5 Compelling Reasons Never to Retire

Successful mature business manager working on computer with his colleagues at desk

When you think of your retirement years, do you picture yourself engaging in few decades' worth of interesting and fulfilling activities, all of which you are entitled to after a life of hard work and sacrifice? If you do, it's a good thing that your great-great-grandfather isn't around, because he'd probably slap you upside the head and call you a "young whippersnapper." And rightfully so.

Retirement isn't a natural state for human beings. In fact, for most of recorded history, retirement basically meant working until you died.

"Hey, where is Frank?" one Dickensian factory worker would shout to another.

"Oh, he 'retired' last Tuesday. The funeral was very well-attended."

The modern model for retirement was created by Otto von Bismarck, chancellor of Germany, in 1883. He announced that the state would pay a pension to any non-working citizen older than 65, setting in place an arbitrary retirement age that still exists to this day.

Bismarck was no fool. Living in a time almost 50 years before penicillin was discovered, very few people had the good fortune -- or good health -- to make it to 65, ensuring that state coffers weren't depleted by this early form of Social Security.

Things are much different today, with the average life expectancy in the United States 78.71 years. And scientists -- real ones, not the mad-type -- have recently announced that they believe the first person to live 150 years is already alive.

All this should lead you to question whether you should even aspire to retire, but if it doesn't, here are five reasons you might want to continue working, at least in some capacity, as long as you are able.

You Will Die Much Faster

Do you really need four more reasons not to retire? "He retired, then he died," isn't the ideal epitaph on your headstone, but a number of studies suggest that death comes sooner to those who retire.

One study, which followed the lives of former Shell Oil workers for 20 years, concluded that those who retired early had a significantly higher mortality rate than those who continued to work.

A similar study tracking the lives of more than 16,000 Greek citizens found that retirees were 51 percent more likely to die than those of their same age who continued to work.

The link between retirement and early death may have to do with a decrease in activity -- as most retirees live a more sedentary life once they no longer work -- that can lead to increased health problems. Regular exercise may limit these problems and help to extend your life, but remember, most of us will skip the gym before skipping work.

You Will Have a Hard Time Making Your Money Last

So let's assume that you do hit the gym regularly, stay in good health and live well past your retirement date. That just means your money has to last longer as well. Running out of money is the ultimate fear for retirees, and nobody should have to spend every waking moment of their sunset years worrying about where every penny goes.

However, if you continue to work, even if it's just part-time, you will use less of the money you have saved, which will enable you to remain secure in your finances, live a better lifestyle or even put more away more for your loved ones' inheritance.

You Really Don't Want To Spend That Much Time With Your Family

Speaking of those loved ones ... Though many people will tell you that they look forward to their retirement years so they can spend more time with their grandchildren or significant other, reality might surprise you.

Sure, you love your grand-kids, but part of the reason is because you see them in small doses, and at the end of the day they can go home. If you have grand-kids, you already "did your time" dealing with their parents, aka your ungrateful and unappreciative children, so why let them off the hook by being the new on-call nanny?

And of course your love you spouse, but do you love him or her enough to be together 24/7? You'd have to be a saint to handle that. Even Nelson Mandela, a great man of peace and love, who spent 28 years in the worst prison conditions imaginable, got separated from his wife less than two years after he was released.

Work is often the "break" you need from family, allowing you to have a happy and healthy relationship with them.

You Are Not Going to Learn to Play Guitar

A common myth we tell ourselves about time is that if we only had enough of it, we would do "X."

For example, despite never playing a single down, I spent four years on the football team in high school. I often tell myself that if I hadn't been wasting my time at practices and games, I could have used that time to learn an instrument, a language or a new skill.

But chances are that I would have just watched more daytime television. And since memorizing the dialogue of every episode of "Hogan's Heroes" or "Get Smart" isn't a resumehighpoint, I was probably better off being out in the fresh air, getting exercise and learning how to be a part of a team.

Most things you think you will do when you retire you won't, because if you really wanted to, you would have found a way to do them already.

You Are Going to Be Bored

Many of us remember that guy from our youth who never seemed to work and who would always call us up on a Tuesday night wanting to go out. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Though at the time we might have been envious of him –- who seemed to have taken early retirement -– we should have learned a valuable lesson.

When you are retired, every day is a Saturday. But when every day is a Saturday, no day is a Saturday.

As human beings, we need meaning in our lives, and work gives us meaning. The reason we enjoy our weekends is because we work hard during the week, accomplishing things, and "earn" our leisure time.

The trap we fall into with retirement is thinking that a life of leisure and lack of responsibility is the ideal state for happiness. But you are more likely to find yourself unsatisfied with your retirement years, both financially and emotionally, if you don't have some type of work to give your life purpose.

No man is an island, or even a peninsula, so I encourage your feedback in the comments below. And don't forget to pick up my book, "Trading: The Best of the Best -- Top Trading Tips for Our Time."

Originally published