Supplement retirement income with work, or for personal satisfaction. Often, seniors retire from one career only to begin another. If your retirement financial planning has been successful then retirement jobs are not just about the money.
I retired at age 60. I could easily have gone on working to 65 or beyond, as I was still interested , active and healthy, but I choose what Charles Handy*calls ‘second curve’ thinking i.e. starting a new enterprise when everything appears to be still going well, before the old one goes into inevitable decline.
My chosen field for post-career work was Business and Personal Coaching. I had a lifelong interest in learning and personal development, and now I was enthusiastic to share this with others. In the five years prior to my retirement I completed several courses on coaching and related fields in Ireland and the USA.
In fact Coaching
didn’t take off in the way I anticipated it might. I did have a very rewarding
and fulfilling engagement with a few clients, which was a beneficial learning
and personal development experience, and continues to this day.
My ‘Second Curve’ was never about money anyway. It was about doing something I was good at for the benefit of others, and finding a purpose beyond self interest, to feel that I was making a difference to someone. In pursuit of what Martin Seligman called The Meaningful Life.
January 2017 was my seventieth birthday. I’m grateful for the way the first ten years
of my retirement have evolved. I got to do many things that I could never have
been done had I continued working. In
retirement I found the time and the motivation to tick many items of my Bucket
I see limited opportunity, or desire, for ‘paid’ work. My Coaching will be ad hoc, responding to demand rather than actively seeking it. I will continue to do a certain amount of pro bono Coaching.
I have a family who love and support me. They are the foundation for everything I want to do. I will reciprocate their love and support.
I will make more time for altruistic ‘work’ and community service. Rotary is a starting point for this activity.
I would like to develop a new hobby or skill. Below are some options I’m considering. I won’t do them all, of course, yet simply writing them down creates the possibility that I might do some of them. Also, learning a new skill is a ‘youthful’ activity, which is helpful in creating a positive mental outlook, something that has to be nurtured in older adults.
· Learn to play the keyboard, and study song writing. I’m fascinated by how songs are created-melody, chords and lyrics.
· Singing lessons-I have a passable voice, which has given me a lot of pleasure in social situations.
· Take Dancing lessons with my wife. Typical of my generation I never got beyond shuffling self-consciously on the dance floor to pop music in the 1960s
· Create a vegetable garden in my holiday home
· Learn Map reading and guiding on mountain treks. Hill walking has been a major hobby for the last 15 years, yet I’ve always relied on others to plan and lead the walks.
· Take golf lessons. I’m sufficiently active and healthy to reduce my handicap by up to three shots. It’s about motivation rather than capability
· Self publish my memoir. I’ve been writing for 15 years now and I have enough material for a book. Several of my stories have been published in magazines, newspapers, websites, and on radio. However, editing is tedious, that’s what’s holding me back. Also, I keep thinking of new stories to add.
· I have enjoyed four major treks since turning 65-Kilimanjaro, Mt Elbrus, and two trips to Everest Base Camp. Is that it? I don’t feel the same motivation (or energy?) to embark on another adventure of such magnitude. I will complete the Camino in 2018/2019, participate in easier trekking in Spain, and of course continue to walk the beautiful Irish mountains.
The Beatles had a song with the lines ‘You and I have memories, longer than the road that stretches out ahead’, and this is indeed the story of retirement. So now you’ve got the chance to do what you always wanted to do but didn’t, or couldn’t...Do it now, you may be unable to do it next year; retirement is no time to procrastinate. Say yes when someone asks you to go hill walking, dancing, singing, travelling...be adventurous!
I’ll leave the last words to Ovid the Roman Poet:
Dum vires annique sinunt, tolerate labores; jam veniet tacito curva senecta pede:’
While strength and years permit, endure labour, soon bent old age will come with silent foot.
Or more colloquially…keep on going, with perseverance and resilience.
(*Charles Handy is an Irish author/philosopher
specialising in organisational behaviour and management.)