5 Things Retirees Miss About Work

Retirees often feel nostalgic for some aspects of the working world.

Unhappy Retired Senior Man Sitting On Sofa At Home
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By Joe Udo

I know many of you are reading this at the office. Retirement sounds really good when you are stuck in a gray cubicle all day. But while it is great to avoid rush hour traffic, mindless meetings, jerky co-workers and stressful assignments, there are a few downsides to retirement. Not having to work anymore can be great, but you might be surprised by what you will miss about work:

Social interaction. We spend eight to 10 hours a day at work, so naturally we have many friends and colleagues at the office. Once you retire, you will lose touch with most of your co-workers. They will be busy with work while you're trying to find something fun to do. For new retirees who don't have many friends outside of their workplace, retirement can be a lonely transition unless they cultivate new relationships.

Structured days. Another good thing about work is that it provides a general structure for your days. You have a loose schedule to follow, and this makes life comfortable. People rely on you to be somewhere at a certain time. Many daily timelines are as follows:
  • 8 a.m. -- arrive at work.
  • 10 a.m. -- coffee break.
  • Noon -- lunch.
  • 12:30 p.m. -- back to work.
  • 5 p.m. -- time to drive home.
When you're retired, your whole day is unstructured. You need to figure out what to do with all that time. Many people get stuck watching TV or surfing the Internet and don't get much done when there are no time pressures.

Goals. Work also provides us with short-term and long-term goals. There are important assignments to accomplish, and they keep us busy.
Deadlines can be stressful, but they also push us forward. Retirement drastically cuts down on the number of goals you need to deal with. There are the usual household chores and things to fix, but that's a big reduction from the expectations placed upon you at your job.

Health care benefits. Most of us have health insurance through our employer. Sure, we pay for it out of every paycheck, but many employers also help out quite a bit. If you retire before qualifying for Medicare, you will have to buy your own health insurance. The cost of health care is going up every year, and it will take a big bite out of your retirement fund.

Outsourcing household chores. Most of us pay for many types of services. Paying someone to mow your lawn is fine when you are earning money, but you might feel guilty about it when you're retired. Retirees have a lot of time, so they could potentially deal with day to day issues without calling a service person. Doing household chores yourself can be a lot of fun, but sometimes I miss being able to just call the plumber to fix a broken toilet.

Retirement isn't all about kicking back at the pool. There are downsides, and many retirees have trouble adjusting. One alternative is to transition into retirement gradually by working part time. That way you can take the time you might need to get used to retirement, and learn how to spend all that extra time. The extra time will come in handy for making friends outside of work, taking on do-it-yourself projects and getting your finances in order.

Joe Udo blogs at Retire By 40 where he writes about passive income, frugal living, retirement investing and the challenges of early retirement. He recently left his corporate job to be a stay at home dad and blogger and is having the time of his life.

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December 02 2013 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I retired recently. Got busy volenteering for a campaign for congress and will work on one for Gov. My husband doen't want to travel where I do, no do I want to go where he does. So that is hard finding someone to travel with. We have a total of $700,000 saved and no debt. Pay yourself first and learn to live on less.

October 25 2013 at 2:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I will not be able to retire. My wife says I will mess up her perfectly scheduled life if I'm around the house. I am self employed, so I guess I do not want to go home and have a boss for the first time in decades.

October 22 2013 at 3:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

\"Hard work never killed anybody but I am not taking any chances\".

October 22 2013 at 9:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have been retired for 9 years and do not miss work at all. I do as I please and go where I please, I answer to no one. Its great. I retired at 52 from the Post Office after 34 years of service. Oh, I am also a high school drop out and did just fine...... Great life no boss.

October 22 2013 at 7:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Been retired 3 years. I went back to my workplace a couple of times to visit but I really just felt sorry for my former colleagues. Retirement is like having the freedom of a teenager again, only without the pimples and awkwardness. No amount of money could lure me back into that world. On the other hand, my brother-in-law retired about the same time and is miserable. He really thought they couldn't run that company without him. He was an office worker and now cleans out houses to keep from going insane. Takes all types, I guess.

October 22 2013 at 4:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I have been retired for about seven months, and the one thing I do miss the people I worked with. As far as having things to do, I now enjoy all the gardening and home shop work I could not get to when I was working and traveling extensively. I can do all the home improvements on my own, and enjoy working with my hands for a change. Just detailing my own cars is a great way to spend a day.

Taking off on a two week fall vacation trip, and then coming home to realize that you are not headed back to work the following Monday is the greatest feeling ever.

October 22 2013 at 12:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

1. Bosses Irrational ( schizoid Paranoic ) Vindictiveness.
2. Co-Workers Jealousy and Vindictiveness.
3. Failure of the co./corp. to reward excellent work.
4. Failure of the co./corp. to treat their employees as assets rather than liabilities.
5. The company using a genius employee as a janitor; and trying to train the actual janitor as a manager.

October 21 2013 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The only thing I miss about retireing from work is the mone.

October 21 2013 at 8:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Attitude means so much. I absolutely love retirement. Anyone can continue to learn, even if you have a PHD. Not setting an alarm clock is total Nirvana. Medical benefits? I was a proud union member and it paid off. The Koch Brothers would abhor my life and my attitude. But I inherited nothing from daddy as they did. My fortune (not a monetary one) comes from working every chance I could and saving. Dollar cost averaging is one of the best methods to save. I'm very happy, and I hope my health continues to carry through.

October 21 2013 at 7:07 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply