Over the years I’ve thought of various ways to ask clients what they plan to do in retirement; or, what are they retiring to, as we know what they are retiring from. Very few people consider what they are retiring to, but I can guarantee, everyone knows what they are retiring from. Recently, I attended a presentation, sponsored by Manulife Bank, highlighting the booklet, The Four Phases of retirement: What to Expect When You’re Retiring. The author, Riley Moynes, himself retired, made the presentation. His book, based on his own research (and that of others), defined retirement as having four distinct phases. He determined not all retirees will complete all four phases. It’s quite possible they will skip or possibly be stuck in one or more phase and, frankly, be happy where they are. It would be curious to know if any of our readers resonate with his findings.
Phase One: Vacation!! – This is the obvious phase. Doing what you want, perhaps things you’ve put off…when you want. You may have a bucket list or something singular in mind.
Phase Two: Feeling loss – Perhaps your career had structure, provided a sense of purpose or power. It certainly gave you identity and a circle of friends. Retirement brings all of that to an end regardless, for example, how hard you try to keep the relationships kindled. Once the “vacation” wears off, a lot of people miss what they had. This can lead to depression or a sense of flatness.
Phase Three: Trial and Error – “How can I contribute?” In this phase people start actively looking for something to give them purpose. Many folks find themselves busy with several initiatives to have something spark.
Phase Four: Reinvent and Repurpose – Riley reminds us in this part of the book that while it may seem to be an inevitable march towards Phase Four, not all will get there. No judgement as it is a personal journey. Those who in phase four have successfully answered the following questions and applied them:
1. What do you absolutely love to do?
2. What do you do very well?
3. What attributes or skills have lead to success in the past?
In other words, what is your unique ability? Riley suggests engaging friends, family and colleagues to help you identify this characteristic. To say more may prevent you from seeking your answers so my book report stops here.
Do you see yourself in any of these phases? For those not entering retirement yet, do you recognize any of this in friends or family who have transitioned to retirement? Please let us know. Your feedback is welcome.
~ Cam Leith