The book Transition to Retirement: The Uncharted Course will form the basis for this and three following articles that will give you a reason to pause and ponder various things as you begin the transition from your job to retirement. Stepping out of your career and into retirement isn’t as simple as it might appear on the surface, so making your retirement years as rewarding, challenging and satisfying as all your previous years takes some time to consider. Each article will raise some questions, but the Questions and Ponderings plus the Aids to Navigation provided at the end of each will help you on your way.
If you’re reading this page, chances are pretty good that you are thinking about retirement and, without actually realizing it, you have taken a positive first step towards preparing yourself for a significant change in your life.
Retirement is not viewed with anywhere near the fear and frustration it was only a few years ago when the first wave of the baby boomers, those born in 1946, plunged into this new phase of life. Demanding and getting both information and attention, not settling for the status quo, and changing things to suit themselves, this cohort set about updating the image of retirement to such an extent that institutions are now falling over themselves to come up with ways to meet the demands of the new retirees. Just take a look at the major banks’ websites, which are no longer limited to financial options but now provide myriad services related to the lifestyles of later life, to see that the rocking chair image of retirement has been well and truly ousted. However, even with society having done a rethink on retirement and a re-branding of older people, your own transition to retirement won’t be plain sailing. And that’s where our series of four articles begins.
Fair Winds and Clear Skies
the early days of retirement
As your time at work winds down you will have enjoyed the farewell parties and the reminiscing with colleagues, and be satisfied but worn out from another very full school year. You contemplate a summer with no bells, dramas of all sorts, meetings or deadlines, but remember you are off school for much longer than the summer. Occasionally a niggling thought might hover in the back of your mind about what you’ll do after Labour Day, but for now you are on holiday! Time to recoup, get back your energy, sleep in or get up early if you please, with long, unplanned days and a flexible schedule that allows you to indulge yourself.
The early days of a planned retirement carry with them a stress-free holiday feeling. There is plenty of time to catch up on things you may have been putting on the back burner—you can now travel, visit friends, explore your options, consider new activities and deal with your regular commitments in a much less pressured way. Being an educator, you’re used to your colleagues going their different ways in the summer holidays and you aren’t likely to see much of them, so that for now it is not a concern and may even be a relief! Nevertheless, they are there on the periphery of your social circle until the fall.
September is the time, when school is in and you are out, that you will realize that you are indeed retired. Having enough time to live your life and fulfill your commitments is wonderful, and often people throw themselves into their passion with all the energy of a full time job. As an example, let’s say golf is your passion, your outlet and joy. How terrific it was to be able to indulge in a round of golf, burning off the frustrations of the workplace and becoming more balanced as a result. But, consider how the joy of golf might become somewhat ho-hum now that you can golf whenever you want to, day in day out. One of the surprising things about retirement is that often the things that gave us a much needed break from work no longer fill that role and can become ordinary, perhaps even boring, so it can be disconcerting to discover that your passion no longer excites you, and then what?
Questions and Ponderings
• What will you miss when you leave your job? Why?
• What won’t you miss when you leave your job? Why?
• How many titles or job descriptions have you had?
• Besides financial planning, what have you done to prepare for retirement?
• What type of retirement card might you choose for yourself?
• If you could choose, what type of send-off would you like when you leave your job for good?
Aids to Navigation
• Look beyond the immediate promise of freedom from the constraints of the workplace.
• Think about who you are outside of your work title or designation.
• Consider how you might introduce yourself to others once you leave work.
• The transition from work to retirement requires much planning and thought, so take your time and take your work hat off when you do it.
• Consider whether you will want to change your appearance once you leave work, and why.
• Imagine the type of lifestyle you want when you first retire, then consider if this vision is short term or long term.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Carol Baird-Krul and Enise Olding
Carol and Enise are the creators of a series of pre-retirement and post-retirement planning workshops: Transition to Retirement: The Uncharted Course©, Recently Retired: Charting a New Course© and Ideas … Enhanced and Advanced©, and authors of Transition to Retirement: The Uncharted Course. Previous articles on retirement may be viewed in back issues at www.CanadianTeacherMagazine.com.
This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s September 2010 issue.