A retirement that’s more like winning a lottery? Three ways to help make that happen
When you picture your retirement, what does it look like? No more rude awakenings from your alarm clock… no more commuting to work in traffic or packed like a sardine into a subway train… no more taking orders from your boss.
Instead, you’ll be in paradise: basking on a chaise lounge by a pool, staring out at a sea view, sipping a cool Pina Colada. ‘La dolce vita’ indeed…
Or is it? Fast forward three months. How’s your back after weeks of lying down? Has that view become a little, well, samey? Are those Pina coladas starting to lose their tropical allure?
No wonder. You’ve stopped. And stopping is only enjoyable for so long…
Whatever you think about retirement will most likely become your reality. So, be careful what you wish for.
Whether your retirement is imminent or years away, a little planning beyond financial terms will go a long way towards ensuring this next phase of life is one you enjoy – and more importantly, continue to enjoy.
Here are three ways you can do this – and finally live the life you’ve dreamed about.
And the thing is – and this is why so few people achieve this – nobody talks about these (easily achievable) steps, which could frame the entire next stage of your life. So by reading this far, you’re ahead already.
1. Remain useful and relevant in retirement
You’ve lived a full life of at least half a century and believe it or not, you have accumulated a vast amount of knowledge, experience and skills in that time. Most of that is still largely useful and relevant.
So why are you not allowing younger people to benefit from it?
Peter Roget was an accomplished doctor who had retired, then started his Thesaurus at 69, which was published when he was 73. He continued editing it until into his nineties. Col. Harland Sanders didn’t start his fried chicken brand KFC until he was 62. American hotelier Chip Conley, aged 60, joined Airbnb at the age of 52 and contributed his emotional intelligence to the founders’ digital intelligence.
Chip Conley states that wisdom is about pattern recognition. And the older you are, the more patterns you’ve seen.
There’s an old saying: “When an elder dies, it’s like a library has burned down.” In the digital era, libraries – and elders – aren’t quite as popular as they used to be. But wisdom never grows old.
So be careful not to discard your years of wisdom, when many people actually need you and your knowledge, experience, and skills. This applies to everyone – from company chairmen to cobblers, from artists to actors, and from technicians to toilet cleaners.
As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation, and so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.”
2. Remember your health is your wealth
The vast majority of people have been programmed to save for retirement and many have done exactly that.
But at the same time, they have made little or no preparation or planning for what they will actually do in retirement. In fact, they will have done more planning for a wedding and honeymoon, which may last a week or two, than for retirement – which could in fact last up to 30 years.
Retirement is a whole new life: a whole new country and culture, even. If you aren’t prepared for the changes that will come into your life, your health will suffer.
For instance, in retirement one of the first things that will be impacted will be your perception of your self-worth. Most people define themselves through their work because that’s what others have valued in them. So when they retire, they feel devalued and this impacts their health.
What most people don’t realise is that when they retire, they have too much time on their hands and end up staying at home more with their spouses or with those they are closest to.
This will be as difficult an adjustment for you as it is for them, because many of the problems that were swept under the carpet while you were working, will re-surface and cause tensions. This, in turn, could impact your health. So seek advice on how to readjust and readapt your home life, your work life and your social life.
When you retire, it makes sense to start to do what you enjoy immediately, so you feel…
a) joy and a sense of accomplishment
b) that time passes in a worthwhile manner
c) that you are more likely to make new friends
All these contribute to a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
One of my older clients, who is 77 years old and has had several medical operations, was struggling to find new clients, was unhappy about the trajectory of his life, and was finding himself complaining a good deal.
After coaching with me for six months, he now has a positive attitude, many new clients, still travels twice a month across the Atlantic – and he is full of enthusiasm and grateful for his life.
3. Live your dream or it will die with you
When you were growing up, you once had a dream. The vast majority of us had to put our dream aside in order to earn a living.
There is no judgment. There is no resentment. That was our life journey and we are where we are meant to be.
But now, in retirement, you are getting another shot: a second chance to realise your dream.
Coco Chanel ran her fashion empire until she was over 80 years old. Dame Judi Dench was a stage actress and only started in films after the age of 60. Sir Ranulph Fiennes was 71 when he ran the 156-mile marathon across the Sahara Desert.
What’s stopping you from going for your dream? Do you even remember what it was? Do you want to take the time to remember and see if you can grab it with both your hands now? Or do you want to go tip-toeing to a quiet death and let your dream die with you?
It’s likely you already know the answer to that.
One of the roles I play as a coach and retirement consultant is to help people rediscover their dreams, and get the practical support they need in order to move towards realising them.
My ideal clients are successful, wealthy, and loving individuals, who care about their legacies, their families, their businesses, their friends, and their communities.
That said, they barely spend any time ‘auditing’ their lives: discovering what they once loved to do. Now that retirement looms, I show them that what they face is an amazing opportunity to live their lives with a new passion and purpose… if only they would change their perspective.
If you already know what you want to do, but something is still getting in your way, let’s have a conversation. Working with me as your consultant could be the best next step for you.
Perspective is everything in life. You become what you think about all day long. In other words, what you believe becomes manifested.
If you want to believe that retirement is a second chance in life, then that is what you will bring into your life. No more excuses. No more blaming others. You deserve to be happy, fulfilled, and grateful for each sunrise. Seize the day!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you’d like to learn more about my retirement coaching and consultant programs, visit my site at georgejerjian.com or contact me at [email protected].