Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
Several clients, friends and family members are approaching retirement. When sharing the news, their eyes widen with delight, but beyond delight, I see mixed emotions. I sense tremendous excitement, plus a noticeable glimmer of apprehension. It’s similar to the look on people’s face as they approach a roller coaster. They know that a big and exhilarating ride is coming up, but they don’t fully know what’s in store.
What is in store for retirement?? Here are three main things to start thinking about:
- THE OBVIOUS – THE MONEY PART. Are you worried about having enough money in retirement? Most people are. Do you have the financial resources to retire? Your company might be ready for you to retire, but your bank account might not be. Do you have a full understanding of your financial needs and wants during retirement, and how they will be covered? I am not a financial adviser, but I do know some of the aspects you need to look at. Consider making a budget of your current expenses and where the support currently comes from: your income, a partner’s income, social security, any pension, rental income, investments, etc. Then, budget for your anticipated lifestyle, needs and wants during retirement. If there is a gap, you want to consider ways to downsize and reduce costs, or ways to add to your income. You might need to consider part time work, consulting, or even postponing retirement. You also may want to sit down with a trained financial person. Just as many people avoid doing their taxes till the last minute, many people put off financial retirement planning. But it is a must-do.
- LIFE STRUCTURE – Many people don’t realize how much they rely on work to provide structure to their lives. Yes, it’s wonderful to not have to set your alarm in the morning. Yippee, sleep in! But when will you wake up? And what will you wake up to do? It is a huge shift to have no structure in your life after decades of having your life structured around work. For this, I suggest creating anchor points. Anchor points are structured activities set up for several, say 2-3 times a week, same time, same day. They should be things you enjoy doing, things that make you feel good and feel purposeful. The activities could be volunteer work, a college class, babysitting, an exercise class, hiking group, photography outings, activities you know you need to go to several times a week at certain times. It is comforting for us to know we will be expected at certain days and times to be at certain places. Anchor points. Necessary.
- SOCIAL – You may not like some of your co-workers and you might feel relieved to never have to see them again (!), but as human beings, we do need social interaction. The importance and value of social interaction is proven time and again in research studies. People need other people. In fact, people live longer when they have more social interaction. Especially if you live alone, you need to intentionally come up with ways to connect with others. It could be a neighborhood group, faith group, family gatherings, hobby groups, re-connecting with old friends, but you really want to set up regular social events.
Yes, money, structure and social are three key areas for you to think about in considering retirement. I will cover these topics in more detail in future articles, but I wanted to set the stage for thinking about retirement.
Onward to bringing the best of you to work (my tagline) and now, to retirement.
Please send me your career and retirement questions. I am broadening the discussion to include both your work life and your life after work.
Bringing the best of you work – and a vital life post career.
(650) 759 – 7386