Add Some Excitement to Your Future: Redefine Your Retirement

When my Minneapolis life coaching clients look at their future, some think about retirement … while others avoid even thinking or talking about this phase of their lives. Here are some of the ways I’ve heard people refer to this time in their lives:
  • scary
  • the next phase
  • “refire-ment”
  • re-wire-ment
  • encore
  • desirement (my personal favorite)
  • Jane Fonda calls it the “Third Act”
  • Jimmy Buffett calls it – well, Margaritaville!
The people I talk to literally have a physical reaction to the term retirement – and they are not alone.  Time and time again, I hear people talk about the need for a new word. Maybe we fear the word “retirement” because it means something we don’t need. Resting on our laurels, or basking in a perpetual state of sloth doesn’t appeal to us, because we’ve always lived our life to its fullest capacity. We still want meaning, and contribution. We still want to tap in, to give back. We don’t want to be isolated or sitting on the sidelines. We still have so much to give. Well as a life coach in Minneapolis who specializes in retirement coaching, I have some great news. It’s all up to you. There is no blueprint! Right now, the decision to retire is one of the most stressful things we put ourselves through. We spend countless hours planning for the financial aspects of our retirement, but we often don’t look into many aspects of our actual lives after retirement. It’s no myth that depression can accompany retirement. Research shows anxiety, depression and debilitating feelings of loss can plague retirees. And in looking for a solution, it’s clearly not a one-size-fits-all.
  • Some studies show working or volunteering during retirement helps.
  • Other studies show that working or volunteering has no effect.
  • Still other studies show that retirees who use the Internet to stay in touch with friends and family feel better about themselves.
  • But the majority of research about Internet use shows its increased use correlates strongly with increased depression.
Psychologist Jacquelyn B. James, PhD, of the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, has found that people who are truly engaged in their post-retirement activities reap the most psychological benefits. I believe this is why people need to invest as much if not more time in their social or psychological portfolio planning before retirement, to figure out what makes them happy. “Retirement is not like jumping off a diving board, it’s a process and it takes time,” she says. But how will you know what you’ll really want to be engaged in, turned on by or find satisfaction in once you retire?

The Minneapolis Life Coach wants to know: what will you call the time of your life previously known as “Retirement?”

While the search for the perfect replacement term for retirement may be ongoing, it’s more important than ever for people to become aware of the freedom and opportunity retirement can offer you.  There are countless people out there who are still struggling with a decision to retire or who are feeling burdened by what to do now after being downsized.  Whatever you decide to do, it’s not an ending. It’s simply a proactive transition from one role or situation into the next one.
To the folks with fears around their future or “retirement,” it might surprise you to know there’s a whole movement of young people out there who aspire to retire! Why?
  • They know what gives them meaning … and it’s not their 9-5
  • They are wise investors
  • They’re in a good mental state
  • They want to spend more time with their families and other people they love
  • They want to align their day-to-day activities even more closely with their core values

“But I like to work!”

Sure, sure. We all love to be loved, need to be needed. Productivity is so important to so many Americans! Work does provide some of that for most of us. But think about it:

  • Are you really fulfilled by your 9-5?
  • If you left today, would you really be missed?
  • Does your work truly give you the opportunity to be creative?
  • Are you sacrificing your life’s purpose for a need to be productive?

Now, think about your family. Or, if you don’t have one, consider the things and people that bring true meaning to your life.

  • Are you fulfilled in your relationships?
  • Where do you get the majority of your contentment and satisfaction from?

Chances are, it’s from the things you do and the people you spend time with outside of work. Or, if you have a particularly fulfilling career, there might be one or two aspects of it you wish you could do more of – or areas you wish you didn’t have to do so much of. Here’s a news flash: many “retired” people still dabble in consulting in their area of expertise, but they pick and choose their clients because they are financially independent. They don’t need the money, the just love to do what they do!

In Jane Fonda’s groundbreaking TED talk, Life’s Third Act, she describes what psychologists call “doing a life review” as an essential way to “free yourself from the past” and, in that way, become more of who you are meant to become.
This is necessary because, within our generation, an extra 30 years have been added to our life expectancy – and these years aren’t just a footnote or a pathology. Many of us Boomers are vital, active, healthy, experienced, wise and ready to live our best lives just as we hit retirement age. This means the path to retirement is not as clear-cut as it once was. The old vision of the rocking chair or the golf course is outdated, but where do we go from here? We are the first generation to experience this, and these are uncharted waters. So forget what you think you know about retirement. If you are 10 or fewer years out from retirement or retired already, this is your moment to reinvent or “rewire” yourself. What will your “Third Act” be all about? It is possible to reach beyond our wildest dreams and discover a newly meaningful lifestyle. (Watch this TED talk by clicking here – I dare you not to get really excited about your “Third Act!”)

Retirement: A Radical New Way to Think About (and Enjoy!) Your Life

Instead of lingering on past regrets, we can start here and now. If you were to wake up today with a clean plate, what types of food would put on that plate? As a life coach, I might ask my clients to picture a little dark chocolate, sautéed vegetables, marinated tofu. Delicious! Wait … no? That’s right: my food choices will not appeal to you the way they appeal to me. Which is why YOU must create the ingredients of your life and anticipate your own idea of appetizing nourishment.

Who is this person, though? Many of us have lost touch with him or her. But the good news is, each of us has an abundance of capacity: our vibrancy can be rebuilt based on what we know we want to change and what we know about how we’d like to grow and move forward.

As your retirement coach, I can teach you a radical new way to think about and enjoy your life. Getting off of your current treadmill and into a retired lifestyle is almost unimaginable to most people where I live, which happens to be in the United States, ground zero for self-imposed treadmills.

Keanu Reeves as “Neo” from 1999 Science Fiction Film “The Matrix”

Once you are off the mill, you’ll feel like Neo did when he woke up in The Matrix and looked around at the other imprisoned humans. “Wait a minute!”, you will say. “I’ve been living in this ridiculous slave world and never noticed … but everyone else still is! WAKE UP DRONE PEOPLE!!!.”

You will suddenly be able to move freely through the world, free from having to work for a living, able to start living life as you choose, doing exotic things like spending time raising your young children or grandchildren, taking a 3-week vacation each month, or just enjoying a low-key life of leisure, which can include decadent activities like volunteer work in your local schools, writing a book, serving on a local Executive Board or sweeping your driveway in pajamas at 11am on a sunny Thursday morning.

Is Retirement Coaching Right for you? Find out today.

Retirement Offers Unlimited Possibilities … Which Can Be Overwhelming

Earlier this year, I stumbled upon this article in Rolling Stone Magazine, announcing Jimmy Buffet’s plans to create a string of retirement communities based on his classic “Margaritaville” for people “55 and better.” “Inspired by the legendary music and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and best-selling author Jimmy Buffett, your new home in paradise features exciting recreation, unmatched dining and FINtastic nightlife,” the Latitude Margaritaville site says. At first I read “FIN” as a nod to another of Buffet’s classic songs (“fins to the left, fins to the right, and you’re the only bait in town.”) But then I realized it’s an acronym, used in a lot of online forums and communities by young people looking for Financial INdependence (FIN) … a.k.a. retirement! There it was again: that aspiration to retire and be free to create the life of one’s dreams, and according to one’s unique values.
Retirement, even in a community like Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, can loom before us like the great unknown. This is where a life coach like me can help.

How Life and Retirement Coaching Can Help

What do you desire? Knowing that your life is built on your strengths and the wisdom you’ve gained over your day to day choices can be a path to a healthy retirement. Retirement is a time of great change, and a chance to begin an exciting new phase of your life. But like anything done well, it takes planning. Whether you think you are ready to retire or not, I have found in my work as a life coach that not everyone is truly prepared. That’s why Revitalize Life Coaching, my life coaching practice based in Minneapolis, created a retirement readiness assessment so you can see for yourself which areas need attention. Feedback from this assessment will help you gauge your current retirement readiness and build a comprehensive plan to live your retirement dreams. Should you take a retirement readiness assessment? Answer these life coaching-style questions to help you determine if a retirement readiness assessment is right for you. In retirement, do you have a plan for:
  • Continued personal learning?
  • Changes in income, health and/or lifestyle that may affect your financial security?
  • Maintaining your sense of purpose and self-worth?
  • How you will spend your time with fulfilling activities and interests? Both short-term / (usually includes travel) & long-term.
  • Interaction with others to build and maintain enjoyable relationships?
  • Managing family commitments (aging parents, children, grandchildren)?
  • Where you will live?
  • Ensuring a healthy attitude towards life and retirement?
If you answered “no”, or “I don’t have one” to any of the above, you’re not alone … and there IS a way forward! My job as a retirement coach is to complement your financial retirement plan with a structured approach to planning what can be the best years of your life. Revitalize Coaching provides life planning services and specialized assessment tools for individuals and couples to purposefully pursue a more fulfilling retirement life. If you’d like to get started, use my Appointment Scheduler and get on my calendar for your complimentary Retirement Coaching consult. In your complimentary 30-minute intro session, we’ll use my proven life-coaching strategies and tools to begin to chart your course together.