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Not sure what to do post retirement? Here are your options

Each one of us has worked all our lives and might have some specialised knowledge, which will be useful to mankind. We need to seek to pass that on, instead of just killing time.

March 15, 2019 / 09:03 AM IST

Suresh Sadagopan

A picture typical of people working today - get up in the morning, get ready, grab breakfast, scurry across to the office, log in plenty of hours in the office and again embark on the long commute back home. Most of us are tired of the routine and look forward to the day when we can hang up our boots.

We have fancy notions of how we will spend time in retirement - reading, morning walks, travels, visiting friends & relatives, social work, etc. Some of us just want to chill.

We all look forward to that day when we have the time to ourselves, which we can spend the way we want.

Retirement bliss


The day does come. Many people like it. They do all those things they had always dreamed of - travel, morning walks, meeting friends, reading, TV, movies - the works.

But, many tire of this routine fairly fast. It gets boring after a couple of months. There are only so many friends to meet. The walk & scanning the newspaper occupy but a couple of hours. Time looms large on the horizon. TV therapy is the inevitable outcome! After sometime, the shouting matches on TV & the soaps also lose their allure. The retirement bliss which one was anticipating morphs into a long, boring vacation.

Taming boredom & making a difference

At retirement, many are in good health and can be productive. Till retirement, these very same people had been leading pretty busy lives. Suddenly stopping work creates a huge void. Time seems to stand still. Many experience the feeling of worthlessness, being unwanted. This kind of feeling brings a strain on existing relationships and hangs like a pall of gloom. But, this need not be how it can be.

There are things which one has always wanted to do - which got relegated to the background during the working period. One can pursue that - be it music, spirituality, yoga, travel etc.

Again many people have the intention to contribute back to society. And many people contribute to philanthropic causes with money.

People in their retirement can contribute their time, in addition. They would be having a wealth of experience, which they can lend to any organisation or activity they want to be part of.

Identifying causes

Each person may have an area that interests them - be it environment, spirituality, social, political, consumer causes, etc. This needs to be identified first. There could be more than one area one may be interested in. The areas to focus their energies on and how much time one would want to allocate to it, is the next step, which they may decide.

Once the area is identified, one needs to find the right platform & people to do that work with. Once, it is identified, then one will be able to channelise one’s energy & time in worthwhile causes, making a difference to the society. This is one way to contribute.

Lighting the torch

There are other ways as well. Each one of us has worked all our lives and might have some specialised knowledge, which will be useful to mankind. We need to seek to pass that on, instead of just killing time.

An automobile production engineer, for instance, would have a wealth of expertise in that domain. Instead of going and teaching children in a school after retirement (lot of people want to do this-not bad at all, but not the best use of their knowledge base & their potential to make a difference ), he would be doing the society and the industry a great service if that knowledge and skill can be passed on.

Unfortunately, this is not happening in a large percentage of the cases, which is a huge loss. Even business organisations are not systematically capturing the knowledge that walks out of the door at retirement.

In the book, Die Empty, one of the things that the author Todd Henry deals with is passing on the knowledge/ideas, before we wander into the nether world. This looks like a simple thing. But, if we all end up doing this, it will make a world of difference. The impact that this can have on the society would be transformational.

Enlightened Altruism

After retirement, we all want to spend our time meaningfully, want to contribute & want to be part of the mainstream. Philanthrophy in terms of just donating money is one way to give back to society. Engaging in heartfelt passions is another way.

Apart from this, giving back one’s accumulated knowledge, ideas and wisdom enriches societies & communities much, much more and leaves a lasting legacy. Lighting the torch by being a mentor & guru is the ultimate way to pass on Aloha - passing on of a blessing without expecting anything in return.

(The author is a SEBI registered investment advisor and Founder of
Suresh Sadagopan
first published: Mar 15, 2019 09:03 am

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