How to retire - well, how to get ready to change your life
Our byline on our logo is 'Helping you get to and through retirement - ethically'.
Yes, this is mainly about making sure that you have enough money to enable you to retire, and that if something happens before you have enough money, that you have insurance to step in to make sure that you get to retirement. When our clients engage with us and follow our advice, this side of retirement planning works. We have lost track of the number of conversations we have had with clients about the fact that they can spend money, that they have done the hard work to make sure that there is enough money there to get them through.
But there is more to having a successful retirement than just having enough money. For most people who retire, they have spent 45-50 years (or more), being valued for their work, having a ready built community of colleagues and people that they interact with through their work.
Finishing work and moving into retirement can be difficult, losing that sense of being valued, losing those networks, losing that purpose in life. While grandchildren may fulfil many of those needs, they grow up and become more independent and it is not always possible to have a relationship with grandchildren (because of distance or (increasingly) because there aren't any).
So what else can you do to give you a sense of purpose in life?
The new competencies described below may involve volunteering, new hobbies and interests, maybe studying through a MOOC or at a local institution. Becoming an avid podcast listener, maybe even creating your own podcast!
This summary is from a book called 'Changing Gear:Creating the Life you want after a Full-on career' by Jan Hall and Jon Stokes.* This is an eight step career transition - which may take 12-18 months, and we strongly recommend that you share this with anyone that might be starting that retirement progression - maybe even for yourself. Note that your progress may not always be linear or predictable, but it is likely that you are likely to go through each of these steps.
*Available in Kindle edition or paperback online.
Losing your balance - and noticing. Shake off denial, recognise and accept that change is happening.
Take stock - look around you and move from alarm to curiosity . This involves becoming more conscious of thoughts and feelings.
Be open to the new - explore and investigate fresh possibilities. You will need to recognise potential desired competencies.
Try out new things - experiment with new behaviour, test and learn. This involves developing and playing with new competencies.
Let go - accept the inevitable pain of loss and feeling naked. The rebuilding process can make you more resilient.
Become your new self - practice makes (nearly) perfect. Time to build sustained, conscious competence.
Enjoy a new sense of poise and balance. Conscious competence becomes unconscious competence.
Most of all, from our experience, plan what your retirement is going to be like. Transition slowly, the hardest change is to suddenly stop work without having built up other interests and routines.