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Retirement Reinvention: Make Your Next Act Your Best Act Kindle Edition
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Make a Plan: Don't Become a Failed Retiree!
When you leave work, you will likely have over 9,000 days to fill up. 9,000 days! How will you spend them? What would make those days meaningful and enjoyable? These are the million-dollar questions you need to answer.
Society sends people an awful message once they hit retirement age: your best days are behind you. People often fear retirement because they see what they will lose or give up, and not what they will gain. They may fear too much freedom with no purpose. Referred to by past generations as the "golden years," this life stage was the end of your work life, and left you with little to dream about except travel and family. But what about your identity? Your self-worth? Your need to be productive and important in your own eyes? What about your emotional well-being? Your creative soul? 9,000 days is a lot of time to fill only with leisure. Don't you still want a sense of purpose and of belonging to a community too?
Developing a meaningful and enjoyable retirement takes some work and planning. It doesn't just naturally happen. In fact, not enacting a good plan can put you on the road to becoming a "failed retiree." That's right, as you enter this next and final phase of your career, you might actually FAIL!
Financial planners all have war stories about people who retired and became absolutely miserable. Too much time off, and nothing worthwhile to do. Within one to two years, the retirees were hitting the pavement, looking to return to work, only to find no one was interested in hiring them. So in retirement they failed. Don't let this happen to you. To make your future a happy one, you need to do some self-exploration and examine your interests, values, and hobbies. Your future goals need to be shaped by who you are today and what you truly want. Leaving your working life behind does bring freedom from stress and the daily grind, but it can also leave you alone, with an awful lot of time on your hands.
The all-important question, then, is: What is your life going to look like?
Careers give us purpose, identity, and meaning. For past generations, retirement involved leaving work behind. But it too often included sitting around and watching TV as a major life highlight. That plan has become old-fashioned. What if you reinvent the game and make up new rules for your retirement? What if you look ahead and say it's time to use an interest to start a new career-likely part-time-simply because you enjoy it? You could tap a current interest or find a cause you care about and use some time to give back and help others. This new career would be fun and fill a few hours each week with meaning while leaving plenty of time for other activities, socializing, and leisure.
Leaving behind the "professional me" gave Dick pause. He had been a chemistry teacher in a small town for over thirty-five years and had also served as the high school's assistant football and lacrosse coach. He knew all the kids and families in the area-in some cases going back generations-and was well-liked in the community. But living in a small, rural town, his options for Retirement Reinvention were limited. While he was definitely tired of grading papers and working long hours, he loved his job and worried a lot about what he'd be losing: he was concerned that he would no longer feel connected or that he did something important. But when New York State offered incentives to older and more expensive teachers to retire, Dick decided to take the package.
It was an ad for a Meals on Wheels driver that got his attention. "That three-day-a-week job didn't sound exciting: delivering meals to elderly people and shut-ins. But it left lots of time for golfing and being with my two young grandsons," Dick remembers. "The most important thing, of course, was that I would be helping people."
It turned out that this was a perfect fit for Dick. "I greeted each person by name and stayed to chat for a few minutes, knowing that the elderly were often pretty isolated, especially during the cold, snowy winter months. It turned out that many of their kids were my former students, so I'd remind them of the connection, which gave us an instant bond. I always asked if I could do something extra-take out the trash or change a lightbulb in the ceiling," he says.
At first, many of the people he delivered to were not open to his efforts: they were elderly, frail, and often grumpy. Yet he always arrived with a smile, because he knew the work he did was important. And over time, they looked forward to his visits. When he was off, they asked where he was and if he'd be back.
Driving a Meals on Wheels truck was a big switch from teaching chemistry. But talking to the families allowed Dick the job satisfaction he craved.
Giving back, making a difference, and helping others is a common theme for people living out their Retirement Reinvention today. Think about this: the world would be a much better place if every boomer decided to work five or ten hours a month to make society and our planet better. Can you even imagine the impact our generation might make by undertaking something so world-changing? We'll get to lots of stories about people giving back in part 2.
Research by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found that nearly half (47%) of today's retirees say they either have worked or plan to work during their retirement. But an even greater percentage (72%) of pre-retirees age fifty or older say they want to keep working after they retire. Indeed, this study highlighted how our long-held beliefs about retirement are changing:
Myth 1: Retirement means the end of work.
Reality: Over seven in ten pre-retirees say they want to work in retirement. In the near future, it will be increasingly unusual for retirees not to work. This includes volunteer and paid jobs.
Myth 2: Retirement is a time of decline.
Reality: A new generation of working retirees is pioneering a more engaged and active retirement.
Myth 3: People primarily work in retirement because they need the money.
Reality: This research reveals that some work primarily for the money; many others are motivated by important nonfinancial reasons.
Myth 4: New career ambitions are for young people.
Reality: Working retirees are three times more likely than pre-retirees to be entrepreneurs.
Over your lifetime, you've likely had eleven or twelve job or career changes-the Retirement Reinvention stage represents just one more new career change.
FACT: In the near future it will become increasingly unusual for retirees not to work.
Why is there this need to work in your final life phase?
Longer life expectancy-the average person lives into their eighties.
Elimination of pensions for most workers.
Fear of economic instability-boomers like the idea of still having some employment income.
Boomers seek greater purpose, stimulation, and fulfillment in retirement.
The need for new friends and social connection.
Baby boomers are pioneering a more engaged and active retirement. This will allow them to incorporate fun work and leisure into a lifestyle that is rewarding and feels happy and worth living.
An important insight is that as you enter your fifties, your perspective begins to shift. Many people focus more on how they can make a difference and what will their legacy be. They see social problems and seek out ways to improve situations. After they retire, they may choose to volunteer, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, for example, or teaching English to immigrants. Many people choose to use their talents to give back to society by providing a service to others. Other people enjoy a "fun hobby" job or even start a new business. There are countless ways that you can look at the world and find worthwhile ways to help. You have too many talents just to sit around playing bingo and shuffleboard. And you've got a lot of days, weeks, months, and years to fill. Yes, you can play tennis or golf, swim, walk the beach, travel, but you may also need something more to keep your brain active and your spirits high-something that is important and matters to you.
The old "golden years" model of retirement-with endless days of idleness and lazily just doing "stuff"-does not have to be for you. You might have hit your later fifties and sixties, but you still have exciting and enjoyable times in front of you. You have the health to be active and surely don't want to become a depressed coach potato.
This new, final career stage is something you are doing to meet your own needs. What is imperative is that it be one you chose because:
It gives you a sense of purpose.
It offers social interactions and a sense of community.
It's very interesting to you.
It's something you enjoy!
That's exactly how this book will help you shape your future. Instead of easing into a "leisure only" stage, I'm recommending you move to a new "fun job and leisure" stage. I'm naming this new and final stage of your career: Retirement Reinvention. Too often, we only consider the financial aspects of retirement. We don't plan for our lives beyond our jobs, and we become failed retirees, often suffering from depression, boredom, loneliness, and loss of purpose. Yet many of us have a mental list of things we always wanted but never had the time to do. Ask yourself whether that list is an accurate reflection of who you are today and what you want to do now. It's wise to actually sit down and write out the list you have in your head. Give it a hard look. Some things you will still want to do. Others will drop off your list as you realize that you are not the same person you were ten or fifteen years ago. You have changed, and your life goals need to be updated too.
The Retirement Reinvention stage offers you a new way to retire, with the opportunity to find work-paid or unpaid, full- or part-time-and to create meaning and enjoyment after your traditional career has ended. Many of us will have one, two, or three decades of good health after we retire. We need to create a plan for them, and for most of us that plan will include some form of work, but in a new, different arena. This book offers many retirees' stories, to inspire ideas you have yet to even consider for moving happily into retirement. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
“Robin Ryan opens our hearts and minds to a world of possibilities. This is a superb, must-read guide for baby boomers who want nothing less than the best for their next act.” —Henry DeVries, Forbes
“Robin Ryan has dedicated her career to thinking and writing about effective solutions to career challenges, and it shows in all of her books. Retirement Reinvention continues that effort successfully, and should be a must-read for everyone approaching retirement and for the HR teams who are advising pre-retirement employees within their organizations.” —Tony Lee, Vice President, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
"Career counselor [Robin] Ryan offers a handy and easy-to-follow guide to shaping one’s future. . . .Ryan provides ideas, quizzes, lists for each topic she covers, and comforting encouragement in this valuable resource." —Publisher's Weekly
"[Retirement Reinvention] offers a wealth of insight and tools to help you find what best fits your lifestyle and your passion." —Margaret Larson, King 5 News (Seattle)
“Robin Ryan is the leading career expert in America today.” —Houston Chronicle
"Insightful book with inspiring stories on how to have a meaningful retirement."—NPR
“Robin Ryan is America’s foremost career authority.” —Dallas Morning News
“Robin’s guidance really helps people accelerate their retirement success." —KIRO Business Radio
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B072QTKLXX
- Publisher : Penguin Books (6 March 2018)
- Language : English
- File size : 1945 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 300 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #352,349 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from other countries
I like Ms. Ryan's push to reinvent retirement. Lots of engaging examples but some tough questions and advice too. (Chapter examples - "Don't Become A Failed Retiree!" and "Dealing With Money Issues" ) She includes useful tools/websites as well as some unexpected topics such as my favorite chapter "Education and New Skills (Cheap or Free)". I read this book once quickly to gain an overview before deciding to commit the time to work through the book in the thoughtful manner my retirement deserves.