Retirement seems to be something we are all thinking about, regardless of what age we are. I suppose, if I had thought a little more about it when I was 20, I would be sitting somewhere warm and sunny… or maybe not.
I have just finished a motivating book by Dr. Riley Moynes, and he outlines retirement in four, very interesting phases.
I’m sure most of us look forward to the day we do not have to go into the daily grind of 9-5, instead, visualizing leisurely days of golf, watching Netflix and travelling. Sadly that does not always end up being the case.
Moynes lists the first phase of retirement as the ‘vacation phase’, which it usually is. You can do what you want, when you want to. You can get up when you want and go to bed when you want, just like being on vacation.
Believe it or not, people get bored with that lifestyle, like anything, I suppose. Too much of a good thing, and all. Moynes states phase one usually lasts a couple of years, and then we dive into phase two - the ‘lost’ phase.
It is a phase where we feel we are not productive or doing anything meaningful. As Dr. Moynes said, playing golf is fine, but it can get tiring. The Mayo Clinic recently released a report stating 40% of people who retire, face clinical depression. Apparently during phase two there is a larger use of prescription drugs and alcohol, as well as a higher rate of divorce. Everyone goes through some form of phase two, but it is not a place you want to be in very long.
We have been raised to think as long as you have enough money, your estate planning is in place, and you have lots of insurance, you are guaranteed to have a successful retirement. As important as those factors are, it is simply not the complete picture. It’s all about our mental well-being.
This takes us to phase three, which Moynes calls, ‘trial and error’. Appreciate that 10,000 boomers retire every day in North America. We are living longer so we have to find meaningful things to do, as we spend a third of our lives in retirement.
One of the best ways to get out of phase two is to revisit some of the things we used to do, which we enjoyed and which we did well. Perhaps it’s starting a small business or doing a serious charitable undertaking. It doesn’t matter what it is, and it’s ok to fail, as this is the ‘trial and error’ phase, (as long as you don’t empty your coffers in the project). In phase three you have to keep looking for those things, otherwise there is a good chance you will slip back into phase two. Think of all the great things you have learned in your life. Applying them to a project which interests you in retirement, would be a good thing.
Sadly, Moynes states only half of retirees make it to phase four, the phase where you find something which really motivates you and gives you great satisfaction. It can be anything from volunteering to working for non-profits. The phase is called ‘re-invent and re-purpose’, which is exactly what we need to achieve, to enjoy a fruitful and lasting retirement.
The book is called ‘The Four Phases of Retirement’, and the author's name is Dr. Riley Moynes.