It seems that everyone is offering advice on how to plan for retirement, where to live, what to do, how to pay for it. But I’m noticing that many of those offering the advice, are younger and not yet retired. I have no problem with younger people. In fact, I make it my business to have younger friends, and to be active where I can be among younger people. I like to think that it keeps me youthful. But there’s nothing like experience to back up your advice. So I started thinking about what I have experienced in the 10 years since I thought I had retired. I made a list, and, looking it over, I’m pretty pleased at what I see. For one thing, I have been very busy!
In 2005, I sold my accounts at Ameriprise to a younger advisor and am I glad I did! The real estate and stock market declines beginning in 2007 would have made it very hard to do so later. But retirement wasn’t really planned. In fact, I thought I had retired in 1994 when I moved to Florida after a career in commercial banking. I thought I’d play tennis, bridge and golf, maybe sell a little real estate. That’s not how it worked out. Within two years, I could see that selling real estate was not really my thing, and while I loved tennis, I couldn’t play it all day every day, and golf was boring. Fortunately, a friend referred me to Dean Witter, and at 56 I got my insurance and securities licenses and started a new career, eventually shifting to Ameriprise. With the lessons learned from my “early retirement”, why did I retire again? Well, it was opportunity meeting need. I was in the middle of a major renovation of my home due to termites and wood rot, and I guess I was tired and frustrated, and in the middle of it all we had Hurricane Wilma. I had a dream one night that a person asked me what I really wanted, and I responded “Less responsibility and more adventures!” Two days later an experienced advisor offered me a decent price for my accounts. I accepted and spent the next three years working part-time in a familiar environment until the Great Recession hit.
OK, what now? Based on my “retirement” experiences and my work at Ameriprise, I had already decided to start a business coaching people about the non-financial aspects of planning for retirement and obtained certification to become a Retirement Coach. But then, I was invited to join another agency to do financial planning, investments, and insurance once again. It was a great experience working with bright younger people and I saw, once again, that I really like working with people to help them achieve their goals. So, I resigned to focus on creating my new business.
I’ve also done most things pre-retirees are encouraged to do. In fact, I think I am a poster child for the “New Retirement“! I continued to play tennis, travelled extensively, wrote my memoirs, continued enjoying the arts, film, theatre, and opera. I sold two properties and downsized to a small villa, became a certified Toastmaster, focused on my spiritual development as a member of Unity church, experienced the mysteries of Medicare with two operations, have lost old friends to death and disability but have made new friends, replaced tennis with water aerobics and swimming when I started to have injuries. I’ve experimented with living in another country (Panama where my son has a house) and even obtained a pensionado visa to live there, but have decided to stay in the U.S. I’ve been a community activist, leading residents in a nine year fight against the development of a golf course, defeating it twice. I taught a course in financial planning at my church. Recently, I created an online course in lifetime financial planning for a university to offer to alumni. Having to learn how to create Power Point presentations in order to do that, I’ve gone on to create additional presentations to offer in workshops locally, and am currently thinking about offering an online course for the public on a new website.
I have written in earlier posts on how the ability to create new things in your life continues into your later years. Recently, I remembered that this has always been an interest in my life: how to create what we want to experience. I realized that this interest goes back to the 70’s when I took consciousness-raising courses at Yale, EST training in the 80’s, study at the Center for Creative Leadership in No. Carolina, and a course called Technologies in Creating with Peter Senge at MIT. One of the techniques in retirement planning is to unearth those patterns in your past life which speak to your true interests. Obviously, creating new things is something I enjoy. So, all my workshops are based on the premise that we have the ability to create what we want in our lives, even into the later years.