Category Archives: LIFE’S SECOND ACT

YOUR ENCORE YEARS

 

TWO MORE DOGSIt’s Time to Rethink Retirement!

I was amused by a lady entering retirement who described the rest of her life as being on her next to last dog. In her mind, her life expectancy was measured by the time two more dogs would come into her life and then die.  I suppose she was thinking she had another 24 – 30 years left, still a long time to spend taking care of her next two dogs . . . but unfortunately, she had no other plans for making her encore years as fulfilling as possible.

Many baby boomers regard their “second adult life” with similar resignation.  Their best hope for this life stage is that things will automatically work out  –  maybe have time left to own a couple of dogs, play some golf and possibly volunteer at something meaningful.  However, after the day finally arrives their new reality soon becomes a much different experience.

Financial issues, caregiving for a parent, health limitations or a feeling of insignificance often takes center stage,  quickly crowding out what had been expected.  Also, changing social circles and the absence of daily routines from a work career soon leaves many retirees bored, frustrated and/or feeling that life has lost its purpose.

As a “retiree” myself, I can certainly relate to the realities of going from a fully engaged work life to one requiring me to transform to new ways of thinking and living.  Once the honeymoon period of no routines or responsibilities wore off, I quickly found myself searching for new retirement options.  Fortunately, I did discover my renewed purpose and I’m now living the dream that I didn’t think was possible.

In fact, the word “retirement”  should no longer belong in our vocabulary. And instead of our lives going “to the dogs,” let’s look forward to the most exciting, purposeful and rewarding years still to come.

 

WHAT FUTURE IS CALLING YOU?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATake a moment and survey your horizon. What is it telling you?  Is your future full of hope and promise or is it foreboding and worrisome?  Are you feeling optimistic about the rest of your life or does it look like a minefield of obstacles still facing you?

The fact is that your perception of the future will  most likely determine the outcome.  Having hope will project happiness . But if you approach it hopelessly you will find  happiness difficult to come by.  Dr. Richard P. Johnson refers to this as “the self-fulfilling prophecy principal.” If you have high expectations you will begin organizing and preparing yourself to make good things happen.  Conversely, if you dread what lies ahead you will not take any actions to change your future,  thus assuring the negative outcomes to follow.

Either set of self-beliefs will likely govern the results.  What you expect to happen probably will.  So spend some time thinking about the future and decide if it is calling you to be optimistic or pessimistic.  You have the freedom to choose between the two viewpoints.  You should choose wisely.

 

 

 

EMBRACE YOUR VITALITY

According to Dr. Richard Johnson, the founder of Retirement Options, there are ten descriptors of retirees who live life with vitality:

1. Has a high self-regard: They seem to think favorable about themselves even in the face of trial and tribulation. They harbor an internal sense of “all rightness” at their core that appears undisturbed by outside pressures. Certainly they can become upset and irritable at times, but they regain composure rather quickly and emerge without damage to their self.

2. Value their physical health: They monitor their body and are aware of its needs. They are kind to their body in the sense that they don’t overtax it, they give it proper rest, grooming, exercise, medical attention, etc. They have realistic expectations about what is appropriate for them at their stage of life.

3. Have a high sense of personal worth: They see themselves as valuable; they recognize their accomplishments as successes, and can easily understand how useful their work is to the overall project. They enjoy a high sense of utility; they believe that what they are doing is worthwhile.

4. Have faith in themselves: They understand at deep levels that they are capable, resourceful, and enduring. They enjoy an appropriate sense of personal confidence, which is seldom, if ever, overstated. They seem to possess an aura of stability and security.

5. Expect success: They have a hard time believing in failure. What other people might call failure, they seem to recognize as just another learning experience. They expect good things to happen right from the outset of a project or task.

6. Enjoy productive and supportive relationships: Perhaps because of their internal confidence, they enjoy people. They don’t fear that they will be unfairly criticized, and if someone does become upset with them, they can handle the situation with appropriate social skill.

7. Take optimal care of their body: They like the feeling of knowing that they are doing what is necessary to keep the marvelous machine of their body in top running condition. They feed it correctly, get proper rest, maintain a regular exercise program, and perform other health maintenance and promotion activities, which allow them to perform maximally.

8. Engage in stress reduction techniques: Whether it’s regular exercise, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, a power nap, prayer, soothing music, appropriate “self-talk,” or any of a number of other stress reduction techniques; they know several and use them regularly.

9. Take good care of all their gifts: They know their gifts and talents as an individual, and maintain an active interest in the development and growth of their talents. They seem to appreciate what they have been given and are not particularly envious of the talents and gifts of others.

10. Make continuous adjustments to their attitudes and behaviors: They seem to know innately that their attitudes are the bedrock of their personality and that they need to keep on top of which ones need modification and in what ways these modifications can be made. Attitudes can become antiques, useful yesterday, but quite out of function today. Sometimes we neglect to trade-in our antique attitudes for newer, more functional models.

 

 

 

TO WHERE SHOULD I RETIRE?

ROlogo

Knowing when to retire is a challenge in itself, but deciding where you want to live in your encore years can be equally perplexing.  One option is to stay right where you are (known as “aging in place”), but keep in mind your present home could become a financial burden in the distant future. Also, your current accommodations may need some structural changes if mobility ever becomes an issue.

Relocation always seems like an attractive option but this too will require some deep analysis. Are you wanting to be near your grandchildren, aging parents or your own children?  Or do you simply want to run away to the mountains, to warm beaches or even to an urban center with lots of cultural and entertainment choices. For some, a second home could prove to be a good interim choice allowing more time to check out the area before making the final leap.

Obviously, one size does not fit all – both financially and emotionally. It is imperative, however, that you and your spouse are on the same page and that you also have some discussions with friends and family before making any major decisions. Even the location and quality of medical services needs to be factored into the relocation equation.

Knowledge is king if you are seriously planning a move in retirement.  Fortunately, abundant information can be found on the websites of US News and World Report, Forbes, AARP, Kiplinger and Money Magazine.  They all provide reports covering  topics as diverse as:  Bargain Places to Live, Best Places for Military Vets, Best Towns for Wine Lovers, Places with the Youngest & Oldest Populations, Terrific Towns for Second Careers,  Sunniest Places to Retire, Most Affordable Mountain Towns, etc.  Again, doing your homework beforehand will make a huge difference in choosing the place that ideally matches your real needs and desires.

If you become stuck on this issue, please contact me to explore your options in more detail. As a retirement specialist, I have a plethora of information and data resources for you to consider.  My probing questions and helpful exercises will be very beneficial, giving you the clarity you need before making this important decision.

 

 

 

HAVING NO REGRETS

I think most of us can recall FDR’s famous quote “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” But his less well known quote is “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”

This resonates with me because coaching new retirees always involves hearing about their “doubts of today.” And sadly, these fears and uncertainties will often lead to their “regrets of tomorrow.” If, however,  they could overcome their present doubts they would likely find their future lives to be much more fulfilled.

Most of us would agree that at the end of our life we’d like to go back and re-do a few things that could have been changed – maybe spend less time at the office to make more time for ourselves and our families, taken our studies more seriously, made better career choices, etc.

And while these are important considerations, these are not the main reflections of those at the end of their lives. According to palliative expert Bonnie Ware, the top five regrets of the dying are:

1. I wish I’d lived a life true to myself,  not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish I had let myself be happier.

And I’d like to add that Nadine Stair on her 84th birthday said, “I wish I had waded in more mud puddles”.

Living with no regrets places the responsibility upon us, not just to decide what we want out of life but to then go and live it. Since we have a finite timetable for life, why not decide today what risks we are willing to take and then begin the process of taking them. Why not reframe our current fears and self-doubts into a more positive and optimistic outlook for the future.

So will we answer this question for ourselves, or will we let others answer it for us? Will we act out of fear or out of courage? If we decide to go for it, what will It be? What do we want the rest of our life to look and feel like?

Now would be a good time to answer these questions.  The choice is ours . . . to be able to look back one day at our life without any regrets at all!

THE NEW RETIREMENT

CertifiedRetirementCoach_Logo72DPI - GIFAccording to Dr. Richard Johnson, the leading authority on retirement options, “the “new retirement” is not an ending, it’s a new beginning, the start of a new life of vastly expanded proportions.”

Unfortunately, a large number of the 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day still view retirement as the end of their personal growth.  They may then find their remaining years drifting into boredom, low self-esteem, limited social interactions, and a feeling of lost purpose.

However, there is an equally large number of baby boomers who sense this is the best time to live their dream, to make new self-directed choices to grow, prosper and make significant contributions to society.  In essence, they will choose to finally live their purpose.

Which group you will fall in depends on your attitude, your pre-retirement preparations and your perceptions of future opportunities. Your retirement success is within your own control but it will take some deep introspections and self-awareness training.

A certified retirement coach can provide you the detailed assessment of the factors that will shape your retirement satisfaction.  This coach will help you discover your options for life fulfillment in your encore years.  Since your “second adult life” could last 30-40 years, working with a certified retirement coach today would be time well spent.

Contact me today to learn more . . .