Over 50s Lifestyle

Are you suffering from Retirement regret?

February 21, 2020
Retirement Regret

Retirement Regret? Yes, it can exist and I may even be suffering from that myself five years after I took the plunge into early retirement. I recently asked the question ‘What does your version of Retirement look like? and the comments flowed in. Lydia from Where the Wild Things Were, raised a good point in her comment:

I think a lot of people misunderstand how much satisfaction they actually get from work. It is hard to be productive when there’s no structure. Work doesn’t have to define you but productivity is important.

Things happen in 3’s

The topic of Retirement seems to be popping up everywhere in my life at the moment.

I was recently asked to contribute my thought to an article ‘A Workaholic’s Guide to Retirement’. The article raised some interesting points in particular the need to plan, re-assess your priorities as well as re-assessing your thinking.

My daughter, who is an Executive Coach mentioned that she had seen an increase in people needing help transitioning into Retirement. They are nervous and unsure about their future. Life has revolved around a career of over 40 years. It is an increasing problem to address, especially for those who are enjoying good health and facing perhaps another 30 years of life.

Finally, as things come in 3’s, I listened to a Radio National broadcast: ‘Retirement regret and what to do about it’ on Life Matters with Hilary Harper and Michael Mackenzie. The guest in this broadcast was Jennifer Luke, a Career Development Specialist with the University of Southern Queensland. Jennifer returned to University to conduct research as to why older workers who were close to retirement or in the retirement space wanted to find work, either in a paid or volunteer capacity. She conducted a series of interviews with people who have retired or are transitioning to retirement. You can listen to this 12 minute broadcast HERE

I’ve listed a couple of takeaway points below but found the broadcast very interesting and made me feel comforted to know that there are some, like me who are wanting a more productive retirement lifestyle.

Retirement Regret

It seems that the transition to Retirement for many may not live up to expectations. We look forward to the flexibility that retirement brings where our time is our own. However, for some, whose career has been their main focus for most of their working life, Retirement can certainly become an unwelcome change in their life. They fear looming Retirement. Others find that after the ‘honeymoon’ period is over, the reality is that they feel regret and loss.

The #1 motivator for retirees to consider returning to work

Jennifer Luke found in her research that although finances was a factor in motivating people to consider working , it wasn’t the main factor. Most people answered that they wanted to keep busy and have social inclusion.

The #1 barrier for retirees returning to work

Age discrimination. Yes, although there are Age Discrimination laws, people still felt concerned that their age would be a negative barrier and that they wouldn’t be seen as worthy.

We all have skills whether they be technical skills or life skills that we can use to pass on to others. In her research, Jennifer Luke, asked two questions which I put to you today:

What are your skills?

What do you want to pass on to others?

If you are struggling with Retirement Regret, perhaps these two questions may help you develop a plan. I would love to hear your thoughts on how you turned your Retirement Regret into a fulfilled lifestyle that suits you.

If you have embraced Retirement and found new and interesting ways to fill the void left from your career, I would also love you to share with me.

The most important thing is to find what works for you!

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way


  • Reply Debbie-Dabble February 21, 2020 at 12:08

    Retirement Regret??? Absolutely not!!! Fortunately, my profession and career as a nurse was not how I defined myself… I am a crafter, a decorator, an author of my own Blog, a gardener, someone who is good at running Fund Raisers, a Mom and by the way, I was an RN in a Rehab Unit . Nursing was just a job that provided me and my family a certain lifestyle BUT it really was NOT who I was….So I definitely do not regret leaving it behind….In fact, I embraced it!!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 21, 2020 at 12:16

      Such a positive experience for you Debbie and glad to hear you are very happy in Retirement. A wonderful example of making Retirement a lifestyle that you love and enjoy. Good for you! x

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 21, 2020 at 12:33

    I’m the same as Debbie – I don’t think I ever fully defined my self by my job – it was part of who I was, but didn’t define me. I also tapered down to part-time 4 days a week, then 3 days and then 2 days before finally pulling the pin. I think that allowed me to fill up my other days with interests, so there were only two extra ones to add into the mix. Also the process of recovery and the sheer joy of being out of that toxic work environment has made retirement very attractive.
    On the other hand, there are also very few appealing jobs available and someone who’s nearly 60 is less likely to be offered the position than a 30 year old – it’s just a fact of life (or age-ism or whatever). So I’m learning to be content with retirement and to enjoy all that it offers. Of course that might change in the years to come – we’re all still evolving aren’t we? And look at all you’ve taken on in the last year or so!!!

  • Reply Denyse February 21, 2020 at 14:29

    No retirement regret really with me, but I do sometimes feel I am less of contributing member to my profession of teaching. However I do not want to return to schools….I am 70…because I did my time, as they day. I love that in retirement I can support others in education via my blog, social media presence and personal catch ups. That means I can still feel relevant but at my choice of level.
    My husband and I lead a quiet and independent life within our marriage of 49 years. We have always had different hobbies & interests which complement each other. We both were forced due to health reasons to retire earlier than we might have chosen but we believe with other avenues that became open to us, including a small family business and a return to a study we made obstacles into opportunities. Now, having moved on from the busyness of Sydney and other caring responsibilities we are truly enjoying each other’s company. The big thing for us was my cancer diagnosis in May 2017 but it has made positive outcomes for us in terms of regenerating family relations and connecting with a new and wonderfully supportive community based on my head and neck cancer. I now volunteer to promote the awareness of this cancer and am active in social media and in blogging, along with personal meeting attendance and conferences where my skills honed as an educator are still well-used. Great post Sue. Lots to Consider

  • Reply Catherine Pritchard February 21, 2020 at 18:49

    Retirement is what you make it. I loved my career as a registered nurse and midwife and then as a pharmaceutical rep but I knew it was time to retire when the satisfaction went from it. I have a full and active life and there would not be time for working. My husband on the other hand still enjoys working part time and is lucky to be able to use his skills to work in the medico-legal field from home. We both worked hard to be financially stable to give us these choices. Reasonable health also means we enjoy our later life.

  • Reply Jo February 22, 2020 at 19:06

    After watching Grant get used to it, I’d have to agree with Lydia’s comment – it’s not so much about the work itself as the concept of usefulness and productivity. If you have this it really doesn’t matter what you’re doing.

  • Reply Menaka Bharathi February 24, 2020 at 16:34

    I think self satisfaction and the feeling of content matters more- choose whatever gives you that and happiness follows

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan February 26, 2020 at 02:46

    Retirement regret? I am finally recovering from a bad case of it. Ageism kept me from getting jobs that I was totally qualified for after retiring from education. But God had another plan for me. And today, I am finally thankful that I am no longer working.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 26, 2020 at 08:14

      So pleased you are now thankful, Leslie but I can understand the frustration of ageism especially when looking for employment. Have a lovely day xx

  • Reply Natalie February 26, 2020 at 06:32

    No regret from me, Sue. I’ve done mentoring to pass on some of my skills and knowledge to others. I’ve always had many interests and I’m enjoying this phase of life to explore them. #MLSTL

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee February 26, 2020 at 07:01

    Good post. I think a lot of men really feel it, though now that women have had fulfilling careers, it might be more of a 50/50 split in who feels it. Nearly everyone retired I know, if they don’t have a part time job, they have a volunteer job that is one or 2 days a week. So it is still work, just not paid work, to get those things we get from work. What I like most in this post, is that it’s okay not to ‘like’ retirement. It’s held out as this ‘me’ time as if work isn’t ‘me’ time. And then people discover they actaully really liked working but it’s too late. It’s okay to hate work and love retirement too. But it’s not a flaw in people that prefer work. I don’t think anyway. (and I’m glad you liked my comment)

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 26, 2020 at 08:13

      I totally agree Lydia and think I fall into the category of enjoying work and as you say that isn’t a flaw it is just a matter of working out what that ‘work’ might be post career. Also, I’ve edited the post to include the link to your website which I had forgotten to do. Have a great day! x

  • Reply Jennifer Jones February 26, 2020 at 07:15

    This is a great topic Sue. As I’m not yet retirered I can’t really answer your questions. I really enjoy my job and don’t plan to retire for a while, but I’m thinking of cutting my hours back. When I retire fully I intend to have structure in my day. I think that’s important to avoid the feeling of drifting.

  • Reply Debbie Harris February 26, 2020 at 07:42

    I sometimes wonder what if my job hadn’t been made redundant, what would I be doing now, but I can’t go back and change things so I am happy to fill in my time with volunteering, helping out with family, travelling and seeing new things. I do often think I’m not productive but I am hard on myself, so try to balance things out . Blogging helps me feel creative and connected. Thanks for the thought provoking post Sue.

  • Reply Donna February 26, 2020 at 10:12

    Hi, Sue – When I announced my retirement, most people who knew me said that I would deeply regret it. I loved my job and was very defined by my work. Contray to the popular opinion of those around me at the time, from the second that I crossed the retirement bridge (literally, we had a bridge leaving work), I have not had a single second of remorse about this decision. In the five years that I have been retired, I have tried to have fun in some way each day. I learn new things, meet new people, spend uninterupted time with those whom I love. Mostly importantly, retirement for me has meant that I no longer need to say “I can’t do that now…I’m working”! #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 27, 2020 at 12:32

      Hi Donna, I love how you have embraced Retirement and become an active member in your community. Your attitude is the key -‘trying to have fun in some way each day’. You inspire me when I read all the creative activities that you have jumped into with enthusiasm. I don’t have that community feel where I live but I do believe it plays an important role in helping us cope and enjoy our retirement phase of life. xx

  • Reply Kathleen - Blogger's Lifestyle February 26, 2020 at 13:47

    Another interesting subject that you have written here. One of the biggest robbers of joy is being too busy. Unfortunately, many who are in the workforce do not have much choice, life is busy. I am still busy but mostly I am in control of it, I can choose. I have time to think below the surface and time to talk. If there is an ‘elephant’ in the room, I have time to address it instead of sweeping it under the carpet 🙂 All this to say we will feature your post to engage more readers who may be helped here.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 27, 2020 at 12:34

      Thanks so much for the feature Kathleen and I think one of my issues is trying to find activities that add to the quality of my life and stretch my thinking. I’m usually doing some short course to learn new things. I do agree thought that you need to take control of life and make the best choices fo ourselves. Have a lovely week and thanks again 🙂 xx

  • Reply Serena McDoanld February 26, 2020 at 14:51

    For me I think that transitioning into retirement would be great, I can see myself reducing hours before stopping work completely. I feel it would help me slow down, give me time to develop interests and be ready to led a productive retirement.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 27, 2020 at 12:35

      Hi Serena, I think transitioning into retirement is definitely the best option if you are fortunate enough to do this. For some redundancy can cut short their working life and they have to make snap decisions during an anxious time. Thanks for visiting and keep that plan front and centre. xx

  • Reply Corinne Rodrigues February 26, 2020 at 17:52

    Interesting, Sue. We live in a housing complex that has a lot of retired armed forces personnel. These days they get great pensions, but I see so many of them, post retirement taking corporate jobs and working long hours. I think people find it hard these days to relax and enjoy life even when they are financially secure.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 27, 2020 at 12:36

      Hi Corinne, Retirement can certainly be a shock to the system and I can understand if someone has been in such a regimented environment for so long, the freedom of retirement could be very daunting. x

  • Reply Enda Sheppard February 26, 2020 at 19:00

    I have gone back to work, out of necessity, after taking a redundancy package. I regret no longer having job security, and not being free to call out the boss when he is being extra grumpy! but the advantages of being back on track financially outweigh that,. I guess

  • Reply Marguerite February 26, 2020 at 22:13

    No regret at all! I did challenge myself and moved to a different country. The challenges have kept me quite busy. I love taking short road trips to visit small villages and I am always photographing or sketching. All this extra time has given me lovely opportunities to try out new things and to get out of my comfort zone. I love it!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 27, 2020 at 12:37

      That is wonderful Marguerite and moving to a different country would certainly keep you challenged and make life interesting. Such a positive comment – love it! x

  • Reply suzanne vosbikian February 26, 2020 at 23:54

    We owned a business which created many levels of responsibility and obligation, but neither of us was ever defined by our work. Adjusting to retirement after selling the business was a mindset that took more time for Malcolm than for me (I had a head start), but eventually, it was structure and balance that created our happily ever after.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 27, 2020 at 12:38

      Hi Suzanne, I certainly need structure and balance in my life and I’m pleased that you and Malcolm have found that. It would have been a challenge transitioning from being a business owner to having the freedom that retirement can bring. x

  • Reply Christine February 28, 2020 at 10:15

    No retirement regret for me though I see that it is a struggle for some. There’s a few reasons I slipped easily into retirement: I eased out of work; I was never defined by my work; I have a very close and growing family to connect with; I have lots of interests outside of work; and I’m reinventing myself in other ways. But it certainly does pay to trial it or to be prepared. An important topic and it pays to be prepared. Shared.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:27

      HI Christine, I truly believe that a transition period helps. I was working one day and then retired the next and it was quite a shock to the system. I think this is an important issue and so pleased to have many valuable comments from readers. Some have had no regret and I’ve learned their reasons why which is helpful. Others are like me and are still finding it a struggle. Have a lovely week and thanks for the share. xx

  • Reply Christie Hawkes March 1, 2020 at 05:38

    As someone who has not yet retired, but is planning on taking an early retirement, I found your post and the responses very interesting. I’m hoping to avoid retirement regret by learning from the experiences of others and planning ahead for my own situation and personality traits. Of course, I know you can never be fully prepared. At some point, you just have to jump in. Still, I appreciate others sharing their experiences and wisdom. Thank you for this post. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:46

      Hi Christie, I’m hoping that this post will help those who are nearing retirement. It can be such a wonderful phase of life but if we don’t have a plan it can become quite distressing and overwhelming. Thanks for joining us at #MLSTL and have a beautiful week. xx

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