Taking a Retirement Test Drive


I have read this really great book that you may have seen around the office:  The Four Phases of Retirement:  What to Expect When You’re Retiringby Riley E. Moynes. After reading this I tried to apply it to my personal situation and this is what I got!

Okay I have saved my money and I know what I can spend each year in retirement but how do I get myself psychologically ready to retire???   I know the average life expectancy, but my dad lived to be 96. That would mean about 30 years in retirement for me and that is a lot of time to consider.  I would like to think that I can plan to make this a fun, productive and purposeful time in my life.

This plan, however, is not clear to me so I have taken the opportunity to transition out of my working life by working part-time 3 days a week.  This is a good way to take some time to make important decisions before leaving the work force. The change in routine has afforded me more time to get things done that I never seemed to have time for when working at a full-time job.  The very first thing I did was start to plan a trip to New Zealand. It has always been at the top of my “bucket list”. There are also plans to continue sailing courses with the RYA as this is a great learning experience that I enjoy very much.   Dancercise classes and weight training classes will continue as without your health there isn’t much you can plan in retirement! Yes, clearly there is a sense of excitement and adventure planning for things that you always wanted to do and having the time and energy to do so. But I know myself well and this euphoria is likely to dissipate in retirement. I also know that within a relatively short period of time I will be looking for more structure in my life. That is what I am used to.

Work is a structured environment.  You earn your professional position, keep educating yourself and you are respected for this.  You also form close relationships within this workplace with your colleagues and clients. Your purpose is defined clearly in your job description and your continuous goal planning which makes you feel like an important part of the team.  So, when you fully retire it must take a toll on your feelings of achievement and importance.

To keep that from happening to me, I will need to spend some serious time looking inside to see who I really am.  The first step is to identify some of my personal strengths: what do I love to do and do very well? Next, I can look back on my life to consider the most gratifying activities I experienced over my different life stages?  What was my favourite subject in school? What creative abilities do I have? The last step is finding the connections between what I am good at and what I love to do to find my purpose in this new chapter of my life. It doesn’t matter if this is a volunteer position, a paid position or just sharing information on a blog if it drives my future.

In summary, planning your finances for retirement is a very necessary step. That said, there is a huge psychological aspect to retiring that needs to be considered. This too requires thought and planning to find the right balance between pleasing yourself and using your skills to help others.  I am not sure where this will take me now but fortunately there is time to work on this. Down deep I can’t help but think it will have something to do with ridding the world of plastic!!! That’s right after I go to New Zealand of course!

(It would be interesting to share some input from retired clients- see what interesting activities they are involved with). 

Carole Ash B.A.
The McClelland Financial Group of Assante Capital Management Ltd.

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