Are You Unhappy at Work? Is Retirement the Right Answer?

Job satisfaction in the United States has been falling since the late 1980s.  Across all economic and age levels, around 50 percent of all American workers are unhappy at work according to the Conference Board who has been doing job satisfaction surveys for almost 20 years.
unhappy at work Is retirement the answer? Are you retiring to run away from work or run toward your future?
If you are unhappy with your job, is retirement the best solution?  Your answer will depend on a variety of factors.  Here are 5 questions to consider:

1. What is Causing You to Be Unhappy at Work?

According to Psychology Today, common reasons people are unhappy at work include: low pay, lack of job security, lack of social connections, dislike of the work itself, dissatisfaction about the work routine and bullying by coworkers.

Before you retire to escape your unhappiness, you might want to see if you can address the problem at work.

2. Are You Running Away or Running Toward Something?

No matter if you are 55 or 75, your life in retirement is likely to last 20-40 years.  That is a very long time.

It is important that you have a plan for what you want to do in retirement. And, ideally it is more than just escape your job. Study after study has shown that if you want to have a happy and healthy retirement, you need to be active and engaged.

And, retirees now view retirement more as a new beginning than a time of winding down.  Not sure what you want from your future?  Here are 120 ideas for what to do after retirement.

3. Do You Have Enough Money for Retirement?

Many of us work quite simply because we need the money.  We need the money for our day to day expenses and we need to save more for retirement before we quit for good.

However, a detailed retirement calculator can help you find other solutions besides work.  Could you downsize and cut expenses enough to live off what you have already saved?  How much longer do you really need to work?  What would happen if you were working part time for the next 3 years?  Do you know how much you have saved now and how quickly you will be spending it in retirement?

The NewRetirement retirement planner enables you to test out all of these scenarios and even more.

Input your current information and see where you stand right now, then try out different options until you come up with a realistic retirement plan that makes sense for you.  This tool was recently named a best retirement calculator by the American Association of Individual Investor’s (AAII).

4. Is a Job Transition a Better Option Than Retirement?

Work is not an all of nothing proposition.  Depending on your financial situation, working part time, finding a different job or even just taking a really long vacation might be a better alternative than retirement.

Explore:

5. Can You Find Ways to Be Happier at Work?

Maybe retirement is not a financial reality quite yet.  If you are unhappy at work but not ready to retire, what can you do to improve your job satisfaction?  A Time Magazine article cited scientifically proven ways to be happier at work, tips including:

  • Start the Day Right:  If you have a good start in the morning, then you are likely to feel better throughout the day.
  • Help Someone Out: Study after study has shown that helping others helps make you feel happier.  Whether you bring a work friend a snack from home or help a colleague on a project, you are likely to feel better about your job when you are contributing to the well being of the other people in your work environment.
  • Measure Your Accomplishments:  Life moves fast these days.  We are always rushing to the next thing.  However, it can help you feel happier at work if you take some time to actually write down your accomplishments.  Measuring your progress can be a daily, weekly or monthly routine that is sure to make you feel better.
  • Be Grateful: Feeling grateful is scientifically proven to increase happiness. And, no matter how much you dislike your job, there is probably something that you are grateful for — even if it is just the paycheck.  Take a moment at the end of each day to think about why you are grateful for the job.  Focus on the one or two good things instead of all the bad.

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