Finding Meaning and Purpose in Retirement

Written by: Kurt Haller | Certified Financial Planner, Hallerwealth | December 3, 2018

While we are employed, doing the daily grind, chipping away at our ever expanding email inbox and returning all those missed calls, we often find ourselves dreaming of the day we get to finally retire. We picture stress free, relaxation and a life filled with happiness. 

We envisage less responsibility and commitment to things our current life demands. But what we don’t realise is that with responsibility and commitment, comes a sense of purpose and meaning. Many people are unprepared for life after work — and not just when it comes to money. When we retire, we often miss the feeling of being respected and valued in the workplace. This is why it is necessary that before you retire, you take the time to contemplate where you will find meaning and purpose in retirement.

While you are busy working full time, you find time for hobbies and interests that you enjoy, so you naturally will think, when you retire you will simply do more of that. Whether that be more golf, more fishing, more painting, more travelling, or more time with friends and family. That element of doing more recreational activities will be fine for the honeymoon phase of retirement, when everything will feel like you are on one big holiday. But after a while, those recreational activities might not provide enough personal satisfaction or a sense of purpose. 

The best way to ensure your life in retirement is meaningful is to plan ahead. Getting in some well deserved rest and relaxation is definitely high on the list, but there is a limit to the amount of naps, pottering around the house, gardening, baking and daytime television a person can do. Without a plan for life in retirement, many retirees may find themselves feeling unfulfilled and restless, craving something more but not knowing what that something might be. Focusing on the financial aspects of retirement is important, but the personal side of your retirement plan is just as important and could ultimately guide how you use your retirement assets. 


When you are looking to buy that new caravan, or possibly even that new golf club, where do you go? Do you pick up a magazine? Do you start searching the internet? Do you listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos of interviews with real people sharing their experiences?

Whatever research you would normally undertake about purchasing a new item, you could undertake to finding the pursuit of your new passion. Through your own personal research, you may find a new meaning for life in retirement, and to get you started, here are a few interesting reads to check out. 



Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl laboured in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife died. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”), holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful. At the time of Frankl’s death in 1997, Man’s Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in 24 languages. 



As the population ages and the world changes, retirement (as we know it) is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. If you are serious about planning for life after work, End of the Retirement Age is an inspirational guide to the challenges and opportunities of the new retirement landscape. Written to empower existing and soon-to-be retirees to take control of their futures – financially, socially and emotionally – End of the Retirement Age shares the inspiring stories of retirees and experts to show the colourful ways Australians are redefining ageing. 


Remember, everyone is different and what others find enjoyable and fulfilling might not appeal to you. For many, it’s a slow transition. Your retirement should be about you, so keep looking until you find something that really interests you and adds meaning and purpose to your life. 

If you are in the process of planning your retirement we can help you by offering advice and guidance as to how you might find purpose and meaning in your life after retirement.

Success North Queensland