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Retirement


Enda Goodwin
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Survey Retirement and Work Trends

The purpose of this step is to help you:

  • Reframe and/or reconsider your overall perceptions about conventional retirement.
  • Consider what retirement will mean for you.

This step is important because how you define retirement will affect what you decide to do in that stage of your life. The concept of retirement got started in the U. S. over 70 years ago. Much has changed in American society since then, but the concept retirement hasn't always kept up with those changes. It's important for you to sort out your personal views on retirement from society's views - views that may not always apply to you.

Changing views of retirement

Most of us have gone through life accepting the concept of conventional retirement as a sudden shift from working full time to not working at all. The fact is that the lenses through which we see the world – our thoughts and perceptions – do shape our lives. So, it is important to make sure that the image our mind has created is the life we really want to lead.

A good starting point is taking a look at the history of retirement to see where it came from and how it evolved. Then, taking a look at retirement facts about baby boomers and comparing them to the earlier generation can give you a broader perspective.

What's your personal view of retirement? Seeing it as a life of leisure is certainly the case for some people. For others, the reality of a phase of life exclusively devoted to leisure is a difficult one to fathom. A new paradigm of retirement is emerging, one that you can begin to explore by taking a look at Perceptions of Retirement.

Here are some resources that will help you consider retirement and work trends:

Books

Links

  • New Retirement is a site that features many links to other useful retirement web sites.
  • AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps people 50 and older improve the quality of their lives. The site offers a fantastic section on retirement.
  • WAHVE -Work At Home Vintage Experts- is an organization that specializes in the placement of seasoned professionals from the Insurance,  Human Resources and Accounting industries that are “Pre-tiring” (ready to phase into retirement) or looking for active retirement opportunities.
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Retirement (Step 2): Life's Personal Rewards

The purpose of this step is to:

  • Reflect on your career and life. Beyond money, what were the rewards? What was your motivation?
  • Examine your values, interests and past accomplishments to make the best future choices.

This step is important because the question for this step asks not only what you have done but why. By exploring why you have made past life and career choices, you can clarify your current motivations. This is an important step toward establishing your current purpose and making the best possible life and career choices going forward.

Looking beyond the paycheck

This step is intended to facilitate clarity of your purpose so you can better map out where you want to go next. Your values, interests and past accomplishments all provide important clues -- and that is where we recommend that you begin.

First, consider the benefits of examining your values as they relate to life choices. Then, you might want to dive deeper with the Examining Your Values Exercise, found on that page, which provides a concrete way of defining some key motivators.

Identifying your personal rewards through past accomplishments has multiple benefits. It is a life-affirming and uplifting exercise that can increase your resilience in changing times and circumstances. In addition, it can reveal patterns in your past life choices that you may not have been aware of.

Take a closer look and learn from past history by completing the Career Issues and Rewards by Age table. These patterns can serve as guideposts to paths you would like to take as well as those you want to avoid in the future.

Completing this step does not require that you discover a definitive life purpose for the next phase of your life - the length of that quest varies greatly from one person to the next - but it will help you in that process and provide you with a basis upon which you can build your future choices.

Here are some resources that will help you consider retirement and work trends:

Books

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Retirement (Step 3): Envision the Next Phase

The purpose of this step is to:

  • Determine what you want to happen next in your life.
  • Envision how you will spend your time.

This step is important because one benefit of completing this step is the discovery of what still appeals to you, what new avenues you might want to consider and what matters to you most now. Of even greater benefit the work in this step encourages you to contemplate a future determined by what you find truly necessary to lead a fulfilling life.

Work-Life Balance and Overall Life Planning

In this step, you will find a variety of suggestions for temporarily turning off your internal censors and stimulating your imagination to create new possibilities and reconsider some you might have forgotten or given up on in the past. It asks you to explore two important questions, "What have I always wanted to do?" and Who else is in the picture?

You will also see how your life plays out in the six basic domains in life: family, community, personal, social, spiritual and work. This is a way of considering what work-life balance you want - whether you're planning to work a great deal or very little.

In recognizing the importance of this step, it is sometimes helpful to just take the time to listen to yourself talk - both to yourself and others. Compare the number of times you hear yourself (and others) say "I have to," "I need to" or "I should" to the frequency with which you hear yourself start a statement with "I want to".

Not everything you have ever dreamed of doing will necessarily be attainable. And over time you may have changed your mind about some of the things you once wanted to do. One benefit of completing this step is the discovery of what pursuits still appeal to you after all the years as well as what new avenues you might want to consider and what matters to you most now. It might even lead you to explore the concept of generativity or leaving a positive legacy for the future - to leave a part of ourselves behind.

Of even greater benefit is the preparation this step provides for you to contemplate a future that is not driven by externally imposed needs, but rather by what you find truly necessary to lead a fulfilling life.

Here are some resources that will help you envision what you want to do next:

Books

Link

  • The Third Age is a website focusing on health, relationships, money, work, and other topics of interest.

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Retirement (Step 4): Consider Your Options

The purpose of this step is to:

  • Consider any work that you have done in previous steps in this section.
  • Look at the options available to you.

This step is important because not only does it help you to convert your personal preferences and aspirations into multiple real world possibilities, it provides you with a mechanism for evaluating those possibilities and making choices that are aligned with whatever lifestyle balance you want to achieve.

An overall plan and a plan for a typical week

Here's where we ask you to consider your work in the previous steps. Now, is a good time to start putting together the pieces and see what specific options they suggest.

By looking at your interests, values, capabilities, priorities, obligations and desires, you will create a tentative plan for the next phase in your life. This plan should include practical considerations and the interests of other people who are significant in your life. Your objective in creating a plan is to have a tool for identifying which types of pursuits offer the best fit for you among work and/or volunteer activities, as well as the other domains of life discussed previously.

Depending on how varied your interests and skills are or on how many things in life you want to explore, the number of work options and portfolio careers you could consider might range from only a few to too many to investigate simultaneously. We recommend that you work toward identifying two or three tentative plans before looking into the elements of each more thoroughly.

How successfully you navigate the change in your relationship to work and career depends on how many options you feel are available to you, which is why this step is so important a part of the life planning process. Not only does it help you to convert your personal preferences and aspirations into multiple real world possibilities, it provides you with a mechanism for evaluating those possibilities and making choices that are aligned with whatever lifestyle balance you want to achieve.

Planning your time use with an actual calendar is an excellent way to experiment with putting all the pieces of a new life plan together.

Here are some resources that will help you consider your options:

Books

Links

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Retirement (Step 5): Examine Your Resources

The purpose of this step is to take inventory of your current resources — fiscal, physical and psychological — to determine if they are sufficient to support your goals.

This step is important because ideally, by the time you get to this step, you will have brought into clearer focus a couple of scenarios that satisfy your criteria for the kind of future you would like to have. You will have already performed preliminary reality checks to modify or eliminate those options that conflict with your emotional wants and needs.

Money and other important resources

Now it is time to think about the full range of resources that you have to make your goals attainable — and any additional resources you might need to implement the options you are considering.

One of the first things people typically do when facing retirement or any other major change in their work situation is to check their finances. Money is a key resource in most people's plans. You do need to know how much money you have, and how that fits into your plans.

We are assuming you already have done some financial planning — or at least gotten started with it. If you have not, you should begin it as soon as possible. You may want to use a professional financial planner. The Financial Planning Association (the association of Certified Financial Planners) maintains a good web site.

In addition, many banks and insurance companies offer considerable amounts of free information. Check out what your bank or other financial institution offers. Mutual fund companies such as Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, and Vanguard (among others) also provide powerful online financial planning resources and calculators at no cost.

It is equally important to contemplate other changes you will experience when you make a transition into the next phase of your life - and what non-financial resources you have to support those changes, such as personal resilience,  health, relationships, friendships. Look to see what other resources you might need or have, beyond those mentioned here.

Considering the possibility that you are embarking upon a new phase of life that may extend another 20 or 30 years, it is highly probable that you will be replenishing existing resources and gathering new ones as you move forward. And the nature of those resources may change as your needs do.

Being able to define your personal resources at any time — now and in the future — enables you to take the appropriate actions to maintain or create the life you want.

Here are some resources that will help you examine your resources:

Books

Link

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Retirement (Step 6): Create and Implement Your Plan

The purpose of this step is to:

  • Determine what it is you want to achieve.
  • Identify the steps needed to get you there.

This step is important because the purpose of this step is to propel you from thinking about the next phase of life to actually doing something about it.

Getting started with what's next

No matter how much time you spend envisioning alternatives for the future, the only way you can be assured of moving forward is to create Short and Long-Term Plans and take steps toward implementing them.

The work in this step will assist you in beginning to put your plan into action. First, use Designing Your Goals to see what immediate goals your plan suggests. Then, use the Options and Goals Exercise to examine actions and identify any roadblocks between you and the options you have chosen.

Eliminating those barriers becomes your starting point, and the measures you must take are a way to start making your plan a reality. By tackling the challenges first, you will quickly be able to determine if the option you are pursuing is indeed what you envision and want for your future. Decide what first steps are the most important for you — and get started.

Here are some resources that will help you as you get started:

Books

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