iStock_000024892371SmallIn the retirement planning world, we often assume that everyone is antsy to quit their jobs and play golf all day. But in reality, many retirees find themselves regretting their retirement, or at the very least, not enjoying it as much as they had expected. Part of their dismay may be due to the fact that Americans form a large part of their identity in connection with their occupations; once retired from that occupation, some retirees may feel a loss of identity.

The solution to this problem, of course, is to keep working at least part time in retirement. In fact, a recent survey sponsored by Merrill Lynch found that 72 percent of people would like to keep working in retirement. About 47 percent of current retirees are have worked during retirement, are looking for work, or are currently working. They cited a variety of reasons for doing so, such as:

  • 62 percent continue working to stay mentally active
  • 46 percent work to stay physically active
  • 42 percent want to maintain their social connections from working
  • 36 percent work to maintain their self esteem and sense of worth
  • 31 percent continue to work because they need or want the money

If you find that you aren’t in a hurry to retire, you aren’t alone! As long as you want to work, there are no rules stating you have to do otherwise. On the other hand, you may find that you need to retire at some point, due illness or some other unpredictable factors. Or perhaps you’re already retired, and feel a sense of loss or boredom.

Whatever the case may be, there are many ways to stay active and maintain your sense of purpose in retirement. You can work part time, either in your old field or a brand new one that has always interested you. You could start a consulting business and put your decades of experience to use. If your personal motivation is a sense of purpose rather than money, volunteering may be right up your alley. You may even find fulfillment in writing your memoirs.

The bottom line is that when you quit work, you don’t actually have to quit for good. Be creative, be willing to try different things, and find the work opportunities that bring you personal fulfillment. After all, your retirement should be exactly what you want it to be!