Are you in your 50s and 60s but not yet ready to retire? You’re not on your own, with ‘senpreneurs’ becoming increasingly familiar. Peter Black is a business and executive coach and an accredited retirement coach. He tells author and retirenotes.com founder Bruce Manners what he has learnt.
Retirement has changed
“We are actually retiring the word, retirement, and calling it the Third Age.
“Retirement needs to be redefined. What exactly are we talking about? We could be talking about a 20 to 30-year period, which is very different to what was once the norm. There was a time when you only had five years to worry about. Not now.
“And a lot of people do want to remain working – for income, structure, social connection …
How not to ‘be retired’
“To ensure you can continue working for as long as you like, first you need to look after your health, especially in your 50s. That’s paramount. And even then, retirement might be forced on you if you have to look after significant others who experience ill-health.
“But with a degree of both physical and mental good health, you will present as far more energetic, with a young mindset. That helps out with marketability in the workforce.”
“I see employers looking for people with tech skills and remote working skills and who are self-directed learners. Older workers are generally valued for their enhanced life experience skills.
“People who succeed are those who are investing in their own learning. I’m not suggesting three-year university courses but opportunities on YouTube, podcasts, reading, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). For example, you could do an eight-week course in digital marketing or one of the coding languages through a worldwide uni.
“Understand working with the different generations. There could be three, four, five or more different generations in a workforce now. Understand the differences between the generations and how we can all work together.
“Understand changing society views on same sex marriage, climate change and so on.
“Be proactive. Volunteer to work on new projects and initiatives with your employer. Keep learning.
“Embracing change is the answer. Keep the brain active, whether you withdraw from the workforce or not.”
When retirement beckons
“Retirement is an emotional roller coaster for many. The closer they get to what they thought would be a retirement age, the scarier it can get – going from the structure of work to this essentially blank canvas, potentially dealing with health challenges, adult kids, possibly grandchildren, a different phase with your life partner.”
The plan – or not
“Most Australians do not have a plan of what they are retiring to. They know what they are retiring from and possibly have been battered with information on the financial aspects of retirement, but may not have a lot about the non-financial side of retirement.”
“As I learnt in doing my accreditation to be a retirement coach, leisure is no longer leisure if it is not a break from what you are usually doing.
“One of the mistakes I see a lot of people make is saying, ‘I’m going to retire to that place where I’ve always enjoyed holidays. But if they move and are there 12 months of the year and not just for holidays, it can be a very different experience.”
A gap year
“Try before you buy. I had a gap year at 47. It can be a tremendous thing if you can do it by taking advantage of long service or a sabbatical. It’s a good trial but not for everyone.”
Are you still working either full or part-time? Is it because you want to or need to?