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12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You “Un-Retire”

Welcome

As a certified coach, I am passionate about helping my clients to reach new heights of personal and profession success, as they successfully manage the dynamics of the continual transitions in their lives. Helping Boomers create rich and inspired lifestyle plans for the retirement life they want is one of my greatest joys. My clients call on me to help them discover, design and then direct the changes required to make meaningful change in their lives.

Inkiesta, pronounced “in-key-es-ta” is an Italian word meaning “journey”. 

 

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass… It's about learning how to dance in the rain.”

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If I asked you what hopes you have for your retirement, cost what would you say? You might be surprised to hear that most people say they don’t want to stop working. The answer seems counterintuitive to the notion we have about what retirement should be, treatment doesn’t it? But for a generation who measures much of its self-worth on their career, imagining a life without work is a scary proposition.

When I ask participants in my seminars if they have a retirement lifestyle plan, most say they don’t. They usually have a financial plan but not a lifestyle plan. According to a survey conducted by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, only 14% of Fiftysomethings make a lifestyle plan. Stats Canada also found that 2 in 3 new retirees express some regrets within the first 3 years of their retirement. Lack of lifestyle planning may very well be the reason why so many are struggling during the first few years of retirement.

Next to establishing a career and raising a family, retirement is one of the biggest transitions we make in our lifetime. It challenges every part of life – social, physical, intellectual and spiritual. To engage fully in a retirement lifestyle that is meaningful and filled with purpose, we must have a good sense of what it is we hope to achieve.  It can be helpful to think of how we want to show up, how we want our STaR to shine in retirement.

Strive

In the early stages of retirement, it’s natural to feel lost in a sea of murky waters, without a clear view of what lies ahead. During the early stages friendships from work began to drift away and daily routines are unclear. It’s a time when we feel compelled to re-confirm the values we hold dear, and we may find ourselves struggling with our new identity as “retirees”. It’s the perfect time to ask ourselves what retirement will mean exactly; what we’re going to do with all the free time we have. There are only so many golf games to be played and trips to take before we realize that we want more out of retirement. Lifestyle planning in invaluable to gain clarity on the interests and dreams we want to pursue in retirement and to do a reality check of what’s possible. Ideally the planning starts long before retirement officially happens.

Thrive

Once the murky waters begin to clear, most retirees emerge with clearer goals and a newfound purpose. They find meaningful ways to stay productive and have a better understanding of what they need to do to stay physically and intellectually active. This may include work, volunteering or finding other outlets to contribute to society in rich and engaging ways. Learning is also important. Those who thrive have found the sweet spot in the lifestyle they want in retirement. Life has a new pace that feels right. They realize that they are no longer infatuated with the notion of what might have been and are content to simply enjoy life. Research shows that spiritually, in the broader sense of the word, takes on a new level of importance in retirement.

 and Reconcile

Later in retirement the time comes to reconcile those things that no longer serve us well. That time comes, early on, midway through or at the end of retirement when we make peace with what never was or will be. We settle differences that drain our energy and restore harmony in our lives. It’s an individual process that has no best before date.

Retirement has its own unique cycle and every retiree moves through the cycle at their own pace. It is a time of personal growth that offers an opportunity to put the spotlight on what’s most meaningful to you - a time to become the STaR of your own life. It is also a time to polish the rough edges of a legacy that will inspire younger generations.
If I asked you what hopes you have for your retirement, pills what would you say? You might be surprised to hear that most people say they don’t want to stop working. The answer seems counterintuitive to the notion we have about what retirement should be, pill doesn’t it? But for a generation who measures much of its self-worth on their career, imagining a life without work is a scary proposition.

When I ask participants in my seminars if they have a retirement lifestyle plan, most say they don’t. They usually have a financial plan but not a lifestyle plan. According to a survey conducted by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, only 14% of Fiftysomethings make a lifestyle plan. Stats Canada also found that 2 in 3 new retirees express some regrets within the first 3 years of their retirement. Lack of lifestyle planning may very well be the reason why so many are struggling during the first few years of retirement.

Next to establishing a career and raising a family, retirement is one of the biggest transitions we make in our lifetime. It challenges every part of life – social, physical, intellectual and spiritual. To engage fully in a retirement lifestyle that is meaningful and filled with purpose, we must have a good sense of what it is we hope to achieve.  It can be helpful to think of how we want to show up, how we want our STaR to shine in retirement.

Strive

In the early stages of retirement, it’s natural to feel lost in a sea of murky waters, without a clear view of what lies ahead. During the early stages friendships from work began to drift away and daily routines are unclear. It’s a time when we feel compelled to re-confirm the values we hold dear, and we may find ourselves struggling with our new identity as “retirees”. It’s the perfect time to ask ourselves what retirement will mean exactly; what we’re going to do with all the free time we have. There are only so many golf games to be played and trips to take before we realize that we want more out of retirement. Lifestyle planning in invaluable to gain clarity on the interests and dreams we want to pursue in retirement and to do a reality check of what’s possible. Ideally the planning starts long before retirement officially happens.

Thrive

Once the murky waters begin to clear, most retirees emerge with clearer goals and a newfound purpose. They find meaningful ways to stay productive and have a better understanding of what they need to do to stay physically and intellectually active. This may include work, volunteering or finding other outlets to contribute to society in rich and engaging ways. Learning is also important. Those who thrive have found the sweet spot in the lifestyle they want in retirement. Life has a new pace that feels right. They realize that they are no longer infatuated with the notion of what might have been and are content to simply enjoy life. Research shows that spiritually, in the broader sense of the word, takes on a new level of importance in retirement.

 and Reconcile

Later in retirement the time comes to reconcile those things that no longer serve us well. That time comes, early on, midway through or at the end of retirement when we make peace with what never was or will be. We settle differences that drain our energy and restore harmony in our lives. It’s an individual process that has no best before date.

Retirement has its own unique cycle and every retiree moves through the cycle at their own pace. It is a time of personal growth that offers an opportunity to put the spotlight on what’s most meaningful to you - a time to become the STaR of your own life. It is also a time to polish the rough edges of a legacy that will inspire younger generations.
When Ian retired a few years ago, unhealthy I found myself wishing for the day when I could announce my own retirement. A few months later I saw him and asked how he was enjoying retirement. “I hate it, malady I never should have retired,” he said. He identified so strongly with his work that without it he felt lost. Unfortunately he’s in good company. According to Statistics Canada, 64% of retirees express some regrets within 1 to 3 years of full retirement. There are several reasons why 2 out of every 3 retirees regret their decision.

  • Few people take time to plan for the lifestyle they hope to have in retirement. According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, only 14% of Boomers actually plan for the lifestyle they want, while most plan financially to some extent.
  • Boomers are living longer which may lure them into thinking that there is no rush to plan.  The pressure mounts when they find themselves unexpectedly out of work and retired with little to no time to plan a smooth transition. We all want to retire on our own terms but it doesn’t always work out that way.
  • Boomers define what retirement means for them differently than their parents did. With more choices than ever before, unlimited possibilities and fewer role models to guide them, it’s easy to see why many feel lost or uncertain about what retirement will look like.
  • Many want to continue to work beyond age 60 or 65, but they often face age barriers from companies who haven’t quite caught up to the benefits of mature workers.

One way to avoid finding yourself retired and wishing you hadn’t is to look at this transition as “un-retirement” - a combination of work, volunteerism and leisure - rather than the traditional view of retirement. This new perspective examines all the possibilities available to you so you can continue to contribute, on your own terms. One way to ensure that your retirement lifestyle is the one you really want to pursue is to take time to ask yourself these questions.

  1. Work: Do I want to continue to work in some capacity?  What will that look like? For how long?
  2. Health: What activities will I build into my daily routine to stay active and healthy?
  3. Financial: What adjustments will I have to make financially to fit my new retirement lifestyle?
  4. Leisure: What leisure activities do I want to pursue (e.g. hobbies, travel)
  5. Family: How important is it that I live near my children and grandchildren?
  6. Friends: Are there common interests and leisure activities we might pursue together?
  7. Life Partner: What interests do my life partner and I have? Which ones are different?
  8. Community: How involved do I want to be in my community? How much time will I give?
  9. Knowledge: Is there something I’d like to learn more about (e.g. genealogy, philosophy)?
  10. Environment:  Where do I want to live and what type of home do I want or need?
  11. Spiritually: Will my spiritual practice evolve in retirement? How?
  12. Sense of self: What activities will help me maintain a high level of optimism and self-esteem?

These questions are designed to get you thinking about and gain insights into what your unique un-retirement might look like. The full answers may only come in retirement. That’s OK. The aim is to help you identify the hopes and dreams you have for your retirement. Take time now to do a little more lifestyle planning will help you feel good about your decision to retire and give you lots to look forward to. The hard work of career building is done now. It’s time to enjoy all that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Written by

Dianne Gaudet is a certified Coach who is passionate about helping her clients manage the dynamics of continual life transitions as they reach new heights of personal and professional success. Helping Boomers create rich and inspired lifestyle plans for the retirement life they want is one of her greatest joys. Dianne is the author of a new book, If There Are No Limits... A guide to living with passion, purpose and possibilities. She is also a motivational speaker, teacher and world traveller.