It breaks my heart every time I hear someone just biding time until retirement — not only because it’s a waste of the here and now, but also because stories of people who die just as retirement arrives seem a bit too common. What if you suffer for decades in a job you hate, waiting for deferred happiness, but never actually get to enjoy it?
A post on the blog Stand and Inspire headlined, “What the Happiest Age Group Tells Us About Work” addresses this idea by first pointing to the age groups who are happiest and unhappiest, as measured by the Personal Well-being in the UK study by the Office for National Statistics. It found:
- average levels of life satisfaction, worthwhile activities and happiness levels were lowest for people aged 45 to 54
- those aged 65 to 79 had significantly higher average ratings than any other age group for both worthwhile activities and happiness
It’s a big leap to say people are unhappy in their 40s and 50s because they’re working and happier after 65 because they’re retired. Midlife is also a time when people might be juggling parenting demands and maybe financial pressures are greater because tuition is looming and retirement plans are still in the distance.
But I like the advice Stand and Inspire gives nonetheless:
Truthfully, there is no perfect work waiting for you and me in retirement.
For that matter, it’s not waiting for us at any point. You’ll never find it!
Instead, take the True Message from the Happiest Age Group to Heart:
Create work that you love!
But do it now.
Create it in your 20s and 30s. And in your 40s and 50s.
But never stop creating!
Create work that you love for the value of your customers or your current employer.
More Newvine Growing posts about retirement:
- Retirement might not make you stress free
- Saving for retirement: Are you ready for the post-pension world?
- Money can buy happiness, says MP Dunleavy