When it comes to retirement wishes, there are plenty of positive things that you can say. You can talk about the amazing contribution that your friend or coworker has made. You can focus on their passions. You can simply wish them all the best for their next great adventure. At the same time, there are certain retirement wishes that do more harm than good.

These Are the Worst Retirement Wishes

As the founder of Sixty and Me, I’ve heard more than my fair share of these – directly and through the women in our community. So, if someone you know is reaching retirement age, here are a few retirement wishes that you should avoid at all costs!

“Congratulations! You must be so excited to be able to relax!”

Contrary to how retirement is portrayed in the media, the great majority of seniors don’t plan on spending their days on the beach or at the golf course. Even if we could financially afford to “check out,” most of us would prefer to stay active. This retirement wish focuses too much on a narrow definition of retirement.

 
 

Instead, it is much better to focus on the next big adventure that your friend or coworker is facing. After all, they probably have a list of amazing things that they want to do – even if they have no idea how they will get to them.

“You must be so happy to be getting out of here!”

The truth is that not everyone is excited about leaving their job. Having a stable career is about more than financial security. Our jobs also give us strong social ties and a sense of importance. In fact, many older adults may resent the fact that they are being pushed out – either in a literal or an implied sense. Instead of assuming that retiring is a good thing, focus on what they mean to you. Then, wish them all the best for a happy, productive future.

“I’m so jealous! I wish I could play golf all day!”

There are so many things wrong with this retirement wish that it is difficult to know where to start. In fact, focusing on aging stereotypes is probably one of the worst ways to congratulate a friend or coworker. In addition to being one-dimensional, this wish has the potential to remind your friend of the difficult financial challenges that they are going to face in the coming years.

The truth is that very few of us have saved enough to retire in luxury. Even if we wanted to play golf all day, which most of us would not, we couldn’t afford it.

“You’re so lucky! No more stress. No more coming in to work.”

Forget how retirement is portrayed in the movies. For most of us, retirement is not a peaceful time. Don’t get me wrong, retirement can be amazing. With fewer commitments, you can finally focus on your passions.

That said, retirement is also stressful. Many of us have financial concerns. Almost all of us worry, in one way or another, about becoming a burden for our loved ones in our later years. Many of us will face loneliness of other health issues. So, by all means, wish your friend a happy retirement, but, don’t assume that they are entering a tranquil time where concerns are a thing of the past.

The bottom line is that retirement is not one-dimensional. It is just as complex as any other stage of our lives. It is filled with opportunities – but also with concerns. It is a time of looking back – and it is also a time of looking forward. I hope that these suggestions help you to pick the right retirement wishes for the special person in your life.

Let’s start a conversation.

What do you think are the worst retirement wishes? What do you think are the best? Why? Do you agree that retirement is not as simple as it is portrayed in the media? Please join the discussion!

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