I love to see my clients go from WOE to WOW. I work with nurturing professionals, mostly teachers and social workers,55 years and older, assisting them to implement the non-financial transition to retirement strategies. Working together enables my clients to plan a meaningful retirement with clarity.
In episode 1 we learnt how retirement had changed over the past couple of decades and how research has listed some resources required for a successful adjustment to retirement. In this episode we will investigate stages of retirement and delve deeper into the resources considered necessary for a meaningful retirement. I will also introduce you to my Desire to Retire Plan.
As busy nurturing professionals you are committed to carrying out daily tasks leaving little time to attend to self-care. Also, as professional people you find it hard to admit you are struggling in any area of our lives. If you listened to episode 1 of this 3-part podcast series and followed up by hopping onto my website and completing the Wheel of Life activity you will have some idea of which area of YOUR life you are looking at for personal enhancement.
Now back to retirement itself.
From a life span perspective and the ESSSuper, Emergency Services & State Super, retirement has four main stages. Accumulation, Active, Contemplative and Dependency.
Let’s think about:
1. The Accumulation stage.
You are working hard providing for yourself and your families, hopefully putting aside something for later in life. When planning for retirement most people think about money and ask themselves will I have enough to live comfortably in retirement. You are urged to have a plan. Fortunately, in Australia compulsory superannuation was introduced in 1987. Otherwise there would be more of us in the workforce who are living for today, not thinking about the years ahead. Money is a resource required for retirement whether you are self-funded or willing to rely totally on a government pension. Just as important are the non-financial resources required for a meaningful retirement. In my Desire to Retire plan we work together to decide what makes YOUR retirement meaningful.
2. The ACTIVE stage.
You might be working part time; your health enables us to enjoy your leisure time. Maybe you choose to give back to society by volunteering your vast experience and knowledge of life with a cause you believe in.
There may be more time to spend with family and friends. Maybe grandchildren are now part of your life and you wish to be actively involved in their care and development.
3. The CONTEMPLATIVE stage.
Generally, you are taking more time to complete everyday tasks and may now require some assistance to carry them out. You may now seek assistance from outside agencies, family or friends. You can begin to think about how you can leave a legacy for your children, nieces, nephews, particular friends, grandchildren or an organisation that champions your values and beliefs.
Ask yourself have you written a will, assigned Power of Attorney to someone you trust, do you have a health care plan, have you made provision for when you are no longer able to look after yourself?
4. The DEPENDENCY stage.
How will life be for you when you are no longer able to be totally independent? You may have been asked to hand in your driver’s licence on medical grounds or you may have revoked it voluntarily. Is it time to hand your financial affairs over to that person you trust? What will you do if your physical or mental health has deteriorated requiring you to have ongoing care? We are definitely heading to the twilight of our lives. Do you want to make it easier or difficult for those you leave behind?
Let’s look at the statistics around retirement. In Australia the current retirement age is 62.9 years of age. Australians are living longer, reaching an average life span of 82.5 years. On average women live longer than men, men reaching 80.7 years and women reaching 84.9 years. Australian citizens enjoy living in a country which is one of the top five in the life span statistics. On these figures you could live in retirement for 20 -30 plus years. That is a significant proportion of your life. So, think about planning for a retirement that is meaningful, fulfilling and valuable to the next generation. When you die what inscription do you want on your memorial stone or what words would you like to hear spoken in the eulogy at your funeral? I doubt very much it will be anything about how wealthy you were or were not. Most likely it will be about the milestones in your life, your achievements and the type of person you were.
Back to the resources we need to successfully adjust to retirement. Remember they are found to be finance and health as a number one priority, social resources were considered of second importance. Emotional, Cognitive and Motivation are third in the resource’s stakes. As mentioned previously most people focus on accumulating wealth and that will determine in part the quality of your retirement. There is a difference between enjoying a coffee with friends at the local mall and flying Business class to board your fourth cruise on the Queen Mary. Recently a friend rang me opening with,” I am so excited.” She and her retired husband had been offered a two-week cruise on the Queen Mary for a ridiculously low cost. It was the week after the Covid 19 virus had hit the cruise industry. My friends love cruising but to you it may be less than exciting. Your idea of excitement may be totally different but at the moment you feel stuck and your retirement seems light years away. Maybe you might feel like I did at one stage; I just wanted to walk away from work as turning up each day, which used to be satisfying, was now a struggle. I did walk away from my profession well before retirement age and spent some time discovering my true convictions and values. I learnt how to make change exciting rather than a dread. I became more energised in tackling new ventures. I could not always change the reality of my situation but I could change how I reacted to it. It is possible to become a higher vision of yourself. This transition to semi-retirement experience has enabled me to understand overcoming obstacles and able to assist others to make that breakthrough they are dreaming of.
Allow me to share with you the story of Lady T a client of mine. Lady T came to me feeling totally overwhelmed with where she found herself in life. I call her Lady T because she worked in the Technology industry on one short term contract after another. In her early 60’s she realised her technology skills needed updating if she was to continue to find employment. She did not know if she had sufficient money to retire despite having worked most of her life. Fulfilling short term contracts often meant travelling to the other side of the city through peak hour traffic to be at her work computer on time. Lady T also reported feeling bullied in the work place and she reported ongoing health problems. After putting an Agreement in place, we set to work on her top priority which was to gain clarity on whether she wanted to pursue the next work contract or not. She loved IT and also was a very capable administrator but felt she lacked the energy or desire to upgrade her skills to the latest standards expected in her workplace.
She was able to see these skills were of great value to a Community Service club of which she had become a member. In volunteering her skills and time, once again she felt she was being bullied. I must admit this bullying of Lady T put a fire in my belly. I become very motivated when I see one human being making life a misery for a fellow human due to an overblown sense of authority. Together Lady T and I worked through some strategies Lady T felt capable of using when she knew she was being pushed aside and her skills being undervalued. Lady T is a from Woe to Wow client. She is now President of that Community Service club knowing she has the support of the majority of members.
Imagine yourself making a similar difference in your life that Lady T made over a relative short time moving from feeling overwhelmed to having the capacity to make decisions with certainty for herself. I am very proud of Lady T.
In my role as Primary Welfare Officer at a government school I often had to be an advocate for a student, a family or a staff member who was receiving unfair treatment from another community member. I learnt to challenge limits put in place by people protecting their own patch. When you work with kids one of the first things, they teach you is life has to be Fair.
In my Desire to Retire plan we delve deeper into the resources for a successful adjustment to retirement and take you from feeling stuck where you are at the moment to a sense of excitement about transforming into that higher vision of yourself. Be courageous and shake things up.
Today I have only scratched the surface with some of the strategies and tools you can use. In episode 3 we will hear more about the Desire to Retire Plan. For more information along with some no cost tools to get you started go to https://retirementlife.coach you will find the Are YOU Ready to Retire quiz featuring the 6 resources for successfully adjusting to retirement. Try the quiz see how you rate yourself and listen to episode 3 of this podcast series DESIRE TO RETIRE.