This article is directed to all you folks who will be “retiring” from your primary career in the next 5-10 years. And there are a lot of you who fall into this category. As we know from the experts, the demographics in the U.S. are changing dramatically as the Baby Boomers begin to enter their 60s & 70s in the next 15 years.
My experience with this population of professionals is that many are ill-prepared to enter the next chapter of their lives. After all, they have been busy their whole life doing the things that made them successful in their careers, raising a family, putting the kids through college, keeping up with the mortgage payments, coaching soccer and in general being honest, tax-paying, productive citizens.
Average Lifespan Increase
We also know from the research that the American people are living longer. A man’s average life span is well into the late 70s and you can tack on a few more years for the female gender. And if you’re from a family with great genes you can easily live well into your 80s and 90s.
Years ago my partner turned 65 and began talking seriously about getting out of the business for the third time since I knew him. Only, this time I think he really meant it.
I remember asking him how old his mother was and he said she had just turned 96. So, I said to him, “What are you going to do for the next 30 years?” The look he gave me cannot be expressed in words. He was speechless. John is now 93 and still going strong. He is an excellent example of someone who keeps finding meaning and purpose in each chapter of his life. He just completed his thirteenth book co-authored with Kevin C. Kozak entitled, “New Blue” A Jerry Krone Novel about a young police officer learning the ropes of his trade in a beach town in Florida.
I believe that many of the Baby Boomers are like my former mentor and partner John. They have experienced success and fulfillment in their career(s) and they aren’t going to just fade away into the sunset like their fathers and grandfathers before them. They have gotten used to being part of the action, making decisions and dealing with challenging responsibilities. Oh yes, these same professionals will tell you that they can’t wait to leave their job and have more time to recreate, play golf, sail the ocean, travel and spend more quality time with loved ones and friends. And they truly mean it!
And for the next 18 months or so and as the memories of their farewell reception begin to fade, they have indeed done many of the things they set out to do. After all, they now have about 200 plus hours per month they didn’t have before, and they have to fill it with something. But about this time, they begin to feel that something is missing in their lives, even though they have enjoyed the more relaxed pace. What is missing is purpose and meaning! Not that the last 18 months have been meaningless, not at all. But it’s different. You see, these folks have not prepared for the post-career years and have underestimated the importance of determining what they really want to do with their life now that they don’t have to earn a paycheck. And they miss being involved in purposeful and challenging activities.
If you were the President of a large and successful bank, or the Superintendent of a challenging school district or ran your own marketing company that you built from scratch, or taught high school for 32 years, or headed up a division of your retail company and achieved Sr. V.P. status… you aren’t going to just hang out and do nothing.
Finding Purpose & Meaning in Your Life After Retirement
Remember, you belong to that elite group of people who must have a reason to get up in the morning. That reason(s) can vary, but it boils down to finding purpose and meaning in your life!!
So, if you are facing this dilemma in the near future, shouldn’t you begin to do some planning now and not wait until you find yourself in a confused state? After all, one of the reasons you have been successful is your ability to plan and execute.
A special time in your life… No longer do you have to rush to one of those seemingly endless and boring meetings, or put up with travel plans gone awry, or tolerate co-workers with whom you no longer respect, or support a business strategy that you vehemently disagree with, or have to experience another unpleasant “downsizing”.
And there’s more… The kids are through college (or nearly finished) and you are finally past the heavy financial burden for the first time in many years, you are at the peak of your earning capacity and have planned carefully for your retirement years, you’ve developed close friendships and taken reasonably good care of your health.
Yes, you have tried to plan for this exciting time in your life and covered all the bases-or have you? One question still remains unanswered-what are you going to do now that you no longer have to earn a paycheck and have more time available than ever before?
It’s time to give serious consideration to answer this extremely important question. It’s time to discover your unique Core Themes – those essential values, needs and interests that define you.
Once you have come to understand your unique Core Themes, you now have a guide, a roadmap if you will, to help you make the best decisions in your life with particular emphasis on what you will do to find your purpose and meaning in the years ahead. If you are in need of guidance in creating a purposeful life in retirement contact Core Themes today!