I just finished How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free by Ernie J. Zelinski. I really enjoyed this book. There's so much in there to talk about but I'll start with the issue burning in my mind tonight. He notes an interesting research study (the bold is my emphasis):
A research study released in 2001 by Cornell University psychologists found that, particularly for men, employment after official retirement is beneficial for their psychological well-being. Those who retire from their primary career, but then find some sort of other work, are the happiest and suffer the least depression. On the other hand, men who retire and don't go back to work experience the most unhappiness and depression. Surprisingly, the researchers didn't find much difference for women who go back to work after retiring versus those who don't. No reasons were given for this important difference between the sexes.
Well, you don't have to be a hot-shot researcher to figure this one out. I'll give you the reason, men are boring. That's right, you heard me; men are boring. I suppose the more politically correct way to phrase this is "women tend to have more interests." But here's the cold, hard truth: women are just more interesting!
Just in the last 48 hours alone, three different men have told me that I will be bored with retirement within the first six months of being retired. And that's about standard fare as far as my retirement discussions with the men-folk over the last year. I have yet to have a woman say this to me.
Men golf. That's about it. Well there you go, I would be bored too if all I had to do with all those previously working hours is play golf. Oh, and by the way, they already get to do this activity DURING WORKING HOURS AND CALL IT WORK! Why would they need to retire to do the only other activity they like doing when they can already do it while "working?" (Oops, I am forgetting men also watch TV. But need I point out that they are so bored watching TV that they can't even manage to stay on one channel longer than ten seconds--honestly, it's enough to make a person dizzy!)
Maybe if I got to shop, read, write, knit, sew, paint, study a foreign language, garden, play tennis, go to the gym and ride my bike during working hours and call it working I wouldn't feel the need to retire to have time to do these things either! But alas, my employer does not allow me to pursue my hobbies while at work and call it work.
When I discuss my retirement with women, they usually launch into the zillions of things they would like to do if only they had more time. Men just look puzzled by the prospect and ask me what the heck I will do to fill my time. Sheesh!
Yeah, yeah, I know now I'm going to get a bunch of hate mail from all those men out there blogging about ways to become financially independent so they can retire at a young age. As it is with gross generalizations, there probably are SOME men that have enough interests to keep them busy in retirement. But I would bet you money that most of these men just want the ability to walk away from their jobs. The truth is they are so defined by their jobs and have no other interests, they don't really want to actually quit their jobs. They just want to have enough saved to be able to say "I'm walking," whether they would actually walk or not.
And yes, I'm sure there are a couple of boring women out there too, but as it is with gross generalizations, they will not be acknowledged here either.