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Employers should help their employees plan for retirement

People are living much longer – we need to plan for this trend. Making staff aware of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and helping them to plan, ask the right questions and understand their future is a gift the employer can give their employees as they approach retirement.

Work provides a sense of ego-security. It provides a sense that we are “somebody”- that we are successful at some level. As we approach retirement we need a new formula for success. We need new challenges, and we need to find new meaning.

Finding what we love and are skilled at doing provides clarity for the journey. Pursuing activities which provide a sense of purpose make life fulfilling.

The following aspects are important:

Career and work
While some may want to continue doing the same kind of work, others may want to do something entirely different. Knowing what you love doing provides options.

Health and wellness
Health and wellness includes all energy expended helping one’s body and mind function optimally. It also includes how one maintains physical health, relates to oneself internally, and disciplines oneself physically and mentally.

Our bodies age, and very few can do the same kind of work at 70, we did at 30. Discovering what kind of work one can do, and keeping mentally and physically fit is critical.

Finance and Insurance
Money can either provide a sense of security, or of foreboding. It is imperative to build a relationship with a financial planner who can guide one through this critical period.

It is important to find the correct balance between investments and other forms of income. Revenue streams may include investing in a rental property, or a small business. Working longer in a second career, can enhance one’s financial prospects, long-term.

Family and relationships
It is critical to continue developing and looking after relationships throughout one’s life. Family dynamics are changing – children live at home far longer than in the past, and parents are also living longer. Globalisation is separating families across the globe – this makes it all the more important to remain flexible.

Leisure and social
Leisure is a human need. The absence of leisure can erode the human spirit. Leisure activities relieve stress; an under-loaded life can increase stress.

Leisure reminds us that our purpose in life is not only to do, but to be. When work no longer defines our lives, we see our leisure interests and pursuits as part of our life journey. In this sense, leisure helps build in us a sense of wholeness.

Internal leisure allows us to rediscover our child-like qualities of awe, wonder and delight. Spending time on long walks in nature, challenging ourselves with time on a retreat, even writing a journal opens new dimensions in terms of who we are. Retirement enables one to discover this part of who we are and have always been.

Personal development
Personal development includes all activities related to self-improvement. As we age, this should take on more meaning. However, the responsibility of making this happen now shifts to the individual. Formal study is not the only way to develop new skills; there are many opportunities around us to learn new skills.

Retirement from a formal career is the beginning of an exciting new phase of life. The script and creation of what this journey looks like differs from person-to-person. Paint your life in rich colours, and becomes a beacon of hope and inspiration for others.

Lynda Smith is an accredited Retirement Transition Coach and can offer personal and group coaching and workshops.
Key Learnings

  1. Finding what we love and are skilled to do can help bring clarity to the rest of the journey.
  2. Retirement from one’s formal career is the beginning of an exciting new phase of life, not the end of life.
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