First, the Good News
Here’s some good news from the Social Security Administration: One in four 65-year-olds are likely to live until they’re 90. And one in ten 65-year-olds will likely live to be 95. We’re living longer and healthier than any generation before us. For some of you, this means your retirement life might be longer than the years you worked.
The Potentially Bad News
Of course, there are some downsides to having potentially a lot of years ahead of us. For many, this may mean outliving retirement savings. It also means that unless you have an idea of how you want to use those years in a meaningful way, boredom is likely to set in after the initial glee you may feel after leaving work. In addition, a lack of challenge and engagement could accelerate cognitive decline.
As I mentioned before, I started reading everything I could find on retirement about three years before I planned to officially retire from teaching at a community college. I also reviewed my financial plan to make sure I really could retire.
A Couple of Options to Consider When Thinking Ahead
I learned that a growing number of Boomers are addressing some of the downsides to longevity by either working part-time on their own terms or by starting a small business – not necessarily for the money, but because they enjoy working when it is something they love.
One book I found especially helpful when thinking about different post-retirement options was Ernie Zelinski’s book, How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free.
Ernie’s book is backed with solid research and offers clear guidance on how to develop clear retirement goals.
Preparations for Launching a Small Business in Retirement
From the reading and reflecting I’d done, I knew there was much I would miss after officially retiring. I have enjoyed teaching, investing in others, and helping people grow. In one of my previous lives, I did research and conducted training around the United States. I’ve been fortunate have a career I’ve loved. However, I am old enough to longer want to serve someone else’s agenda or comply with mandates that I no longer embrace.
Even though I am tired of working for someone else, I want to stay engaged with work I love. That’s why I’ve chosen to work for myself for the foreseeable future.
I actually started thinking about the possibility of working for myself decades ago. Earlier in my life, I thought I needed a guaranteed salary and related benefits that regular employment provides. In retrospect, I think I was too dependent on my career.
Once I realized I didn’t have to depend on my career anymore, I started brainstorming what kind of business would fit my background and what kind of needs I could meet. I wanted to do something I loved, not something I needed to do.
I started with a self-assessment. I considered my experiences, skills, general background, my strengths, and my weaknesses. I also considered my basic temperament. Because I lean toward introversion, I know I’m the type of person who can get drained pretty fast by doing a lot of F2F networking that some businesses require. However, I enjoying interacting with people and enjoy teaching and facilitating workshops.
Because I had reviewed a lot of retirement literature, I was aware that new and soon-to-be retirees needed tools and strategies to create their best lives as they started a new chapter.
I interviewed business people, got advice from the Small Business Development Center, and also completed coursework and practice coaching to become a certified professional retirement coach. Even though I am not doing one-on-one retirement coaching as part of my business, the need for nonfinancial retirement tools and strategies was clear as I met with a number of Boomers anticipating retirement.
I am now preparing to live my dream when I retire from teaching at the end of December. I get to provide nonfinancial retirement tools and strategies for Boomers, help facilitate discussions and lead occasional workshops with interesting people.
What about You? Will You Be Ready?
What about you? Do you have a clear picture of your next best life as you think about your retirement years? Are you familiar with current research on what you need to be doing to live your best life? Could you use some practical tools and strategies to help add more focus to your retirement years? If so, watch out the resources that will become available on BoomberBestU.com or join a conversation on our BoomerBestU Facebook Group beginning in January 2019.