Many of us don’t want to look at what retirement means for us. Either we have glorified visions of idyllic walks along golden beaches, in far-off destinations, sipping exotic cocktails or horror visions of sitting alone in an old-age home waiting to die.
What is the reality and why do we avoid looking at it?
“Without my job, my title, my responsibilities and the corner office – who am I?” Many of us have been so vested in our career that we can’t imagine being without it. And having to look at who I am? That’s scary! What if I don’t like what I see? So it’s easier not to look.
“What am I going to do when I’ve got nothing to do? Again, what we did was what our job told us to do. Without objectives, targets and deadlines, what’s going to get me up in the morning?” Without that job – what then? Many of us see ourselves consulting in our retirement – that may happen, but it’s just putting off the day when we’ve got nothing to do. Unless we’ve redefined ourself and started doing something else. “What about golf?” As recreation, excellent! As your defining activity – for 25 years? Perhaps not!
“I don’t want to be physically incapacitated.” Our health in retirement will be determined by our lifestyle now – so if we want good health we need to give up our bad habits now. But that’s hard – so let’s pretend that we’ll be fine and eat that delicious steak washed down by an excellent Cabernet after a hard afternoon of TV sport.
“What are we (the spouse and me) going to talk about for the whole day?” Are we going to be like those sad couples in restaurants who sit gazing at nothing, saying nothing for their whole meal? And if we are single there’s the loneliness. “Where am I going to live? Where are the kids living? Where are my friends living? Who am I going to talk to each day?”
“What if I lose my marbles?” Alzheimers is the adult version of the Boogie Man. “I keep forgetting things even now – is this the onset? Don’t want to think about that! Hand me another G&T.”
“My savings aren’t going to last and I’m going to be dependent on the kids.” Horror of horrors!
All these concerns are real, but like everything we fear, the moment we turn to face them we regain power. We are the Baby-Boomers, we are creative and we are very good at “making a plan”. So let’s make a plan – a Retirement Plan.
Because it is easy to procrastinate it’s useful to follow a structured process that builds up an effective plan and holds us to those good intentions. And to know that there are others dealing with the same concerns is hugely comforting – we can swap “war stories” and share ideas and strategies.
So what is your reality? This is an exciting time – it is your opportunity to look at the life you want to lead in retirement and to make it happen. My final article will look at the delight that can be found in retirement – but if you want to get a head-start, click here and sign up for the 28 week Preparing for Retirement transition. Some of it will be tough – but tough is good! Isn’t it?
Article by: Alan Maguire
Transitions and Change