October 5, 2015

The “PATH” To Your Purposeful Retirement

The “PATH” To Your Purposeful Retirement

The goal of a healthy retirement is a dream for us all. Sadly the reality is usually more hit than miss. The goal of a beautiful mountain hike is only a dream until we find the path and take every step along the trail. The same is true of our retirement. Sure we’d love the beautiful vistas, and social journey with friends, however none of it matters if we never planned it, invited the right people, and orchestrated the activities. Retirement is a hike and finding the PATH is the key to finding the Utopia we’re all looking for. Here are essential steps that make up the PATH to Your Purposeful Retirement.

Purpose & Passion

  • People without purpose perish!
    • So before you retire make sure you’ve crystalized exactly what your remaining years of life will be about. You don’t need to know exactly what you’ll do, but do be clear what your purpose and passion are around.
  • Many people (especially men) have already tied their identity to their job and what they do, and women tend to tie their identity to their families. So be careful about retiring from your job or your family alone, because losing either could negatively impact your sense of who you are.
  • The key then isn’t to tie your life to things or beings but instead to your purpose and passion.
  • RECONNECTING TO PURPOSE ACTIVITY– Before retiring, spend some time identifying how you want to be remembered by your family 30 years from now. What do you want them to say about how you worked professionally and how you were after retired? Notice what these people will say about you, about your passions, purpose in life, the activities and accomplishments you had, the team around you, and togetherness. Also what do you want them to say about your health at retirement and your state of happiness? By projecting your life forward about 25 years, you’ll get a better picture of what is important to you.
  • FINDING YOUR PASSION ACTIVITY– With a whole lot of extra time, you’re going to want to get a running start at what you’re passionate about. Are you crystal clear about what motivates you? Do you know what you would do with all of your free time? If not, it’s time to find the fire within.
    • What Hobbies are you going to continue with?
    • What hobbies are you going to start?
    • If you read a book, magazine or watch a movie about anything in the world, what topic would pick to explore?
    • What could you spend hours watching or doing?
    • What activities make time fly by when you’re performing them?
    • What lifestyle and people most make you excited to attain?
    • Ask your spouse what they think you would be good at?

Activities & Accomplishment

  • Don’t forget Newton’s First Law of Motion: an object in motion will stay in motion (unless otherwise acted upon). Be aware that quitting your job is a definite action that could actually impact your state of motion and momentum.
  • The goal is to use the change to continue staying active while at the same time, choosing activities that are much more fulfilling for you.
  • Remember you’re retirement should be the time for you to take more time for you, to accomplish things that your “busier life” never allowed you to do.
  • By continuing your journey of accomplishment you communicate to everyone around you (kids, grandkids, and acquaintances) the value of continuous growth.
  • Before ending your employment, don’t make a list of everything you hope to be doing someday. Instead begin doing those activities right now.
    • By starting many of these activities while still working you will be able to test out what things you really want to do when you’re retired and what things you really don’t want to do.

Team & Togetherness      

  • At work you had a team of people that were stimulating and fun to be around. Even as an introvert, you’re job or roll as a mother kept you meeting interesting people. That interaction could be deeply missed if you don’t plan for it.
  • Just as they do in every other facet of life, the people in your life will make or break your retirement experience. Make sure as you’re heading into retirement that you have the right team of people around you lift and elevate that stage of life. Ensure you have a supportive and strong social network with empowering and positive people. Make sure that your family is on board and that they are clear about how you want them to be a part of your retirement. What you’re willing and not willing to do as a retired grandparent
  • When you retire…who will be the people that make up your team for the next 30 years?
  • Who will you run your ideas by? Who will push back on you and keep your thinking sharp? Who will be able to say “no” to you and whom will you actually listen to? Make those decisions early in your retirement so your world will have fewer surprises.
  • BUILDING YOUR TEAM ACTIVITY– Build a list of people that you want to continue to associate with. Break your list into natural categories that you participate in. Think of your family as your first team. Then begin to look at other facets of your life like: your social team (old and new friends), emotional team (therapists, coaches), spiritual team (Church members, pastors), intellectual team (professional groups, book clubs). Think through how each will fit into your life. Determine how much of your previous professional life you’re willing to give up. I would suggest keeping up with the latest in your industry and stay connected professionally through LinkedIn just in case you need to return.
  • COUPLE TOGETHERNESS ACTIVITY– As a couple you’ll need to decide how your passions and activities will fit into your partner’s plans. Discuss as a companionship how much time you really want to spend together a day and how much time you are ok being alone. Create a schedule that you can both feel good about. Use some of your vacation time with your spouse testing out what it feels like to spend every waking day together and the impact it has on your life.

Health & Happiness

  • Retirement without good health will feel like you hadn’t retired at all. So before you retire do everything you can to get healthy.
  • Use all of the resources your employer offers to get your health in order. See the doctor; get a good bill of health before exiting stage left.
  • Don’t assume that simply because you’re retiring you’ll have the time and energy to start every healthy habit you need to start. The reality is that you won’t.
  • Use the deadline of your retirement as a motivation to get into the best shape you’ve ever been in.
  • ACTIVITY- CREATE A HEALTH PLAN– Talk to your doctors and build a functional and robust plan for your health. Openly talk about your particular “watch outs” that are based on family history or other specific issues. Discuss your plans for medications and future visits to the doctor. Be very clear about what need to do to create a healthy and positive health plan. Don’t forget to all look at your mental health and talk to your doctor about specific things to watch out for.
  • ACTIVITY- CREATE A HAPPINESS PLAN– Be clear what happiness means to you. Financially research and happiness only correlate up to about $70,000, so if money means a lot to make sure you’re financially able to retire before you do. Begin to look for the things in your lifetime that truly bring you happiness and make sure that you have a plan to get those things into your life. Remember that many times happiness is a state of being not an event in life. Happiness is also something that we can bring with us and it might be worth finding your happiness in your life, before assuming you’ll find it when you retire.

Remember that in retirement, just like in regular life, we are all different. Join me on November 7th for a super fun Date Night all about the Differences that might irritate us, and learn how to make those Differences something to celebrate!

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