There are moments or experiences that make you reassess your life. For John and Mandy Ahern it came from a 400-day trip across Europe and into Africa in an old campervan with their two young children. It changed how they thought about life.
‘Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.’ That’s how Mark Zuckerberg described it. He continued saying purpose leads to a sense ‘that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness.’ As you face your retirement, what is going to be your purpose during retirement? How will it help you be a part of something that’s bigger than you?
‘I’ve got to have something to do,’ said Leo Kellner to a reporter. The comment caught my attention mainly because Kellner is 98 years of age and is still working as a baker. He doesn’t get paid. He gives away what he bakes—to friends, to hospice volunteers and others in need of food and kindness.
Being successful at our life is important. I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago at a funeral of a friend— Steve. He was only 40 years old.
The bad news is that a legacy is what you leave behind when you die. The good news is that your legacy is something that lives on after you’re gone. The question for us in the retirement zone—facing retirement or in it—is, how can we carve our name on hearts? It starts with family.
We need to matter in retirement. Knowing the problem before retirement means we can work on it before we get there, either by working on things that will continue to help us matter in retirement, or having a plan to make sure we will matter then.
A good answer to that question can come from two things: analysing who you are now—because you will take who you are into retirement; and what you want from your retirement.
What comes to mind when you think of your retirement? Excitement? Uncertainty? Dread? All three? The best retirements are planned.
Boomers are changing the concept that retirement is mainly a time for leisure into something more intentional. And that’s because, say Richard and Leona Bergstrom in Third Calling, most Boomers want to ‘age with purpose and possibility’.
The two extremes with retirement planning are: to go into retirement with no plan; or to over-plan. No plan means you’re beginning a substantial part of your life (perhaps 20 to 30 more years) with no direction. Over-planning leaves no space for spontaneity—which is one of the major delights of retirement. The key is to focus on what’s important with your planning.