Do You Have a Plan for your Life in Retirement?
by Larry Steward, Work In Retirement Coach
I enjoy reading stories from fellow members here about how you made your move to retirement and what activities you are involved in now. We all experience a long journey to get here, and I'm sure everyone had various visions as to what to expect. I'm curious if your pre-retirement perceptions matched up to reality when you got there. I witness my father go from working hard to embrace the life of leisure when he retired. That was the standard practice back then. Unfortunately, he didn't get to enjoy his retirement for long as cancer took him from us.
For a long time, my vision of retirement would be a joyful transition to escape the pressures of work and finally kick back to smell the roses. I mean, what could be better than sleeping in late and doing anything you liked or nothing at all? The reality for me was I needed to keep earning a living. I soon discovered there was a growing trend of people in retirement planning to continue working.
Some continue to work because they enjoy what they are doing and they want to beef up their retirement savings. That's my reason for continuing to work. Others appear to be working because they have to and don't necessarily enjoy the work they are doing. Then there is a third reason. This group is not concerned about the income, but instead, they bring their vast experience to working on something meaningful to them as well as being connected to others with the same interests.
When I saw my retirement period approaching I was pleased to have good health as I continued working as usual. However, I did have a concern about how long could I do the home improvement work I was involved in. At my age then I knew a change of career was in store. I both wanted and needed to continue earning an income. I drew on my previous 12 years of executive career coaching experience to develop my new plan. My target was to return to coaching but make a change from career management to become a life coach. After much research, I narrowed my target to become a retirement coach specifically to help those who planned to continue working like me.
I thought back then that I was in the minority to continue working in retirement. Now the surveys show a majority of people moving into retirement are planning to work in one form or another. What concerns as a retirement coach, is that many of the working retirees seem to be working only for the money but do not enjoy what they are doing. I have always felt that if you don't enjoy your work, you should make a change. But we all know that is not as easy as it may sound. However, for those in their retirement years who are planning to work you especially deserve to love what you're doing.
I worked hard on developing my transition back to coaching. I was working full time in my home improvement business, so finding the time and energy to develop my plan was a challenge. But I stuck with it and I am glad I did. I genuinely feel for the first time in my life that I am operating on purpose. I am doing something I love to do and helping others find their passion too.
To operate from passion is something I feel most all coaches embrace. Is the word passion overused? I don't think so. Let me share with you what Robert Laura, the founder of The Retirement Coaches Association, says about this:
People make their way through life and into retirement in various ways. But it’s the time, experience, and wisdom that individuals accumulate on their way that makes it an ideal time to find a new, or live out a real passion.
Living retirement with a passion helps resolve personal and financial issues common among both new and longer-term retirees, including replacing the work identity you left behind, staying close to friends, and remaining mentally sharp as well as physically healthy. It can give retirees something to be thankful for every night and a reason to wake up smiling every morning.
Finding your passion isn’t as difficult as one may think. You’ll know you have found your purpose in life when you can say that your pursuit of it is Timeless, Tireless, and causes Contagious Energy.
It’s essential to carry that concept into retirement because, for some reason, people think retirement is so different, almost foreign when it’s compared to the life they were living while employed. But there is nothing magical about retirement itself. Retirement is a blank slate where we have an opportunity to fill it with what matters most. It’s also a privilege that many never get to experience, so the time allotted to a retiree should be approached with purpose and intention. For added perspective, consider that there is nothing automatic about retirement. It doesn’t just unfold into the most significant time of your life. It takes time, practice, and concentrated efforts to make it the best it can be.
My simple starting point toward living a passionate retirement includes asking yourself the following questions:
1) What feels timeless when you do it?
2) What can you relentlessly pursue and never grow tired of it?
3) What is a constant source of energy in both your words and actions?
Taking the time to reflect on these questions regularly can make you a member of a very exclusive club, and put you years ahead of less-prepared people moving toward retirement. There is a catch, however. Like other aspects of life, finding and living a passionate retirement isn’t free or secure. It takes time, requires discipline, demands commitment, and won’t come without practice.
Finding your passion will add the momentum you need to make things happen. Whether your retirement passion ends up being some form of mentoring, higher learning, traveling, gardening, or helping others you’ll probably have to make some sacrifices to make it a regular part of your life, it could be as simple as sacrificing time away from TV or something more impactful like time away from family and friends. Unfortunately, too many people expect that their passion or mission in retirement will just come along one day, like a birthday or holiday, and merely reveal itself. But just as I had my own A-ha moment when I zeroed in on my passion, so too may be the case if you’re willing to put yourself in situations and circumstances that expose you to new and different opportunities.
A special announcement to all Retirement-Online members:
For those of you who are determined to find something you would love to do in your retirement years and make money doing it, we are planning an online workshop at Retirement-Online to assist you with that effort. We are looking for a small group of participants to kick the first session off. It will be a six-week program to help you figure out your strongest abilities, interests, and experiences you can offer and create an action plan to move you through this process.
If you are interested to work closely with Wendy and me on this mission, please let us know by listing your name here. This is not a commitment to sign up. It simply lets us know how many of you are interested to learn more. We will send you more information as details of the program are finalized.
Thanks in advance for showing your interest.