Written by Heather Erhard. Reprinted with Permission.
"The whole notion of retirement has been radically changed. Formerly we thought of retirement as the beginning of the end; today we simply think of retirement as a new beginning. The retirement transition is actually the beginning of a new career/life stage called RENEWAL." Richard P. Johnson, Ph.D., author of The New Retirement© and creator of the Retirement Success Profile™.
When I facilitate workshops on Retirement Success, I like to start with a question. "What is your first thought when I mention the word retirement?" Most people say 'money'. We spend our time planning for the financial aspect of retirement. Of course this is important, but it is not the only factor. We often spend more time planning for a two week trip than we do for retirement. Just as we plan for a trip, we need a road map for where we are going for the rest of our life.
Here is some interesting data:
Work provides a sense of purpose or utility. It gives some meaning to our life. No matter what our work is, we are needed in some way; we help others by our work. How can we replace this in retirement?
Through our work, we have a certain status or role in society. In fact, many of us take our personal identity from our work. We are often so invested in our work that our jobs define not only what we do, but who we are. Re-defining ourselves can be a challenge. In planning for retirement many options are open to us. It might be another full time job, part time work, volunteer work or maybe starting that business you always dreamed of. What might your new role be?
Finally, work brings us in contact with many other people and provides socialization. We connect with others, form relationships and even friendships in the workplace. Many times, these relationships end once we leave the workplace. We have all heard the expression: 'friends for a season, friends for a reason, friends for life'. As not all friendships become friends for life, we need to ensure we have social contact in retirement. Research suggests a strong correlation between social interaction and health and well-being in older adults. Finding new avenues of social interaction is crucial.
Retirement can be the most exciting life phase, offering the freedom to do whatever we want. It is our invitation to grow, learn, and experience life in a new way. It can also challenge us in ways we never thought of. The key, of course, is planning. By using the five factors as a base, we can develop the plan and experience retirement as a most exciting time of renewal.
Heather Erhard, Director, Erhard Associates (Executive Coach, Retirement Coach). For information on completing the Retirement Success Profile, assessing your readiness for retirement and to develop a plan, contact Heather at www.erhardassociates.com.
The Joy is in the Journey