I will have already honed my coping skills.

A news story about “sudden wealth syndrome” reminds me that financial windfalls have a lot in common with other life changing events – like retirement, for example.   In fact, many suddenly wealthy folks do retire and are supremely unhappy as a result.  Their sense of identity is vastly altered; they lose contact with their workmates; they need to find a new sense of purpose.

Doesn’t this sound familiar?

Some advice to the suddenly wealthy certainly applies to the newly retired -- especially the recommendation to put off decision making for six months and the observation that it will take about a year to adjust to ones new situation.

The recently wealthy, however, are also cautioned to keep their situation secret for as long as possible.  Facebook status updates that declare I’m rich! I’m rich! are not recommended.  Thank goodness this does not apply to retirees who share their new status gladly.

Let's face it:  No one is going to ask us to lend anything more significant than time.  And that exchange has the potential to be mutually enriching.

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