The Jewish Observer
News from Middle Tennessee's Jewish Community | Saturday, April 13, 2024
The Jewish Observer

Let's Talk Retirement: A Retirement Hagaddah

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Just as the Passover Haggadah tells the story of following the order during the Passover holiday, so this Retirement Haggadah details considerations for those who are looking towards retiring. 

Gather round as I share with you portions of some of the lessons learned from people who experienced their exodus from the world of full-time work. I offer these to each Jew to fulfill the mitzvah of ‘having a leg up’ so they may be ready for what lies ahead.  

After all, Retirement can be considered like the Passover story because retirees are brought out of slavery in the work-a-day world to the freedom of no obligations, no rigorous schedule, and a large swath of time to do what they want to do when they want to do it.  

This Haggadah is specifically offered to the 50+ with the hope of bringing them into the discussion. May it will be a starting point for a conversation that will emphasize the importance of planning ahead. 

First, the Four Questions: 


1. Why do I have to eat only healthy foods starting in my 50s when I still enjoy a good burger, fries, and a milk shake?  

Because watching your diet will help you stay healthy - and save money for the future by not having to buy new clothes. 

2. Why do I have to start thinking positive about getting up early to exercise when I’m still young, good-looking, and accomplishing? 

Because positive people are more resilient and can better handle future birthdays, gray hair, and forgetting someone’s name. 

3. Why should I make new friends with similar interests outside of work a priority when I hardly have time to take care of things at the office? 

Because when you make time to do things you like with new friends, you will have fun and stop talking about work all the time.   

4. Why is now the time to consider what really makes me feel satisfied and fulfilled when everyone around me always asks my opinion? 

Because when you do something that is truly fulfilling, you feel satisfied and not just full of yourself. 

As the Passover Haggadah points out, not everyone relates in the same way, and we must meet people where they are. Hence, here is how to more easily share the telling:   


FOR THE WISE 50+ -YEAR-OLDS who want to know what specifically is meant by this need to inform at such an early age.  

[To these I tell of people who did not plan and found when they retired, time was wasted figuring out what they really wanted rather than being ready for the adventures ahead.] 


FOR THE WICKED 50+-YEAR-OLDS who immediately give back this Haggadah, telling me to go and find someone who is old.  

[I say this information does apply to you. You will realize it when you begin to feel restless and start wondering, ‘Is this all there is?’ It will probably be around the same time you start noticing that most of your co-workers have never heard of Elvis.] 


FOR THE SIMPLE 50+ -YEAR-OLDS (not that there are any) it may be best to shorten the discussion by putting the information into a different delivery.  

[To best get the attention of this (fictious) group, I tell them it’s a good topic to discuss with their followers, and I’ll send the information via text, email, and an Instagram post.]   


FOR THE 50+ -YEAR-OLDS WHO DO NOT KNOW HOW TO ASK and turn away perplexed as to why I feel this is so important. 

[Here, I remind them that often things do not work themselves out based on discussions at the retirement party. I tell them that when they are ready to talk, they can contact me for help in planning their path forward.] 


This Haggadah is full of lessons learned on the retirement path. I hope it will help with avoiding the potholes.  

Wherever you are in the 50+ category, I wish you a successful and fulling retirement. By the way, Happy Passover! 




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