I think I need a retirement coach

My husband is semi-retired. I continue to work – because I want to but also for financial reasons. Every second financial advice column I read says the longer you continue to work, the better off you will be.

But … I have a problem.

I’ve worked for 40 years. I can’t imagine not working. What do you do all day when you are retired? How do you get your head around the concept of retiring?

I decided there needed to be retirement coaches to guide us into the ‘third stage of life’ as it is coined. And lo and behold, they exist. Who knew?

This is what I have gleaned so far from retirement coaches.

1. Developing a plan for the non-financial side of retirement can be as important as preparing financially.
Okay, develop a plan, that makes sense. We’re attempting to get the financial side of things in some sort of order. So next, my brain. Hubby is cruising. Not literally.

Unconventional Wisdom says that most people spend more time planning for a holiday than for their retirement. “It’s important to think about all the other aspects of life that are impacted by retirement. Where to find purpose and meaning? How to handle changing relationships with family and friends, or the desire for personal development and growth?”

2. The key questions you should ask yourself
Peter Black, one of 26 certified retirement coaches in Australia, suggests pre-retirees ask themselves the following questions:

  • what will people say about you at your 60th/70th/80th/90th birthday party or ultimately at your funeral?
  • how will you replace the inherent benefits your business/career/job provides: identity, purpose, socialisation?
  • what are the “components” that make up your life today and how much time is spent on each one?
  • how will you replace the purpose and social contact that your adult kids and grandchildren provide now?
  • how realistic is it to travel, fish, garden, play golf and so on, 12 months of the year –  for 10/20/30+ years?
  • how dependent are your plans on the good health of you and your partner?
  • is volunteering/community work an option?
  • have you considered returning to university (traditional, online or University of the Third Age) and undertaking a course that may maintain your knowledge, skills, relevance (and brain!) for 10+ years?
  • is retirement what you really want?

3. Anxiety and depression in the transition period is relatively common.
I can believe that. I’m sort of depressed thinking about it.

“Retirement can be quite difficult, particularly for people who self-identify with their career,” says Unconventional Wisdom. “Finding the next path can be incredibly challenging.

“Part of the secret to a successful retirement is having the insight, tools and resources to renew and re-create yourself. A meaningful retirement requires a lifestyle that meets your life goals, well-being and happiness. That’s what a retirement coach does.”

That makes sense. I can get started on those suggestions/ideas. Next, I came across an article on Forbes.com headlined “The problem with retirement coaching”. I decided I needed to read that.

Author Robert Laura is another who says “retirement coaching and developing a plan for the non-financial aspects of retirement dwarfs the need to prepare financially”.

He warns that individuals and couples who don’t plan for the mental, social, physical and spiritual aspects of retirement can be faced with:

  • wasting the first few, and most valuable, years of retirement trying to figure out who they are now
  • wondering why retirement doesn’t look or feel like they thought it would, questioning their decision to retire, dwelling on the past, and worrying what they could have done better or different
  • struggling to replace the things they thought they would be doing but can’t because their back, neck, hip or knee pain is more intensive and limiting than they expected
  • feeling robbed or cheated because the loss of a spouse or family member, divorce, or medical diagnosis is destroying everything they worked for
  • cracking that beer, bottle of wine or cocktail at noon or earlier because, when no one calls or stops by, it’s the only thing that cheers them up and helps them through the day.

So all that is food for thought – while I’m not at work. I hope my hubby continues to stay patient while he waits me for to ‘mature’ enough to one day join him.

Does retirement worry you? Have you had problems adjusting? What advice can you offer?

Financial disclaimer: All content on the YourLifeChoices’ website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care, but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness with regard to your circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances. Financial comments provided by readers cannot be relied on as professional advice, but as general comments only.

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Written by Janelle Ward


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