Retirement Yearning

One way to look at life is in three phases: Learning (through your early twenties); Earning (into your early sixties or beyond), and Yearning (that time after your Earning phase).

I want to focus today on that transition that takes place between Earning and Yearning. I’ll also discuss a quick exercise that you can use to help plan for that next phase. But first a quick story.

A man that I met awhile back had turned 60 years old. I had met with him a couple of times and knew that he was going to be retiring soon and was very anxious and nervous about it. You could tell he really didn’t know what he was going to do at retirement.

Fast forward a couple of months – he’s at his retirement party. They run out of liquor and he decides he’ll volunteer and run over to the local store.  He gets there, puts his car in park, turns off his engine and slumps forward. He has a massive heart attack and dies. On his retirement day.

As you might suspect, it really hit me hard. I kept thinking about the anxiety he had been going through and recalled that he had absolutely no idea what he was going to do when he got to retirement.

So how do you avoid that? First, stop referring to it as retirement. I looked up some synonyms for retirement and found retreat, seclusion, withdrawal, stepping back. I don’t think withdrawal and seclusion sits well with our parents and it doesn’t sit well with us. Let’s call it our reinvention. Or new purpose.

Second, plan. Give yourself a two-year head start when you think you are going to switch gears and move into you new purpose. Don’t wait. There are great ways to prepare.

I have taken a few clients through a reinvention exercise that I learned from The Strategic Coach®. It’s called The “Retirement” Trick™. It’s quick and a great way to get started.

Take a piece of paper; divide it into four columns.  Title the very first column “What do I immediately want to stop doing?”  Take three minutes (only three minutes, no lingering) and quickly write down all the things you just don’t want to do anymore.  They might be the things you’re doing at work or things you’re doing at home. Either way, you just want to eliminate these things.  Write them down.

Then in the second column put “Why would I immediately stop doing it?” Really look into why you don’t want to be doing these.  Give yourself 5 or 10 minutes to run through that column to answer why.

The third column is “What would I start or continue doing?”  Just like in the first column, take only three minutes, a quick sprint. Write down the things you really love doing right now as well as what you will start doing after your reinvention.

Final column: “Why would I continue or start doing this?”  It may take you 5 or 10 minutes to go through that, and then write those all down.

The whole exercise might take you 30 minutes. That’s 30 minutes to start your reinvention and avoid all the anxiety of the gentleman I mentioned earlier.

You’ve written it down. Now what? You’ve given yourself a year or two; plenty of time. Go through that first column, what do you want to immediately stop doing? Start now. You want that column to be completely empty by the time you reinvent yourself.

While you’re emptying and de-cluttering, start to fill up with that third column. All the things you’re going to continue doing, or start doing. It’s a great exercise. And when you hit that transition head on, you are ready to take all your learning and earning and embrace the yearning.

There are lots of ways to ensure that all that you’ve accomplished during your earning stage works for the reinvented you. That’s the primary topic in our new seminar, Taking Charge of Your Wealth. If you’re starting your list now, add Taking Charge of Your Wealth to the third column and come to one of our seminars in the fall.

Visit our website and call us (800-480-7913) for a consultation. I’d be glad to talk to you more about the retirement trick.

So until next time, enjoy.

Send me your response, query or comment to

*The “Retirement” Trick™ registered trademarks, protected by copyright and integral concepts of The Strategic Coach, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.  Used with written permission.


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