By Dave Dineen, BrighterLife.ca
Since retiring, I’m a changed person. My friends and family tell me so.
But some days, it doesn’t feel like I’m adapting well enough to retirement. Maybe I need something few people actually get: off-the-job training to help me have the best retirement I can have.
The changes I’ve experienced in the past year-and-a-half have been dramatic.
Some of early retirement’s biggest changes
- How I define who I am: I don’t think of myself as primarily a market researcher or a marketing guy anymore. But who am I now? I don’t have a crisp answer.
- What my priorities are: I no longer have a job description that prioritizes what I do for 50 or 60 hours a week. But what should I devote my time and talents to now?
- My daily routines: For decades, my early-to-bed-and-early-to-rise routine created the structure for my day. In contrast, I’ve set my alarm only three times in the past year.
- My sense of time: I’m always aware of the date, but the days of the week are now so undifferentiated that I generally don’t bother to keep track (is tomorrow Wednesday?). And a two-week vacation now seems like a scarcity of time, rather than a luxury.
- My relationships: Many relationships in the workplace are a mile wide and an inch deep. Naturally, some of those inch-deep relationships have evaporated since I left work. But the bigger change is how much deeper my personal relationships have grown. As the excellent book, “What Color is My Parachute For Retirement?” says, a marriage of newly retired people is like a “marriage on steroids,” because you’re seeing so much more of your partner.
Fyodor Dostoevsky said, “The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.” It doesn’t have to be that way. I’m breaking long-held habits and – to some degree – creating a retirement that is pretty different from my earlier life.
Caution: Life-changing decisions ahead
Unless I’m going to be content with a rudderless, haphazard retirement, I’ve still got life-changing decisions to make. Those decisions can lead to a fulfilling retirement, a boring existence, part-time work, rewarding voluntarism or other alternatives.
But where do you get off-the-job training that helps you learn how to come up with the right answers for you?
Retirement planning isn’t just financial planning
My local library is a good source of books on retirement planning. Some focus on just one aspect of retirement, but some (like the one I mentioned earlier) can help you shape your thinking on several:
- Your happiness: Understand what really makes you happy, then focus your energies, money and time on those things. Men seem to find this especially difficult. I sure do.
- Your finances: This area is not as complex as most people think, but it’s not straightforward, either. And because living off of your savings/pension is entirely different from how you handled your finances during your working years, even past success in managing your money is no guarantee of success now.
- Your health: We live in an age of information overload and action-scarcity. Studies such as Sun Life’s Canadian Health Index show that far too many Canadians don’t think they can proactively manage their health. Though I’m a former fitness instructor and helped create the Canadian Health Index, I find that my wife has a much better understanding of healthy living and making healthy choices.
Some suppliers of holistic retirement planning services offer group seminars, one-to-one workshops, or guidance for couples. They’re not often offered in the workplace, though some unions do sponsor them.
As for me, I’m doing most of my off-the-job training by reading online or at my local library. Here are some sources I’ve used. Let me know of others you have found useful.
- Stayin’ Alive: How Canadian Baby Boomers Will Work, Play and Find Meaning in the Second Half of Their Adult Lives, by Michael Adams
- Hamlet’s BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age, by William Powers
- Who’s in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain, by Michael S. Gazzaniga
- Jonathan Chevreau, writing for Wealthy Boomer and MoneySense
- Rob Carrick’s Reader
- The Wealthy Barber Returns, by David Chilton
- Your Retirement Income Blueprint, by Daryl Diamond
- The Complete Guide to RRIFs & LIFs, by David Tafler and Gordon Pape
- Rob Carrick’s Guide to What’s Good, Bad and Downright Awful in Canadian Investments Today, by Rob Carrick
- Pensionize Your Nest Egg: How to Use Product Allocation to Create a Guaranteed Income For Life, by Moshe A. Milevsky and Alexandra C. Macqueen
- Money Logic, by Moshe Milevsky
- Wealth Planning Strategies for Canadians, 2012, by Christine Van Cauwenberghe
- Globe Life: Health & Fitness
- Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age, by Susan Jacoby
- Cross-Training for Dummies, by Terry Ryan and Martica Heaner
- In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
Holistic retirement information
- The Canadian Retirement Guide: A Comprehensive Handbook on Aging, Retirement, Caregiving and Health, by Jill O’Donnell, Graham McWaters and John A. Page
- The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, by Bronnie Ware
- The Everything Retirement Planning Book, by Judith B. Harrington and Stanley J. Steinberg
Original source: Maybe I need off-the-job training
Written by Dave Dineen for BrighterLife.ca© Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 2012