Making the most of your retirement

"Everyone says you've got to get ready financially.  No, no, you've got to get ready psychologically." ~ Lee Iacocca, industrialist

"The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off" ~ Abe Lemons, basketball coach

"What we call the beginning is often the end.  And to make an end is to make a beginning.  The end is where we start from." ~ T.S. Eliot

Now there is more flexibility about when to retire, the choice may be yours rather than your employer's. But does this make the decision easier or more difficult?

Maybe you're one of those people who have so many plans for retirement that you can't wait.  You're one of the lucky ones! Many people don't feel like that at all - in fact they dread it.

It's certainly one of the biggest shifts you may face in your life. It can hit particularly hard if your career ends abruptly and the decision to retire is forced upon you rather than you choosing for yourself when to leave your employer.

Do you want a retirement by design or default?

These are the kinds of issues you may wish to consider:

Structure - What do you do with your time?

If your work has been the main focus of your life, you have built up routines like going to work on a daily basis, taking holidays on a regular basis. What will replace them? How will you fill your time?

Identity - Who are you?

In our careers, we have roles, responsibilities and job descriptions defining us and often it is more about the role than who we are. Left with nothing to do or manage, you fear that you may not have anything else. You have lost your status and your social identity. Maybe you have always provided for your family, in which case how will you feel if you are not able to do this in the same way as you have done in the past?

Relationships - What's the impact on your relationships with others?

At work, your relationships include work colleagues and friends, your team, your associates. How will being at home affect your relationship with your spouse/partner, your family and friends? Your retirement might also be a worrying prospect for your other half, who has interests and activities of their own and who perhaps has concerns that you'll be expecting these to drop off when you're both "at home together."

Purpose - What does it mean for me?

For most of us, work is an expression of our values, our uniqueness and an opportunity to translate talents into creative, valuable products or services. This makes us feel good. What will fill this vacuum after you leave work? Will you bounce between a life of domesticity and escaping to the golf course?

Power - Where will your recognition come from?

For many people work brings title, budget responsibility, recognition of technical expertise, direct reports, important decisions - all of which convey power or position. Without this you feel you could lose your sense of importance. This is why many people take up positions of responsibility at the golf club, become local councillors or join the Rotary.

Financial considerations are obviously important, but many people do not give much thought to what retirement will mean for them and their lives.

Starting to consider some of these aspects in order to plan your retirement will ease the transition, for example:

  • Which aspect of my career (structure, identity, relationships, purpose, power) did I enjoy the most and why?
  • Which career aspect might I have the most difficulty replacing?
  • How might I go about planning how to replace that career loss starting now?
  • If I have a choice, what sort of transition to retirement do I want?
  • This is an opportunity to reinvent myself.  How can I make the most of it?

Coaching enables you to think through what retirement will bring for you, both personally and professionally.  And from your personal perspective, the best time to start thinking about retirement is before your boss does!

Having been through this myself, from working 60+ hours a week to establishing a business on my own terms, I am well placed to support you through this important life transition.

And for employers...

Preparing senior colleagues for the transition to retirement can be a tricky subject, especially in respect of the Retirement Age legislation and pensions issues.

Are these some of the issues you are facing?

  • How do we encourage our employees to consider and plan for retirement?
  • How can we support them to make a positive transition and recognise the new opportunities that retirement could offer?
  • How can we develop an approach to talent management so that we get the best from our older employees whilst also providing opportunities for progression to younger ones?
  • How can we transfer knowledge effectively in the lead up to a colleague's retirement?
  • How can we approach this in a fair and reasonable way so that older employees do not feel that they are pushed out of the organisation or being overlooked?

Many people struggle with the transition to retirement regardless of how much wealth they have accumulated.

With more flexibility on retirement date, getting individuals (who may be reluctant to consider retirement or prepare for that eventuality) to focus on doing so could be a challenging conversation. Added to which, creating headroom for the talented (younger) people who want to progress, is proving more difficult.

One solution is to offer coaching to your employees who are approaching retirement age. Coaching enables them to think through what that might mean for them, both personally and professionally. It demonstratives a supportive approach as an employer and enables your employees to make plans before the prospect is immediately ahead of them.

The 7 biggest benefits of offering retirement coaching to your employees are:

  • creating a plan enables development of successors, therefore retaining younger talent and facilitating effective and timely transfer of knowledge
  • your retiring employees feel supported rather than sidelined or nudged out, especially if they are senior and/or have been with your organisation for a long time
  • the possibility of a phased retirement can be considered
  • if your employee is struggling with technology or some other aspect of the job role, it paves the way for their manager to have a constructive conversation with them
  • employees have space and support to consider what is important to them for their retirement.  This can make the prospect more appealing rather than burying their heads in the sand
  • providing this support helps your employee's partner too. S/he may already enjoy their lifestyle and interests and see their partner's retirement as a barrier to continuing these.

I offer a range of options.  The first step is to contact me to arrange a conversation to talk about what you want to achieve.


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