Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Retirement is not just about the money, it is about you making a major life shift from the circle of work to the circle of retirement. Transition to retirement is not easy; some experts suggest that you plan for your retirement at least four months to three years before you make the move. Some of us make this transition well, others do not.

I had a cousin, Sammy who worked hard all of his life, first on the farm and then for the City. When he retired at age 65, he announced to everyone that he had earned the right to do nothing but to enjoy his retirement. Sammy sat in front of the TV, did not take up any hobbies and did nothing. His wife, children and family tried to get him to take part in activities, to take up old hobbies, to travel but Sammy refused, he believed that as a retired person he had earned the right to do nothing. His wife left him, he became estranged from his children and three years later he was in a home and he died about six months later.

Sammy had an older brother, Peter who when he retired at age 65, also believed that he had won the right to do nothing, but Peter believed that doing nothing meant not going to work. Peter retired, traveled  spend time with his children and grandchildren, making up for time lost when he was young and working. Peter kept himself busy, he started new projects, supported his children in their businesses, both by working with them and giving what financial support he could. Peter just died at the age of 90.

We as Boomers make up our own rules, and have since the early 50’s. We will make society will think of retirement differently as we move into our senior years.

I believe there are number of aspects to retirement, some we talk about and worry about while others are not discussed as much or thought of in the planning stage for retirement. The first is finance, the second life style considerations. There are other considerations such as relationships and motivation for retiring among others.

Financial Issues:
Others more knowledgeable can deal with financial issues. In Canada with the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security system a senior can depend on a monthly income before taxes of about $1,200 while a couple can depend on an income of up to  $2,400. Not much but if a person has other income, passive or active this is enough to get by on. Do a Google search on retirement and  you will get many links on how to save money or not run out of money in your retirement.  There are many advisers who are prepared to help in this area. I highly recommend dealing only with a fee for service adviser for many reasons.

Life Style Considerations:
Decreased self-esteem upon retirement is most common for those who have not developed strong outside interests. Cultivating interests outside of work before considering retirement but will also provide activities to pursue once you have retired. Without outside interests, it can be difficult to give up the sense of belonging and feeling needed that providing professional services can offer.

Consider new challenges and new stresses that will occur with retirement. For example, you will no longer be able to retreat to work and seek support from co-workers, the stability of a routine is gone,  your status is gone as well time is less restricted and committed once you retire. This may result in the availability of more choices which may mean an increased need for monitoring your personal decision making.

You may know have to more actively plan or structure free time and your daily routine than you did prior to retirement.

In a future post I will talk about relationships in retirement and motives for retirement.

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