How Does a Children’s Book Relate to Retirement?

Sep 04, 2020 by Mary R. Donahue, Ph.D

Several years ago, I co- authored a book for children whose parents were divorced or in the process of getting a divorce. Its’ title was What’s My Job? It provided children between the ages of 5 to 12 with guidelines for what they needed to do; and what they shouldn’t do in their new circumstance. It was designed to help children recognize that they weren’t responsible for their parent’s marriage ending. It stressed for the children that they were not the cause of the situation; and they had no responsibility or ability to fix the problem, or their parent’s mental health (or lack thereof). 


Turning to the present challenges facing anyone trying to figure out what to do or not do relative to retiring, made me think about what we told the children about their responsibilities in What’s My Job? Just like children of separation and divorce, the current pandemic situation is not of our making; but as with the children, our responses are under our control. If your current thought is why didn’t I pay attention to this aspect of my life years ago, don’t allow yourself to dwell on that. Instead try to focus on where you are if you retire, what you might have to do income wise, and what you might want to do if you’re no longer doing whatever you’ve been doing. I vividly remember the first meeting I attended on retirement the year I began to teach, low those many years ago. I thought, “what am I doing in this meeting?  This has no meaning for me, I just started to work!”  In hindsight, that wasn’t my best thinking! Little did I know what awaited me many years later. My take-away from that experience (given with 20/20 hindsight) is that we can never be too prepared!


Despite all the current uncertainties related to the Corona Virus, we are still living in an era where we can have two and even three careers in a lifetime. Now that we’re living longer, we can pursue more things that interest us as we age. We can get new training in any number of ways today, thanks to technology. Recently, we’ve all been inundated with the pros and cons of virtual learning for our kids.  However, the availability and access to distance learning opportunities lets us all explore other jobs and interests from the comfort of our own home.


Figuring out your potential income and expenses if you retire before you thought you would will help you to determine if you’ll still need to work in order to maintain your lifestyle. Once you’ve figured that out; you’re in a position to identify whether you want to pursue a second career, and if you’ll need to work full-time, part-time, or you can simply pursue your passions without pay. Whatever you decide, there are probably many, many job opportunities out there that you’ve never considered. In today’s world, you can sit in your kitchen in your pajamas and scroll through any number of websites for ideas and actual job opportunities. If you’re living with a partner, you should make a joint decision as to what’s best for both of you.


Having the opportunity to research ideas on the internet also allows you to consider doing something that you always thought about, but never had the time to explore before now. This might just be the perfect time to delve into that interest. Remember to consider certain things like your health and age when exploring these ideas. Recognize that this is a new beginning, but you’re not twenty years old anymore.


I think the most important thing to realize is that if you’re considering retirement or a career change as a result of Corona Virus; no matter what your circumstances are, there are options available to you. In our book Your Next Chapter, we’ve laid out what you need to look at financially, as well as what you’re feeling on an emotional level as you navigate these unfamiliar waters. As we’ve all discovered recently, it’s terrible feeling like you’ve lost control of everything and you’re suddenly adrift in unfamiliar territory. Our book will give you a good place to start, and in no time, you’ll be feeling like you’re back in control.