Tag: retirement success

This Retiree’s 11 Tips to Creating Your Next3rd You’ll Love

This Retiree’s 11 Tips to Creating Your Next3rd You’ll Love

She lost 60lbs, travelled to four continents, reconnected with family and friends, embarked on meaningful volunteering, and learned new activities in her next3rd, all from a remote northern community.  What are her secrets to living a retirement life with zest?  Read on…

Meet Margot

She’s a girl of the north with a big heart, big goals, good humour, and a love of the outdoors.  Her dedication to her career in education left little time for anything but her family.  Now?  Let’s just say her retirement is action packed!

“How is life?  I don’t think it can get much fuller!”

Margot started planning her retirement life right away. A “living” plan focusing on her first priorities; her health and fitness, travel, and reconnecting with family and friends.  She’s the one who inspired me to start a ‘60 Things to Do When I’m 60’ list!

“I’ve accomplished 90% of my list with 4 months to go! I’ve learned I can achieve almost any goal I set for myself.”

But There’s More…

Not only has Margot reached most of her goals, she has added meaning to life through volunteering.  She’s preparing a presentation on her trip to China for a senior’s group and helps her church in various capacities including singing in the choir. “Singing makes me happy!”   She was part of a group that brought a refugee family to their small community, helped them integrate, and continues to mentor/tutor the children successfully through school.

“It feels good to give back. I feel blessed to be able to help.”


How She Did It…

Here are Margot’s 11 tips to living the retirement life you’ve dreamed:

  1. Start Financial Planning at Least 10 Years Before Retiring

“You need to know clearly what your financial situation is.”

“For 5 years, we put our income tax refund into a separate ‘travel fund’.”


  1. Go to a Seminar about Retirement at Least 1 Year Before Retiring

Learn the steps you need to take to transition smoothly.


  1. Take Control of Your Health

Margot changed her sedentary working life to a vibrant active life when she retired.  Now she enjoys, biking, tennis, pickleball, snowshoeing and more.  She also joined a diabetes study as a preventative measure which enabled a healthier diet.  “I feel fitter, healthier and happier.”

 “Prioritize your health from here forward.”  


  1. Have a Financial Plan B

Sometimes the unexpected happens.  Margot has seen families struggle financially after a spouse dies younger than expected.


  1. Be Positive

Bad stuff happens.  Margot lost her Mum in her first year of retirement.  Yet, she feels blessed for having that year to spend special time with her.

“When you feel fit, healthy, grateful, and are giving back, you can stay positive.”


  1. Enjoy What’s Around You, Open Your Mind to New Things and New Fun

“Don’t be afraid to try new things.”  Margot tried rock-climbing, tennis, pickle ball and other active lessons.  She helped her hubby with hands-on reno projects and re-learned how to filet a fish.  (The pickerel up there is amazing!)  She even finished 2nd in her category in a 10km run!

  1. Respect That You and Your Partner Have Different Days

How you each spend your day can be different.  Margot’s hubby can clock 10,000 steps working outside, while Margot will go out for a spin.  You don’t have to be, or travel, together all the time.  “You have something to share at the end of the day or trip.”

“You need to have your own space when you retire.”


  1. Count on Yourself to Be Disciplined

“I am more disciplined just counting on myself.”  If you have specific goals, or daily practices, its up to you to get them done.  Be it a ride at 6am, or daily meditation, “count on yourself first and that means discipline”.

“If no-one else is around to do it with, I’ll do it anyway.”

  1. Plan to Renew Relationships

Margot’s loved ones are scattered across our vast country and she purposely visits or calls long-term friends and her fam jam frequently.  She travelled with various family members, and planned family reunions which strengthened those bonds.

“I feel blessed to re-connect with old friends and bring my family closer.”


  1. Make a List of Things to Do for a Milestone

She’s already working on her 65 Things to Do When She’s 65 “This worked really well for me.”  Include little things and big things.  The list mobilized her dreams and really did create a very full retirement.  Full of adventure, meaning, connection and fun!

“I love lists. I love checking things off. I love that my family and friends wanted to make my goals happen with me.”

  1. Count Your Blessings

Those are my words.  Margot said, “Be positive again”.  As we chatted, I heard her reflect on how blessed she felt, which in turn gave her a positive feeling. “People want to be around you when you’re positive.” In her first year of retirement, she wrote her top ten things for which she was grateful, daily.  Now she ‘counts her blessing’s each week.

“It helps you be more aware, and it gives you something positive to talk about.”


Thanks Margot, have fun working on the new list!

Care to share?

Retirement: This One Thing Will Make it Truly Fulfilling

Retirement: This One Thing Will Make it Truly Fulfilling

How do you manage the change from the fast-paced, highly scheduled, and task-oriented work life to what could be the opposite in retirement? What can you do to live a rewarding retirement life without the structure that guided your work life? Many retirees feel lost and even depressed as they struggle to re-orient themselves in life’s blank canvas called retirement. Here is one solution to help those feeling a little adrift.


Build Your Own Personal Retirement Life Plan


Not a financial plan, a life plan. Your own personal plan for retirement life. How? Allow me to steal some proven practices for my strategic planning days and show you how to turn your personal dreams into action. Don’t roll your eyes yet!


First, Start with Your Dream


Most of us dream about the freedom of retirement. Some want to travel, some to relax, and we all relish the day without an alarm clock. That’s a start. I’m sure there’s more. I’m talking about a personal vision. A good vision provides clarity of your direction, your life purpose and of what’s important to you. It guides you to living the life you’ve imagined.


Your personal vision is your compass in your life.


How do You Create a Personal Vision?


The key word is “create”. It’s a creative process in the part of the brain that is visual. Expect it to be a bit fuzzy at first, difficult to articulate with words. It may help to draw your vision. Imagine your ideal life in retirement – your personal Next3rd.


What is your picture of your dream life in retirement?


Reflect on the life you’d like to lead in retirement. Where are you? Who is with you? What leisure activities or hobbies might you enjoy? What are you learning? How are you investing in your health? How will you help others? What relationships will you nurture? How will you grow personally and be in tune with your spirituality? What’s important to you? What hints of your life’s purpose are emerging?

Jot down some ideas or draw a sketch. Leave it for a while and let your subconscious percolate. Finetune and repeat. Write it down! A paragraph or a page – whatever works for you. Write your vision as descriptively as you can so that you can ‘see’ it in your mind’s eye. It’s OK to be vague. Over time, you’ll gain more clarity. Just get started! Remember, this is personal, you don’t have to share it, but do read it regularly.


Stuck? Think about what excited you as a kid. That’s part of who you really are.


Second, Set Personal Goals to Reach your Dream


Yes, I sound like a strategic planner. Can’t help it. This stuff works!

While your vision may be a little fuzzy, your goals become more specific. Read your personal vision and think of timelines. Within your vision, what would you like to achieve in one year? Three years? Five years? What can you accomplish to move closer to your ideal life?


Write 3-5 goals per time frame. Any more and success is less likely.


Preferably, your goals are measurable. You can see how you are progressing and adjust along the way. My one-year goals included hiking the Inca Trail. Easy to measure – completed or not! Sometimes goals require adjusting as life surprises us. Finetune them as you need. After an injury, I adjusted my ‘active’ goals to reading and learning goals.


Personal goals give you something to work toward and keep you focused on what’s most important.


Third, Put the Pedal to the Metal


Time for action! Look at your one-year goals and determine what you intend to do in the next 3 months to help you reach your personal goals. I like to give my one year goal a theme to provide some focus for my activities.  It may be helpful to plan your actions at the change of each season. You are creating your own personal action plan to accomplish your goals.


Write 2-3 actions per goal to complete for the next 3 months/season and ‘tactics’ of how to complete them.


For my Inca Trail goal, I wanted to be in top physical shape and so my ‘tactic’ was to join a gym and hire a personal trainer. Check! Repeat this process of setting new intentions toward your annual goals every season. Watch how your life’s dream becomes clearer and closer to reality! You have something to look forward to in each season.


Seasonal action planning fires momentum toward your personal vision and brings focus and intention to your daily life!


Finally, Review, Reflect, Repeat!


Congratulations! You’ve developed your personal retirement life plan! Keep it alive and relevant by reviewing it frequently. I try to read mine every day and let it guide my weekly To Do list.  This truly helps me live an intentioned life. Reflect on your progress, goals and personal vision. What have you learned about yourself? Do you want to finetune anything?


As time goes on, your priorities may change, and that’s perfectly OK!


Repeat the process of annual goal-setting and seasonal action-planning and soon it will be a natural rhythm in your retirement life. A rhythm that gives you meaning, some structure, and direction. A fulfilling life is one where our actions and thoughts nourish and sustain our life’s dream!


“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis


Care to share?

6 Essentials to a Healthy Relationship, for a Happy Retirement

6 Essentials to a Healthy Relationship, for a Happy Retirement

Feeling connected to others is vital to a happy retirement, and some studies suggest, to longer life. But, retirement brings changes and some of the biggest are in the dynamics of our relationships. Perhaps its time for a refresher on what makes a relationship healthy!


“A healthy relationship makes for a healthy retirement; an OK relationship makes for an OK retirement; while a chronically sick relationship, makes for a disaster.”  Dr. Richard P. Johnson



What is Connectedness?

It’s our ability to share ourselves at a deeper level with our spouse, special friend or confidante.  It is a key factor for retirement success.  When we share our time, talents, possessions, our emotions, joy, fear, hopes, dreams, desires, and mistakes, we share our spirit.  Think about those times when someone really listened to you, understood you.  How did you feel?  Connected?


A good relationship sparks our spirit; a poor relationship douses it.



Remove the Armour

Unfortunately, aloneness can creep into our retirement years. Loss of loved ones, and the changing lifestyles of friends and family may weaken close ties. We may try to protect ourselves from loneliness and don our armour. In the end, we isolate ourselves further and in so doing, quash our own spirit.  We just might become that grumpy old person people want to avoid!


“Reclusiveness is the opposite of connectedness. It constricts our souls, strangles our life energy and cuts us away from the vitality of living.” Dr. Johnson



The Six Conditions

Of a healthy relationship according to Dr. Johnson, expert on adult development, ageing and retirement, are:


  1. Mutuality

Each partner feels their needs are valued equally and they share a common purpose.  Inter-dependence rather than independence or dependence is key. They have a balanced union, not one of dominance or resignation. They can count on each other and they honour their relationship.

“The opposite of mutuality is self-centeredness.”


  1. Respect

Each partner recognizes, honours and cherishes the special uniqueness of the other… even after time has worn off some of the new excitement.  It’s not about tolerating the differences but recognizing them as part of the unique gifts of your partner.

“The opposite of respect is resentment.”


  1. Communication

Communicating in a caring compassionate way can help partners navigate the inevitable differences that emerge over time. Active listening, attending to feelings, speaking for yourself, not others, and encouraging each other to speak freely are some elements of meaningful interaction.

“The opposite of communication is criticism.”


  1. Intimacy

A strong and positive emotional bond brings intimacy.  A bond that yields affection, attachment and devotion. That’s intimacy.  When your partner can understand your feelings and vice versa. “Relationships that deal in the currency of feelings are relationships of richness and happiness.”

“The opposite of intimacy is emotional estrangement.”


  1. Trust

You can rely upon each other without question and genuinely accept the other.  Each partner encourages, supports and accepts the other’s journey of personal development.  It is not about submissiveness or resignation, but of clarity of what really is. Trust involves acceptance of others and of what is.

“The opposite of trust is doubt.”


  1. Commitment

Each partner practices perseverance, persistence and steadfastness so that fidelity and staying power builds over a lifetime. Partners have the courage to unwaveringly grow and strengthen their relationship when others may have lost hope.

“The opposite of commitment is indifference.”


Whew!  As I write this, I realize how easy it is to get lazy in a relationship. Now I’m inspired to rekindle the connection and I hope you are too!  For more inspiration, check out this post about Karl and Denise, a couple that embodies these six essentials.  In Dr. Johnson’s words…


“If you have a confidante, take very good care of that person; they are your mental wellness.”


Care to share?

Retirement: How You Perceive Your Health Makes a Difference

Retirement: How You Perceive Your Health Makes a Difference

Vitality. Most of us want it, especially in retirement. Yet, nearly 70% of Canadians over 60 have at least one chronic condition that may hamper this desire to live a life full of zest. Arthritis, high blood pressure and back problems might put a hold on your retirement dreams. Or not.  It depends on how you look at it.


That Mind-Body Thing

What you tell yourself, your body listens.  Keep telling yourself that you are old and decrepit, and you behave accordingly.  Your body will likely oblige as well.  Although, healthy maturing adults have just as good an immune system as people half their age, research has show that our attitudes about our health and life impact how well we fend off disease and discomfort.

It’s that PMA thing again.  Having a Positive Mental Attitude (covered in this happiness post) can help make the difference in creating a retirement life of vitality.  In fact, our general attitude to retirement may need a re-set as shared in this post.  The body is a marvel.  Do you focus on everything that’s wrong with it, or what an amazing machine it is?

 “How old would you be if you didn’t know your age?” Satchel Page


5 Ways to Deal with the Cards We’re Dealt

Having a mature and positive approach to wellness is one of the 15 retirement success factors, determined by Dr. Richard Johnson, founder of Retirement Options.  He shares one study that identifies 5 different approaches people in retirement take regarding their health:

  1. Mature: We take responsibility for our health and wellness, make necessary changes, and develop and carry out options to maintain good health.
  2. Rocking chair: We are passive about our wellness, and only act when forced to do so.
  3. Armoured: We are rather obsessed with our health, constantly on the lookout for something wrong and may over-do exercise, dieting and other health practices.
  4. Depressed: We may either neglect our health and wellness or become somewhat of a hypochondriac when we are feeling very low
  5. Angry: We shun professional health care and take on the full burden ourselves, rather than in partnership with the professionals


How you respond to your health in retirement impacts your retirement vitality.


You Just Might Be Surprised by What You Can Do!

Our goal, of course, is the mature response where we take responsibility and action to improve and manage our health in partnership with health care professionals. I am reminded of Gary, who I interviewed for this post and who shared his attitude and (mature) approach to being diagnosed with cancer in retirement. Inspiring.

Perhaps a visit to a physical therapist will arm you with new exercises to manage an old injury.  Working with a qualified personal trainer to build your functional fitness may open new possibilities for you.  A modification to your diet and sleep habits may also add life to your years. Mindfulness and nurturing your social circles can bring you joy.  Make the most of what you’ve got.  Its in your hands!

Want to really be inspired?  Olga competed and won many medals in World Masters track and field in her 90’s. Her story is shared in the book “What Makes Olga Run” by Bruce Grierson which examines her lifestyle, attitude and biology for secrets to her good health and longevity.  Listen to her wise words in this short video clip.

“I am an optimist and I take the most hopeful view of matters.” Olga Kotelko


Care to share?

This Active Retiree Shares His 3 Keys to Retirement Success

This Active Retiree Shares His 3 Keys to Retirement Success

Imagine you are in the peak of your career, in the top pack, and with a change of the head honcho, you are suddenly packing your personal things and bringing them home to stay. ‘Retired’ at age 53 was not in this ambitious guy’s game plan, yet he discovered whole new possibilities and is living a rich and fulfilling retirement life.  What’s his secret?  Read on!


A Guy You Can Count On

I first met Pierre-Yves, known as P-Y, at a community meeting over three years ago. He was the first person to volunteer when I asked for help on a community project, and he is still dependably committed to the project.  He’s that type of guy. You can count on him. Disciplined. I guess that’s what 33 years of RCMP life will do to you.

He’s the president of his neighbourhood association, captain of his tennis roster, plays hockey in his son’s league, goes to the gym regularly, volunteers in an entrepreneurial  behaviour intervention youth program, calls his 91-year-old Mum every morning, convenes large family gatherings AND has a thriving consulting business.  Not to mention, he also earned a master’s degree in retirement.

 “People tend to sell themselves short once they retire.”


Health First

Some people play hockey to stay in shape, P-Y stays in shape so he can play hockey, ski with his grandkids and do all the other things he loves. Taking care of your health is the first key to a successful retirement for P-Y.  Staying fit and maintaining a good energy level were a priority for P-Y throughout his career and still are now.  He scheduled gym time in his busy first career and continues in his retirement.

“Once you leave work, the most important asset you have is your health, and the second is your network.”


The Perfect Segue

Key number 2. Build your network. P-Y likes meeting new people and learning new things.  He has grown his network both purposely and serendipitously.  One consulting project led to another, which led to collaboration with academics at an international level, which broadened his circle, and now he’s the go-to-guy on public safety topics for top-tier journalists. His world changed from one of structure and hierarchy to one full of possibilities beyond his imagination.  How?  He nurtured and expanded his network.

“Your network can translate into a lot of growth in your second career. Even now, after 10 years, it’s still paying off.” 


It’s more than having lunch with your past work buddies. P-Y invests time and money to attend relevant conferences, nationally and internationally. “The more opportunity to meet people, the more opportunity you have.” He seeks out face time with new leaders in his field and keeps abreast of the current issues facing his potential clients. Which leads us to his third key.


Maintain Your Relevancy

This is the antidote to the old notion of retirement where you retreat from life. “Relevancy is healthy for retirement.”  Finding and being open to opportunities to contribute, being relevant, is the common denominator for P-Y in retirement.  Not only for his clients, but also for his community, family, relationships and future generations.  Hence his community involvement, daily Mum calls, family gatherings, youth mentorship and continued learning.

“I will never actually retire, I will always look for opportunities to grow personally and to help the community.  It’s been fun so far.”


P-Y has seen colleagues walk aimlessly through retirement and believes that the earlier you plan your retirement lifestyle the more fulfilling it will be.  “Relevancy is the key and you need to have the tools in the toolbox to keep this relevancy alive.”  Relevancy brings connectivity, something that can be easily lost in retirement. To me, P-Y is a good example for ‘self-directedness”, an important retirement trait shared in my last post.


Words of Wisdom


 “Remain relevant and have the physical and mental means to do so.  In all aspects of your life.”


Care to share?

Retirement: One Trait Needed to Live the Life You Dreamed

Retirement: One Trait Needed to Live the Life You Dreamed

There is one trait you will want to embrace that will make the difference between a listless retirement and one that fulfills you.  It’s a skill you likely practiced daily in your work career, but may have lost the opportunity to do so in retirement.  It marks the difference between the ‘old’ retirement – that of the rocking chair life, and the new retirement which is as unique as you.


 Lost Opportunity

At work we had the opportunity in some way to take charge of our tasks, our schedule, our day to varying degrees.  How you formulate your presentations, how you finesse your sales pitch, or how you solve the problem of the day. You find a way to apply your uniqueness in carrying out your role at work.

In retirement, we lose the opportunity, not the skill, to direct activities our way.  We may no longer have important problems to solve or people to collaborate with.  We lose the opportunity to organize how we work and what we do in a meaningful way. We may feel a little lost, inferior and directionless.

“If you take away one’s ability to make decisions, you take away their life force.”  Dr. Richard Richardson


You’re at Risk if…

You are used to other people planning your activities.  We all need some degree of order and organization in our lives.  Some of us let others decide for us and we follow along. Our social agenda, household budget, and leisure time are just some items that can be organized by others. We may amble through life without expressing our own uniqueness.

We run the risk of living a life designed by someone else.


 The Trait that Makes the Difference

 Want more from your retirement?  A good dose of ‘self-directedness’ is the cure.  Yes, that ability to map your own direction, purpose and attitudes. Self-directedness is one of the 15 retirement success factors determined by Dr. Johnson’s research, founder of Retirement Options.

Be the captain of your own ship on your journey of personal growth. 


Yes, that means taking charge of your retirement.  Don’t just sit back in that rocking chair and let it happen.   Get up and make the choices that fulfill you … and act on them!  It’s about designing your own, unique retirement plan and/or one that suits both you and your partner.  Reflect on how you will find a new purpose in life (learn how in this post).  What personal growth do you want to explore?  What hobbies and leisure activities peak your interest?  What will bring you life satisfaction?  It’s your life, plan it your way!


One Word of Caution

A little bit of flexibility goes a long way.  Let’s not be so focused on our own goals that we bull-doze over our partner’s or love ones’.  We don’t want to be that stubborn old person, who says “my way or the highway”!  Right?

Care to share?

Boomers: 3 Posts to Start 2018 Right

Boomers: 3 Posts to Start 2018 Right

Your health, happiness and retirement are likely on your mind if you are a baby-boomer. As we move into the third stage of our lives, our ‘next third’, we are facing considerable changes and likely some uncertainty.  How will my health hold out?  Am I ready to retire?  What will I do to be happy and fulfilled?  Here are three posts from the Next3rd blog that will help you set your intentions for 2018:


Over 50? How to Reboot your Bod

You may have been blessed with good health until now or perhaps those aches, pains and extra pounds are starting to hamper you. Either way, now is the time to pay more attention to your health.  Study after study, tell us that exercise and good nutrition help us age well.

This post highlights tips from the insightful and practical book series “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. Chris is now in his 80’s, physically active and seems to be building a new business full of purpose.  Need more inspiration?  Read about Dave, a former engineer turned triathlete coach in his early retirement in this post! (Two posts for the price of one!)


Ready to Retire? 15 Success Factors

You may think your retirement will be a permanent vacation, but think twice.  Retirement brings some of the biggest changes in our lives.  As we age, we may become more resistant to change and thus live a life fraught with fear, resentment or even depression.  Loss of identity and purpose, neglected relationships, and rigid mindsets are some of the pitfalls that can seep into our retirement years.

This post highlights key factors that enable a successful, fulfilling retirement to help us live life’s third act with zest and vitality.  I have been dedicating individual posts to each retirement success factor over the past year.  Six more to explore!  Dreaming of your ideal retirement? Learn from Sue and Dean, who sold their home to sail away in their retirement in this post.  (Yep, another 2 for 1 deal.)



7 Habits to Create a Happy Retirement, a Happy Life

As we age, we return to our own individuality.  We care less about fitting the mould and towing the corporate line.  Recognizing that money can’t buy happiness, we begin to look beyond our careers for life satisfaction.  Perhaps its releasing your pent-up creativity, or pursuing new leisure activities, or just re-connecting with old friends.

This post explores the six arenas of life that contribute to life satisfaction identified through research on adult development.  It also offers seven habits that can truly create more happiness in your life based on recent research on happiness.  One habit for each day.  Look at that!  A new, easy daily practice for you.  Want to meet someone who made big changes for a happier life?  Read about Marlene in this post.  You’ll be inspired!  (2 for 1 again!)


Happy New Year!  I hope that this and other Next3rd blog posts inform and inspire you to live your best life in your next third.

Care to share?

Are Your Adult Kids Sabotaging Your Retirement?

Are Your Adult Kids Sabotaging Your Retirement?

62% of Canadian boomers feel their retirement is jeopardized because of the financial support they provide their adult children according to a recent TD Bank survey. Nearly half of adults in their 20’s live at home.  Supporting your adult children can hurt your retirement plans and your sanity.  Here are three tips to help you co-exist with your ‘boomerang’ kids while protecting your retirement nest egg.

25 is the New 19

It may not be arrested development, but an economic reality to share your home with your twenty-something children.  Secondary education and housing costs may be out of reach for your kids while starting salaries are low.  A crisis, such as divorce or job loss, may bring the kids back home, perhaps with their kids.  Or, your brilliant adult child has decided to pursue that Masters or PhD, partly on your ticket.

150% more adults aged 25-34 years live at home today than in the 70’s


 1.  Agree on House Rules

Whether they’ve never left, or they’ve come back home, clarifying expectations with your adult children at the onset will help you coexist more smoothly.

When boundaries are unclear, stress and conflict increase.


The key word is ‘agree’.  It’s like having roommates.  As my daughter used to say, “you’re not the boss of me.” Listen to each other.  Start with house rules built on respect for each other.  You each have the right to your own privacy.


  • Comfort levels for:
    • Music & noise
    • Visitors
    • Neatness
    • Awake/sleep hours
    • Independence vs. family togetherness time
    • Separate living zones


  • Household contribution:
    • Chores
    • Cooking
    • Groceries
    • TV, internet, cell service use
    • Use of vehicles (or not)
    • Rent, utilities


 2.  Take Care of Yourself First

You love your children and want to protect them, help them and nurture them.  As we are told in the airplane, put your oxygen mask on first and then your child’s.  Your kids have a whole life ahead of them to grow their financial base.  You?  Less time.  Protect your nest egg.

It’s that boundary thing again.  Plus, you are modelling prudent financial management to your kids.  Win win!

 Know how much you can afford to help without hurting your retirement. 


Not sure?  Meet with your financial planner or wealth manager and run a scenario of future expected expenses and income.  Yes, it will be based on assumptions, but it will give you an idea of what you’ve got and what you need to live the retirement life you imagined.  Factor in the additional expenses of your dependents, and you’ll understand your boundaries.


3.  Agree on a Timeline for Departure

At some point, our kids need to launch.  Most of them want to, and look forward to being independent.  Agree on a workable time frame for departure. (There’s that ‘agree’ word again.) Your kids will know they need to manage their finances and affairs accordingly.  You will know how long your support is required and can plan your life and finances appropriately.

“Offer encouragement not advice” – Dr. Richard Johnson


As much as we love our kids and enjoy their company, we’ve got to let them spread their own wings. Have faith that you’ve taught them well and that they will land on their feet!

Care to share?

Want to Sail Away in Retirement? Read This First

Want to Sail Away in Retirement? Read This First

Dreaming of sailing on turquoise waters when you retire?  This adventurous couple set their retirement plan in motion and fulfilled this lifelong dream.  How did they fare? Here are the lessons they learned…


You Know What They Say About Plans…

Dean and Sue Pope are an articulate, open and thoughtful couple.  Avid boaters, they had a plan for their retirement.  Sell their home, buy the right boat, and sail the Caribbean for five years.  They did their research and calculated the financial impact of this dream.  Dean would work 3-4 more years before acting on their exciting retirement plan.

Then, changes at Dean’s work brought an opportunity for early retirement. Their retirement dream was accelerated significantly.  Boat shopping began a few years earlier than expected.  Their first assumption, the timing of their plan, … adjusted.


“Every assumption we made, turned out to be wrong.”


Other assumptions?  Exchange rates, price of gas, costs of goods and boat maintenance to name a few.  Their budget and expectations were regularly adjusted.  I am reminded how adaptability is a key factor to retirement success!


Life Happens

The Popes also assumed it would be five years before they became grandparents, hence the five-year boating plan.  That family blessing came in three years!  Sadly, a week after signing the boat deal, Sue’s father passed away unexpectedly.  A very rough start to the retirement dream.  Although difficult, Sue and Dean persevered and continued with their plan.


“The thing about dreams like ours is that they have a realistic undertone you don’t see when you are dreaming.”


The couple enjoyed the care-free boating life and met many friendly boaters on their travels. Yet, the reality of their new lifestyle meant they were far away from good friends and family.  “You can’t just pick up and go home for a birthday.”  Having the right communications technology helped.  They also invited close friends for winter visits to share the beauty of their boating experience.


So Much Learning and Refined Priorities

Sue and Dean prepared as much as they could for their retirement adventure.  Yet as Sue says, “you just have to do it” and learn along the way.  New challenges and new experiences brought them much nautical and boating wisdom. The nitty gritty of living in a foreign country expanded their perspective too. They also learned about themselves.

Being away from family and close friends for an extended period helped Sue and particularly Dean reset their priorities.


We don’t take much for granted now. We learned nothing is for ever, enjoy it while you can.”


The arrival of their grandson was the deciding factor in shortening their adventure by two years to come home. Their boating experience inspired them to be more engaged grandparents.  They chose to live in a new community that is closer to their children and their good friends, and are fully enjoying their loved ones. “We are content.”


Retirement is a Process, not a Thing

The Popes refer to their boating dream as their first phase of retirement. Now they are working on Retirement 2.0.  While family and friends are a priority in this phase, they are exploring more.


“We have to re-invent ourselves again and need our own life in addition to family.”


Sue and Dean are getting involved in their new community and charting what they will do next to keep ‘adventuring’.  I can hear the enthusiasm in their voices.  They are enjoying life.


Words of Wisdom

Sue: “You need to have a plan when you retire, something to work on and keep you busy. Otherwise, you can be lost in the beginning.”

Dean: “Every assumption is going to end up being different.  You need to be nimble and roll with the punches.  You will need financial capability.”

Both Sue and Dean are happy they pursued their boating dream in retirement. I’m happy they shared their story with us!  As Sue says…


 “Seeing it from the water is a lovely way to see the world.”


Care to share?

Ready to Retire? 15 Success Factors

Ready to Retire? 15 Success Factors

There’s more to preparing for retirement than financial planning. Important research has determined 15 factors that are key to retirement success.

What is retirement success?  It’s a feeling really.  A feeling of vitality, of purpose, of contentment.  How we reach this sense of happiness in our next3rd differs from person to person. It may take a bit of self-study to understand just what we need to lead a fulfilling 3rd act in life.  There’s help for that!

Dr. Richard Johnson, a leading expert on adult development and gerontology, and founder of Retirement Options has been studying retirement for several decades. His research has revealed that a retirement consisting of only rest and relaxation does not necessarily create a happy retirement.  What does?  Here are his 15 success factors in layman’s terms:

Fabulous 15

  1. Manage the identity shift from ‘what you do’ to ‘who you are’
  2. Positive attitude toward retirement
  3. Ability to set your own course
  4. How healthy you feel
  5. How financially secure you feel
  6. Current happiness
  7. Expected happiness in retirement
  8. Sense of purpose
  9. Leisure interests
  10. Adaptability
  11. How much you live in the ‘now’
  12. How much your parents and adult children depend on you
  13. Quality of your relationships
  14. How young you feel
  15. Ability to replace the benefits of work/career


Whew!  That may seem like the mother load; don’t fret!  You’ve probably got a good handle on some of these and other factors may be less important to you.  Yes, the fabulous 15 may require you to pause and reflect.  That’s good.  The better you understand where you stand on these factors, the easier your decisions and the clearer your path to a happy next3rd.

I will explore each of these success factors in upcoming blog posts.  Stay tuned!

Care to share?