Finding a good retirement life isn't always simple. Mr. Sharm had the means to live a dream retirement, and he gave it a good try. What he learned surprised him, and might surprise you, too.
Here's his story, shared by Andy, a friend of the family.
My best friend’s father retired two years ago.
Gone were the days when he would wake up at the crack of dawn, rushing through the busy early-morning commute to get to work, dealing with clients and stuff before returning home exhausted.
At age 53, Mr. Sharm had been a CEO of a fairly large investment firm for 32 years, dealing with clients from morning till night.
Even at home, his job would not end, as he would have to contact clients through non-ending phone calls.
Every night, he griped to his wife about how hateful he was of his stressful, tiresome job.
Dreams of retirement filled his hopes, as he envisioned in his mind days of suntanning on beaches in popular vacation spots, finally able to relax his body and mind. He began planning in his mind his financial journey, saving up the money that he would need, and thinking of what he would do after retirement.
He retired 6 months later. For the first time in around a decade, he could take a whole day without thinking about work, as he had a hefty 2 million dollars supporting him in the bank.
Waking up at ten that first day, he said, felt like the blessing of an angel. He chose not to live in a nursing home, and instead stay inside the massive house he had purchased for his family. He spent that very first day browsing through the massive plasma television, watching television like he was back in his youth again.
However, within a few weeks of loafing around, taking daily walks and the such, he realized something- he needed the schedule of work. His mind couldn’t just comprehend the massive amount of time every day, and he desperately craved something to do. His children had all moved out, his wife was still an elementary teacher at the local school, and he was bored.
He took up gambling and excessive vacationing, traveling to various parts of the world and leisurely eating and drinking his money away. Within a few months, he had less than a million left.
One day, he noticed an elderly tour guide in Yellowstone National Park.
He struck up a conversation and he found the most remarkable thing- the tour guide was retired and loving it.
The guide, named Mark, befriended Mr. Sharm and helped him search for volunteer opportunities that he would enjoy.
Mr. Sharm eventually decided upon a volunteering job at the town heritage center, where he educates visitors about the town’s deep history and places to visit.
He absolutely loves it, and puts in even more effort than he did when he was working for pay.
Mr. Sharm is not alone in his quest for work.
Many fresh retirees are not content spending their days idling or vacationing with friends.
Instead, and this is perfectly normal, they feel motivated to give back to their community.
Looking back, he felt like he anticipated the arrival of retirement and relaxation so much that he forgot one key element- boredom. After having worked his entire life, fighting his way from a relatively poor family to a well-accomplished businessman, he needed something to completely occupy his energy and spirit.
He recalls sitting down one day, about a week after his retirement, and writing out things that he loved about his job. He really liked talking to people, getting to know their stories, and also the amazing feeling of accomplishment when he connected an investor to a business.
Through volunteering for his town which he had lived in for more than three decades, he felt immense joy. Not only was he still able to happily introduce people to his town and the rich historical background behind it, he also got to give back to a community that he treasured with lots of his friends and memories in it.
In retirement, Mr. Sharm also discovered something he adored- acting. He had never tried it before, but when he first participated in the Revolutionary War reenactment, he found how much fun acting was. Through this discovery process, he both learned a lot about himself and discovered a new hobby.
Now, as I am writing this, Mr. Sharm is happily living a good retirement life with his wife in their house inside our town. He spends his days inside the Visitor’s Center, and his energy is absolutely incredible for age 55.
When asked about his retirement, he said he really regretted wasting all that time depressed and moping around when he really could’ve had one of the best experiences of his life.
Now, not every person’s story will be like this.
Not everyone is accustomed to a rigorous work schedule, or have 2 million to fall back on.
Mr. Sharm’s story, however, he wants to serve as a lesson to any new retirees.
To him, volunteering is a path to happiness and gives him satisfaction on giving back to his community and working with people.