Once upon a time, retirement was equivalent to being put out to pasture. People left work behind for the rocking chair or the golf course.
Today’s retirees can retire and retool, in any number of ways. If they haven’t yet done so, it’s helpful for those approaching or in retirement to take a long look at how they might use their skills and experience for others’ benefit — or to enhance their own later years.
“Why did you retire?” is the candid question one seasoned loan officer puts to his clients. “Retirement doesn’t just mean not being employed. It should mean having the time you looked forward to for new ventures and exploration — new skills to acquire, learning about things you’ve wondered about — and can present an opportunity to touch the lives of others in some meaningful way.
“Have you retired from life, or are you pausing long enough to launch into new endeavors?”
While retirement planning is not the same as financial planning, the two are, of course, linked.
One shining example of someone who came fully into her own later in life is Prosperity Place founder Joan Sotkin, who created this role in her fifties. I met Joan in person at that time, when the Web was young; I doubt most people on her webinars, website or teleclasses today have any idea of her age. So I read her December 2014 newsletter with glee. Excerpt:
The Truth Will Set You Free!
“As many of you know, over the years, as I have experienced my own financial healing, I shared much of the process — and my progress.
Around March 2014, I sensed an internal shift and realized I had finally reached the conclusion that it’s totally okay to be Joan Sotkin, which has not been an easy assignment in this lifetime.
Within three months, my income increased significantly. I noticed that drawing in clients and other wonderful connections happened almost effortlessly.
Then, a few months ago, I started making guest appearances on other people’s podcasts and realized that there was a part of me I was still hiding: my age.
Here’s the truth.
At the end of this month, I’m going to be 74. I’m healthier and more active than I have ever been before, and don’t consider myself ‘elderly’.
I decided instead of trying to hide my age, I need to embrace this truth and consider how to leverage the advantages of age.
Suddenly, new doors and opportunities are opening as I realize that I have a lot to offer people 50 and over who want to — or know they have to — reinvent themselves.
The moral of this story?
If you are struggling financially or are worried about what the future holds for you, perhaps it’s time to look at how you are trying to fit someone else’s definition of who you should be.
The truth of YOU will set you free.” Happy 74th birthday, Joan.
I also love this sassy piece by Margaret Wente on “How not to act old — even if you are”. After admitting she doesn’t have a smartphone or a solid grasp of what a social media marketer does, Wente closes with:
“This is the best time in history to be old. We’re the youngest older people who ever lived, and extraordinary numbers of us can expect to avoid the impediments of age for many years to come. Many of us still have engaging work. We jaunt around the world. We do nearly all the things we did when we were 30, only slower.
“But hardening of the brain, like hardening of the arteries, is something that creeps up on you, and you must do what you can to resist it. My advice is to spend more time hanging out with people who are 10 or 20 or 50 years younger than you are. You might learn something. They’re pretty smart.”
Aging, like life itself, is an endless practice, observes poet, philosopher and best-selling author Mark Nepo, 63:
“The fate of being human is that our spirit is revealed like the arc of a comet. The outer surface of our life is worn away as we move through time, our center getting brighter as we fall through the years. Living through the time we’re given, we keep becoming more essential, until all that’s left is light.”