Wholeness Retirement Planning
Throughout my career, as a engineer, retirement planning was mentioned every other year or so. In the beginning I did not sign up for the meetings because it seemed so far off and I heard from the older engineers what was discussed. I figured I had plenty of time to think about it and it was not on my radar. I heard there were two main areas that were stressed; be prepared for medical issues and have plenty of funds to get you through the remainder of the years. So I planned accordingly. I invested a certain % of my salary every year and prayed I would stay healthy.
About 10 years before I thought I would retire, I regularly started attending retirement seminars (today I’d say start planning right away). This was before Google and the extensive web information currently available. Back then; I relied on information provided in workshops, the library, investment brokers, friends and family. I stayed steadfast with my investments and saw small returns and a couple downturns, being instructed that this is where I needed to concentrate my efforts.
I soon realized year after year the outline for the seminars was the same. and knew something missing. Health and money was very important, but weren’t other aspects of my life equally important such as mental agility, flexibility and community. Where were the discussion of what I was going to do after I left my profession? How should I plan to stay creative and fulfilled?
Because I had a passion outside of my career field, I knew I wanted to further explore this passion once I left my career. Prior to retirement, I started taking classes, discovering new interests and learned more about who I was. I knew was more than a woman who soon would be devoid of 35 years of daily work and a recognized profession. I took a good look at my self, so that I would be able to live life fully, with purpose and passion, But these parts of life after a career where not mentioned in the retirement seminars.
During my last year of working before retirement, my work stayed stimulating, motivating and interesting right up to my last day. I left my office with a upbeat, positive attitude and entered retirement with the same great outlook. It was a habit I had created and intended to maintain. It was my choice and I felt good. I observed other workers fearful of moving on or doing something unfamiliar. I watched as co-workers counted down their last year with signs saying “Only XX More Days Till I’m Done” on their computers or had signs saying “Stick me with a fork when I’m done”. Funny? Maybe. But I wondered if it wasn’t it a bit sad to choose to stay in a state of limbo, perpetually forlorn or a bad mood for the last year or two of a career? I observed when their attitude indicated “work” was the only place they’d ever find fulfillment or the opposite; they couldn’t wait to leave.
If their attitude was indeed their work habit, I wondered how easy would it be to transition into a satisfying, fulfilling retirement?
So, I decided to plan or approach my “last hurrah” or “stage of life”, after retirement differently. One I hope is blessed with good health, wisdom, kindness, fairness and generosity. My retirement plan did include finances and health but also it strategically clarified other critical areas of my life such as
- 13% – Social –Family, Friends, Community
- 12% – Environment – Home, Farm, Pets
- 15% – Health – Emotional, Physical, Mental
- 25% – Finances – Self, Tithing, Investments, Entrepreneur
- 15% – Spiritual – Charity, Spirit, Nature, Love
- 20% – Play – Creativity, Volunteering, Never Ending Improvement
These are areas that are important to my whole well-being.
These parts of my life are ones that I need to thrive, all of them, not just one or two. I want balanced, not have one area more important than another. Yes, at times my life becomes imbalanced and things get topsy-turvy. That is when I really need to take a good look at my wheel and figure out how I’m doing. To get back on track, I might need to adjust or change the categories, and that is fine because adapting and change is also part of my habit. A few months back, I found I was “playing” and expanding my mind (books and internet browsing). I found myself out of balance. My friendships became limited and family time was strained. My business started to suffer. I got in a slump, but then with some simple adjustments and checking my wheel, I saw what was happening. I started living in the present and came back into balance. Not a perfect wheel, but able to roll..
What is your Wholeness Retirement Plan? What does retirement mean to you? Be prepared to change and re-evaluate your likes and dislikes. Things change just as you have changed over the years. You have more experience and knowledge. The dreams of a 24 year old are very different from a man or woman of 63 or 65. Take the time to evaluate what and how you want your life to be at this later stage. Look at the balance in your life now. Is there too much time spent at work and not enough with the family? Choose to change that behavior. Explore the parts of the whole that are important to your long-term well-being. What makes your heart sing, what is fun, how do you play and what allows you to feel fulfilled? Try a new dance, learn a new game, swim or visit new places. Start now, to live life fully and thrive. These good habits will follow you into retirement.
Barbara is a certified EGCMethod life and wellness coach. She, along with her husband, dogs, cats, horses and cows, live at Wayfinding Farm, located near Ocala Florida. For more information about her life coaching business, Wayfinding with Horses, go to her website WWH.biz or call 304-282-0353.