Overcoming The “Dark Side” of Retirement

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If the mere mention of the word retirement induces anxiety, and conjures images of boredom and emptiness, you wouldn’t be alone. Much has been written about the pitfalls and negative aspects of retirement, and clearly, without a plan in place, retirement can certainly have a dark side. Conversely, we are bombarded with images of the delightful older couple strolling on the beach, golfing, and travelling to exotic locales. So, wherein lies the truth about retirement?

As it turns out, the truth lies in the amount of time and energy that is spent in preparation for this major life transition. The shift into retirement is so much more than a financial event, and success during this period requires it to be treated as such. The years of financial preparation are important and necessary, yet this addresses only part of the retirement equation. The more complicated and often overlooked part is the ability to create a happy and fulfilling retirement lifestyle. Not surprisingly, those who have little else in their lives outside of work, tend to struggle the most with this transition. Executives and professionals, whose lives may have been primarily dedicated to their work, may experience more difficulty detaching from their corporate lives than most.

When one’s whole identity is tied to the status and power that accompanies their top positions, the decision to delay leaving as long as possible may seem like a good solution to the retirement question. Many organizations do not prepare their employees for retirement and few programs exist that serve to prepare for this major life transition. As a result, people are heading into retirement with little or no idea of how they will fill their time or find fulfillment.

The psychological implications of retirement can be huge. Work provides so much more than a pay cheque for most. Figuring out how to replace all the benefits that work provides, poses a real concern for those considering retirement. Among other things, work offers an affirmation of one’s worth, a sense of value, daily structure and perhaps most importantly, it provides a social network. When these are abruptly removed, as in the case of retirement, it follows that some may feel a bit untethered and without purpose.

So, is the answer just to avoid retirement? For many, the solution is to keep on working until they physically can’t any longer or for health reasons. Others will retire without a plan and struggle with boredom and emptiness. However, there will be those who start to plan well in advance of their retirement date. It is these folks who will find success in their post-work lives.

With advances in health care and increasing longevity, we might spend as much time outside of our working life as we ever spent in it. Facing the prospect of 30 or more years with nothing meaningful to do can be quite disheartening and overwhelming. While some may choose to return to work in some form, either part-time, as a consultant or even full-time in a new career, those who don’t must begin to plan for a whole new life outside of work. Enlisting the services of a professional retirement coach, consulting with friends and family, and some deep self-examination are all great places to start the transition process.

If the “dark side” of retirement is boredom, diminished self-worth and isolation, then we must seek out new activities, goals and people that will foster the self-esteem, fulfillment, and meaningful relationships that were previously provided by work. This very self-centered introspection might feel uncomfortable at first, but the time spent discovering core values, purpose, and your identity outside of work, will be richly rewarded. Ideally this work should begin several years before your actual retirement date.

Questions to Consider:

 

  1. Who am I when I’m not at work?
  2. What activities give me pleasure and/or a sense of accomplishment?
  3. Which of my relationships do I want to nurture/leave/work on?
  4. Do I need/want to grow my social network?
  5. What have I always wanted to do/learn but never had the chance to try?
  6. How can I make a difference for others?
  7. What purpose do I want my life to serve?
  8. What do I want to accomplish before I die?

 

The key then to avoiding the “dark side” of retirement is to become intimately familiar with who you are when you are not your corporate self. To avoid the profound sense of loss at leaving, it is worth taking a hard look at what you get from your work. The list might include status, social network, structure, and accomplishment, among other things. The years leading up to retirement can be spent deciding which of those things must continue to be a part of your life and which ones can be left behind.

Developing clarity in who you are, and identifying your core values will assist in finding new activities at which you can express your talents and passions. Maintaining an open mind, a willingness to learn, and a certain amount of good humour can help in dispelling the fear of change that is inevitable with such a major transition. The challenge is to learn to know yourself well enough to enable you to create a new life that will meet your retirement dreams as you leave behind your corporate life. A well thought out plan and a great attitude will light the way towards your next chapter as you leave the “dark side” of retirement well behind.

 

 

 

 

Retiring Like a Chameleon

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I had a retirement coaching conversation with a fellow recently, which turned out to be refreshingly different than the kind I have with most. This gentleman is a serious mover and shaker in his industry, well known to many and highly respected by all who know him. In retirement, he wants to stay the same on the inside, but he wants to be different on the outside. By appearing differently on the outside, he hopes that others will engage with him in a different manner than they currently do. He just wants to be a normal guy, and he doesn’t want to be seen as “the boss” any longer.

In retirement, he wants to shed his work persona, and retire from his reputation. While he very much appreciates and is grateful for the status and the respect he is granted, he is poised to leave it all behind. He has a favourite charity where he has enjoyed a longstanding leadership role. His challenge is to figure out how to work quietly in this realm where he has long been regarded as the guru. In retirement he wants to lick the envelopes now, not the run the thing! He still wants to contribute to an industry that is extremely meaningful to him, but in a vastly different manner. He said he would like to be like a chameleon; be the same guy, with the same goals and values, just appear differently to people who know him only as “the boss”. My client’s goal is to shed the obvious trappings of being the boss; the status, the authority, and the decision-making so that he can work and be treated as a volunteer just like everyone else.

One of the keys to retirement lies in our ability to adapt to our environment. Be the same person and do many of the same things, perhaps just look a little differently doing them. Kind of like a chameleon.

The chameleon never stops being the same creature. The magic lies in its ability to be the same creature but change its appearance to enable or enhance survival. In retirement, we are still the same person. However, our happiness and ability to thrive depends on our ability to change some things about ourselves. Indeed, our goals and values might remain exactly the same, but the way we accomplish them can be different.

Retirement success requires adaptability. For some, the changes need to happen on the inside where values, goals and purpose are revisited. For others it might simply be an exterior adaptation. As in the case with this gentleman, he knows exactly what he wants to do with his life so that he will be engaged, happy and fulfilled. His adaptation is more of an outside job. He wants the world to engage with him as something other than the boss, and it is his challenge to find a way to get the world to see him a bit differently.

While some may be reluctant to change or want to stick with all that they know, the folks that will be happiest in retirement are the ones that embrace the unknown as a welcome change into their lives. A positive mental attitude goes a long way in preparing us for the dramatic changes that happen in retirement. All of this will depend on one’s ability to adapt. My client who has been the “boss” for so many years is focusing his attention on interacting with his fellow volunteers in a different way. It is his responsibility to teach others how he is different and how he would like to be regarded. As with many worthwhile things in life, it can be difficult. However, he is keenly aware that his happiness in retirement lies in his ability to show others who he is becoming.

Like many retirees, my client can learn a lot from the chameleon, a creature that has mastered the art of changing in response to its environment so that it can thrive. Kind of like what is needed for a successful retirement!

 

 

 

 

What Will Get You Out Of Bed When You Retire?

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I attended a funeral this week. The gentleman who passed away was 96 years old and by all accounts enjoyed a long and happy life. While the sadness at his passing was palpable in the room, I came away with a newfound admiration for this man after listening to the eulogy delivered by his sons.

In my retirement coaching practice, one of the most common worries expressed by my clients is their fear of being bored and feeling they will be of little value in their retirement. For sure, some continue to live very full lives and know exactly how they will spend their foreseeable future. However, the loss of status and the ensuing social isolation that often comes with retirement continues to plague many long after they cease working.

Study after study shows us that those with a purpose do better in all stages of life. These people express deep satisfaction with their life because they engage in activities that provide meaning and fulfillment as opposed to ones that just fill time. We are all unique and we will each have different activities that satisfy our need to be purposeful. For some, it is spending time with family, or it may be travelling and discovering the world. And for others, continuing to volunteer or work in some capacity is what drives them. Clearly, those who report the greatest satisfaction in their lives are the ones that get something from the activities that they choose. Frequently those activities are charitable in nature, where the volunteer feels a sense of pride and accomplishment in helping others. The ones who struggle are those who have yet to land on activities that provide that wonderful feeling of satisfaction.

So my recently deceased 96-year-old friend spent almost as many years in retirement as he did in his formal career. He retired at 65 from an illustrious career in the financial industry. Not one to sit idle, he embarked on a series of trips that had been sitting on his bucket list for a long time. Once the travel bug was satiated, he accepted a 2 year consulting contract position on a Caribbean island. Not only did this satisfy his travel urge, but it provided a welcome source of income, and his desire to continue to do meaningful work. When that ended he did some pro bono work for aboriginal groups. Now into his 70’s, he was feeling the urge to spend more quality time with his large extended family. He purchased a summer cottage where he hosted many family events and was able to satisfy his life long love of the outdoors and embrace his inner “Mr.Fix-it”.

His sons regaled us with tale after tale of how their father joined service groups, sang in choirs, and even earned how to play a variety of instruments. I marvelled at how this man was able to live his retirement years with joy and deep satisfaction. My favourite image was one in which his son said that at the age 86 his father was frustrated that his alarm clock had quit working. When it was suggested to him that at his age he shouldn’t be jumping at the sound of an alarm clock anymore, he fired back that the ladies in his bride club would be extremely disappointed in him if he showed up late! I love the image of a life so filled with meaningful activities that missing any of it due to a broken alarm clock could indeed be a catastrophe.

I came away with deep respect for a life well lived with both purpose and pleasure. This is the goal that I hold for my clients entering retirement. The secret lies in discovering the activities that provide a sense of self worth, nourish the soul, and perhaps most of all, provide happiness. This gentleman found a compelling reason to get out of bed everyday for 96 years. Do you have a compelling reason to keep your alarm clock? What will it take to get you to leap out of bed in your retirement?

What Frog Catching Taught Me About Ageism

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I spent the Canada Day weekend frogging. If you’re not sure what that means, you probably haven’t spent time at a cottage with a 12 year old boy. My intention was to spend the weekend with my feet up and sipping Sangria on the dock, not filling buckets with frogs for later release.

The boundless energy of a 12 year old can be tough to keep up with, but I’m always game to give it a go. This weekend was no different except that now I am lugging around a purple cast from a recently broken arm. While he bounced around from one activity to the next, I found myself taking a bit longer to get things done. “Hurry up!” is what I heard over and over. When I lagged behind while on frog catching detail, his final cry was “Don’t be such a grandma!” Well Hmmph! I suppose that wouldn’t have stung so much if I was actually his grandmother…but I’m not. I’m his aunt!

Of course, everybody chuckled and quickly joined in the chorus, “hurry up grandma!” Now I can take a joke as well as anybody, and I laughed too. But lately, I’ve heard so much abut ageism as the most tolerated form of prejudice, that I couldn’t help but notice how it slips into our conversations with very little awareness on our part.

In my retirement coaching business, I encounter clients who experience a fair amount of ageism. Some folks experience it in the workplace, others in their families, but it is rampant out there. It hadn’t really occurred to me how much we do it without even being aware of it. But this harmless little example reminded me that we need to be more conscious of our language and how without even being aware, we demean others and ourselves. With his “hurry up grandma” comment, not only did I feel the sting of being associated with an old person, but his actual grandmother reacted to it as well. “Whats wrong with being a grandma anyway?” she called out.

In one comment, poking fun at my ridiculously slow attempts to catch a frog, I realized how the language we use can conjure images of mental or physical frailty, disdain, and even incompetence. This ageism and the words we choose, can lead younger generations to make unfair assumptions about the capabilities of older people solely based on age.

When he called me grandma, I’m confidant he did not intend to insult anyone, just to poke fun at my slow pace. Interestingly, his choice of words suggested that my slow, slightly uncoordinated movements were comparable to a grandmother. On the surface it seems ok. But is it really? Is it ok to demean “grandmas” like that? Isn’t it like stereotyping all grandmothers as slow and incompetent? Seems like making unfair assumptions about people simply based on their age. Perhaps most intriguing, was that everybody in the group (including me) had a good laugh at the comparison. Wouldn’t it have been better to compare me with something that actually is slow? Like molasses in January, or maybe a turtle?

And what’s up with my reaction? How dare he call me a grandma? My knee-jerk reaction was “hey, don’t call me old!” Why does the idea of being old conjure such a negative reaction? Seems some of us have a long way to go when it comes to conquering ageism. Is the idea of being old the problem? Or is it the negative stereotype that bothers us? These labels tell us very little about the actual capabilities of people, who they are and what they stand for. We all know people who have lived many years that are perfectly fit, healthy and don’t fit that stereotype. Maybe it’s time to become more aware of our own feelings about aging.

Now the real grandma in the group, feeling mildly insulted, set us all straight. She hopped in the water, scooped up a frog, tossed it into the bucket with a smug grin and announced that grandmothers can be good froggers too. Lesson learned!

So, why do we talk like that? For the most part, we don’t intend to insult anyone. But our language in the area of ageism has rarely been checked before. Over the years, we have all learned to check our language about other “isms”, such as sexism and racism. But ageism is still rampant and we are not usually conscious of doing it.

Not only do we do it to others, but we do it to ourselves as well! How often have you heard someone say, “I’m having a senior moment”, or “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, or “I’m over the hill”. We associate our aging with negativity.

People who are entering retirement today want a different experience with aging. They want to be recognized as people with plenty to offer, without the unfair assumptions of their abilities based on age. They are working hard to reduce ageism in our society. Learning to check our language is one small way that we can all help.

After we got on with the frog catching, to my astonishment, I actually managed to scoop up a frog. A particularly slow frog, but still… Upon closer inspection, I was told to let him go. “Let the poor thing go. He’s old,” he said. Hmmm what to make of that? Why the association of old with being a “poor thing?” Ageist language is a thing and we all need to become more aware of how we use it. We need to challenge our assumptions of aging and educate ourselves on the many valuable contributions of our older adults. With ageism there is still so much to learn. But who thought I’d be learning this lesson from a kid and a frog? Well, why not?

 

 

 

What My Broken Arm Taught Me About Retirees

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Today I went to the emergency room. A pleasant, early evening bike ride quickly turned bad when a little girl on a shiny pink bike suddenly veered into my path. Forced to make a split second decision, my option to dive into the bushes rather than collide head on with the tyke, left me with a bruised ego and a broken arm. Consoling myself with the notion that sacrificing my well being for hers was a noble act, kept me distracted me for a little while. However, that warm fuzzy feeling began to dissipate as a dull ache proceeded to spread up my arm. After five hours in the emergency room, I emerged with a bright purple forearm cast and strict instructions to stay off my bike (and pretty much everything else) for the next six weeks. Definitely not how I had intended to spend the first weeks of summer!

So, why am I writing about this on my retirement blog? True, it’s not directly about retirement. However, my visit to the hospital brought home for me a point that I’m constantly putting forward to my clients. In my retirement coaching practice, I urge retirees to find meaningful activities to fill their time. So often, people miss the point, and strive to simply fill their days. Of course, filling your day with activities for the sake of being busy is a vastly different thing than filling your days with things that provide meaning and a sense of accomplishment.

During my long wait in emergency, x-ray and the fracture clinic, I had ample opportunity to observe the goings-on of a major hospital trauma centre. Pretty much everybody there was experiencing some sort of distress. Patients were dealing with pain, anxiety and fear over their injuries and illness, and family members were struggling with anxiety and concern for their loved ones. Tempers run short and anxiety runs high in these situations…especially when the wait is long. Hospital staff worked hard to see patients as quickly as they could, offered ice and other assistance as needed during the waiting period. However, it soon became clear to me that the quick smiles and ready offers of assistance from the army of volunteers made a huge difference for many. What struck me most was that the vast majority of these volunteers were retirees.

The work that these volunteers were doing falls squarely into what I call “purposeful activity”. It’s the kind of activity that offers a service to others and provides them with a great feeling of satisfaction. Each and every retiree that was volunteering during my hospital visit was friendly and more than willing to offer a helping hand. My personal favourite was the gentleman who saw me struggling to get my credit card into the parking machine.   After dropping it twice, he politely asked if I needed assistance. While my first instinct was to say no because of my desire to be independent, I saw how much this man wanted to help me. With my aching dominant hand all wrapped up in my pristine purple cast, I reconsidered and accepted his offer. Just like that, he made my day. I got help and a smile. It was a genuinely lovely interaction at the end of a long, uncomfortable day at the hospital. Now that’s what I call purposeful activity!

 

Retiring? Better Have “The Talk” With Your Partner!

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Have you and your partner had “the talk?” You know; the one where you tell your partner that you’re retiring soon and that you’ll be kicking around the house a whole lot more. A successful conversation will be more likely if you appreciate that your partner might have a different perspective on how this whole retirement thing should unfold.

 

Before retirement, most couples have a long established pattern of how they typically live and work together. They’re usually pretty clear on the division of household labour, how they spend time together and how they spend time apart. At retirement, those routines are disrupted and suddenly couples are dismayed when they start bumping into each other around the house. Couples, who don’t have a plan to deal with the realities of this new togetherness, may need to re-learn how to be around their spouses so much.

 

Partners may have different visions of what retirement will look like, when retirement will begin, and how they should allocate their time and financial resources. With all this togetherness, each may feel that the other is cramping their style, and friction can occur if partners do not discuss their new domestic order. Each person’s retirement is a significant life event for him or her as an individual, but one that also has an impact on the marriage. As with many things in life, good communication can help minimize potential issues. Each spouse needs to hear and understand what the other’s goals and perception of retirement might be. It’s usually best to face any differences early on rather than letting them fester and become a larger source of conflict.

 

What Do You Need To Talk About?

 

  1. Expectations on how time will be spent together and apart – “me” and “we” time
  2. Timing of retirement – will you retire together or at different times?
  3. Sharing of household responsibilities – will the person usually responsible for household management continue to do so? Will one partner expect more help now that the other is home?
  4. Social life and relationships within and outside of the family – does one partner have a larger social circle than the other? Do you expect your partner to fulfill all your needs? How much time will be devoted to children/grandchildren?
  5. Where to live – stay where you are, downsize, move to new location?
  6. Changing roles and identities – who are each of you becoming?
  7. How to fulfill meaning and purpose in life – what activities will give meaning to your days
  8. Reconciling different retirement dreams and goals- Will you both want the same things? What will you do together? Apart?
  9. Travel and leisure expectations – do you both want to travel? Do you want to go the same places? Will you engage in leisure activities together/apart?
  10. Finances – are you in agreement about how money will be spent/allocated to different areas of your life?

 

Retirement can put a real strain on a marriage, but it doesn’t have to! The key to a happy retirement lies in the plan that you create with your partner. Remaining flexible as you both adjust to your new life together will go a long way toward a smooth transition into retirement. Success depends on each partner’s willingness to clearly express expectations, desires and goals for the future. You must be willing to tell your partner when you’re feeling crowded or neglected. Your partner couldn’t read your mind before retirement and won’t likely be any better after it, so brush up on your communication skills and work together to clearly understand each other’s retirement desires. Having a plan in place is the key to creating the retirement of your dreams.

 

 

 

What Is Retirement Coaching?

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Retirement looks different than it used to, and the transition from the workforce can be a daunting one. The structure, social network, and routines that are left behind can leave a considerable void in people’s lives. It can be challenging so many older workers simply ignore, or put off planning for the emotional elements of their upcoming retirement. After all, like all unknowns, it can be uncomfortable…

Initially, it might be easy to imagine how retirement will look. After all, you may have been planning your bucket list for years. However, the bucket list and the excitement that it brings, might only sustain you for a time. At some point, the quest for excitement begins to wane and the desire for something more meaningful replaces it. Rather than racking up a series of once in a lifetime moments, the desire to engage in something meaningful comes to the fore.

People turn to a retirement coach when the notion of retirement brings up anxiety instead of excitement. The main goal of retirement coaching is to clarify not just what you’re going to do, but perhaps more importantly, who you are going to be. It’s important that we don’t under-estimate the importance of work in our lives. Work fulfills our deep human need for status, structure, money, friendship and so much more. For those that judge their self-worth by their work, retirement can appear to be empty, lonely and feel like a time of loss.

Coaching works to help us define ourselves outside of work, focus on what really matters, and begin to access other sources of fulfillment. A coach will help you begin to differentiate your corporate self from your authentic self by determining your values, dreams and talents that exist outside of your work. Since this may involve a deeper and more introspective kind of thinking than you’re used to, a coach can enhance this process with provocative questions and focused exercises.

Retirement can be a challenging transition. Working with a coach can help you reframe your current vision of retirement and work towards a more positive appreciation of what lies ahead. Clarifying values, leveraging strengths, and challenging perspectives are all part of the role of the coach in helping you design a meaningful retirement. Creating an action plan that puts into practice new skills and perspectives keep you moving toward the meaningful life that is richly deserved in retirement. A coach works alongside you to encourage you, see things inside you that you might not even be aware of, and keep you accountable to your goals. Retirement is no longer regarded as a time of decline, but rather as an opportunity to live your best life. If a coach can help you do that, then why not?

 

Ready to Redefine Yourself In Retirement?

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Most of us have a pretty clear idea of who we are. Or at least we know who we’ve been for a really long time now. But once retired, it’s not quite so easy to define who we are. Given the sheer number of years we spend in the labour force, many of us find that our work becomes ingrained in how we identify ourselves. In fact, the more we embrace our corporate culture, the more that culture defines not just what we do, but also who we are. If our corporate self is the main pillar of our identity, it follows then that retiring can leave us wondering who we are when our job no longer fills that role. The anxiety that wells up from these unknowns is uncomfortable and we push them out of our thoughts to be dealt with later. Well, later is coming, and who are you anyway, when you shed your corporate identity?

Who Are You Now?

Writer, nurse, plumber, teacher, banker… It is highly likely that if asked to describe yourself before retirement, many of the words you choose would be related to your professional life. Since you can’t take your corporate identity with you into retirement, it can be stressful to imagine a life where these adjectives no longer truly describe you. A successful shift into retirement mode, calls on us to let go of our old self-concept and take on a new identity. It’s a time to disengage from how we used to see ourselves and envision something new.

As you retire from your corporate self, you have the wonderful opportunity to reinvent yourself. It is time to look beyond your work and come to a deeper understanding of your intrinsic value. It is time to dig deeply and start to address the question that asks, “Who am I?””

Tips For Redefining Yourself

Time spent discovering what gives your life meaning, what matters to you most, and what drives you, is an ideal starting point. The more you make choices based on your core values, the more likely it is that you will feel a sense of satisfaction with yourself.

Consider the following as you work towards creating a new definition of you.

Discover your core values – the ones that drive everything you do

  1. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new– that’s where the magic happens
  2. List what you love most and do more of those things
  3. Pursue a passion – a new one or an old one
  4. Meet new people
  5. Discover which activities are fulfilling for you
  6. What do you want more of/less of in your life?
  7. Find a worthy cause that you truly believe in

 Take the time before you retire to understand the person you are becoming and where you find satisfaction in life outside of your work. Beware of falling into the mindset that you’re “too old” to change. Quite the opposite, with more time on your hands, this is the ideal time to focus on yourself. Retirement is the perfect opportunity to become who you’ve always wanted to be!

 

 

 

 

Retirement Anxiety… Why Do I Have This?

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It’s coming. Can’t stop it. You’re excited right? Who wouldn’t be excited about retiring?

Retirement Anxiety

What do you mean retirement anxiety? It’s not as if you didn’t know it was going to happen. For something as fully predictable as retirement, it’s shocking how many of us are overwhelmed at the notion of leaving our old lives behind. Or is it that we’re just not sure of what lies ahead?

In my retirement coaching practice, my clients routinely express a generalized anxiety about their approaching retirement. Not surprisingly, the ones who don’t feel that way, have been planning their retirement for years and have a pretty clear idea of what it’s going to look like. Most of us find it difficult to think in the long term, and retirement is long term; it can last longer than your working life. We tend to procrastinate, because we have the illusion that we will have more time tomorrow. But retirement eventually comes, and without a great plan in place, so too comes the anxiety…

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Why Do You Have It?

 Retirement anxiety tends to surface when individuals are asked to visualize how the rest of their lives might look. How will you spend your days? Who will you spend them with? Where will you live? Even the most thoughtful amongst us may experience some anxiety when faced with these questions.

For years, our sense of worth and identity have revolved around the work that we do. It provided a sense of value, an identity, a social network, structure to our day, self-esteem and countless other benefits. It can be a shock when retirement arrives and you have nowhere to go, and nothing to do. It is only natural to grieve over the loss of something that took decades to build.

According to Richard P. Johnson, author of The New Retirement, “we must let go of our previous definition of ourselves and begin crafting a new definition that serves us in this new life we are carving for ourselves.” Without a successful resolution of this dilemma, we can suffer a loss of identity, boredom, and feelings of irrelevance.

And who wants that?

Is There A Cure?

 So, what’s the cure for retirement anxiety? Truthfully, it can be a daunting process, but it is manageable when started several years before you actually retire. The antidote to this anxiety is to redefine yourself well before you leave your work. The cure follows deep reflection and an attitude that retirement is a time of possibilities as opposed to a time of problems; a beginning and not an ending.

Redefine myself? How do I do that? Stay tuned…

A Retirement Lifestyle Blog…Why?

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Well…why not?  The boomers are starting to retire in droves, and we’re constantly bombarded with images of the approaching grey tsunami. Financial advisors are well prepared for this vast cohort of imminent retirees and can help us create a financial plan for the retirement of our dreams. And we are grateful for the financial advice they provide to us.

But hold on!  Is that really all that it takes to have a successful retirement? And what makes a successful retirement anyway?

 

THE STICKY, UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATION WE LIKE TO AVOID

The conversation that I would like to have is often avoided because it’s uncomfortable, and ventures into that squirm-inducing territory of the unknown.  That conversation often begins something like this. You’re at a cocktail party and someone lobs the inevitable question your way. “What will you do all day when you’re retired?” I’m guessing you either panicked at the realization that you didn’t have a reasonable answer, or you muddled your way through, before quickly excusing yourself to refill your drink. Regardless of your response, I hope that this blog will provide some insight into this sticky cocktail query. On the other hand, if you have a great answer to those questions, that’s awesome! Join the conversation anyway and give the rest of us a hand.

 

PREPARED? HARDLY…

 

The truth is, most of us are pretty diligent when it comes to preparing financially for retirement. Even if we haven’t fully reached our financial goals, we have, at a minimum, given it some thought.  However, when it comes to planning how we will spend the next 3 or 4 decades of our lives…not so much.

The whole notion of retirement is changing quickly and it doesn’t look a whole lot like the retirements of previous generations. Boomers have been notorious for driving change, and this time of their lives appears to be no different. The new retirement, the one that we will talk about here, is one that is focused on purposeful living. The challenge is to create a plan to make that happen.

 

SO LETS PLAN

My mission is to consider pretty much all the non-financial stuff in planning your retirement lifestyle like; how do we create meaning in our lives? How do we replace things like social connections, status, structure, respect, self-esteem that we got from our work? Hopefully, this blog will encourage you to reflect and clarify your thoughts on these matters and assist you to construct your own unique responses to the dreaded “what will you do?” question!

 

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