This blog article covers the essential elements of managing transition and retirement change namely:
- Awareness about life-changes.
- Adaptation and the natural curve.
- Life-long preparedness and learning.
- Body signals and the science around body changes.
The essential elements will be serialised beginning with the first one awareness about life-changes and the others will be covered in the subsequent blog articles.
From my previous blog Retirement Planning: Where to start from, I looked at the meaning, evolution and relevance of retirement providing a foundation for retirement planning. As I look at awareness about life-changes in the retirement journey, the foundation information above will be very helpful.
Awareness refers to the knowledge or perception of a situation or fact about something—Oxford dictionary. Awareness about life changes is rooted in having knowledge of transition or readiness for the retirement journey, particularly from the following perspectives;
- Towards mandatory retirement age-career
- In retirement.
These perspectives are analysed with a view to understand, anticipate and proactively deal with the fundamental retirement challenges of:
- The inadequacy of basic income to sustain you in retirement,
- How to keep healthy, active, engaged and productive,
- Keeping key relationships and networks.
Let’s delve in;
As a new employee in government, business, non-governmental organisation, you have an opening to learn:
- About finances or for clarity learn about money before you start to earn and/or spend. Because the majority of the financial worries are a result of lack of financial knowledge not necessarily money itself. Dave Ramsey observed that you will find many people later in life who are struggling financially, in debit, wishing they had learned about money earlier.
- How to be healthy, active, engaged and productive, as it will help you live and work better.
- To keep key relationships and networks, as it will help you to plan and manage meaningfully the essential categories of relationships: family, relatives, friends, workmates and the community.
Linking the retirement challenges above to early-career perspective;
First, the inadequacy of income to sustain you in retirement. It may appear so basic to learn how to use money today but many people assume they know when they actually don’t. Inadequate knowledge about money may significantly affect your financial future.
In fact, the pace you set in the early years about how you learn, plan, budget, spend and use money tends to turn out as your financial habits. Financial habits shape your ability to handle money and timely respond to financial opportunities, threats, risks, and decisions.
It is therefore recommended that early in your early-career life, you should learn about money. It will help you throughout your life.
Secondly, you need to learn about how to keep healthy, active, engaged and productive. To begin with, you can only work when you are healthy. You can work better and be more productive when you live a healthy life-style.
Matters of health have a very wide perspective ranging from fitness program, conducive working conditions, healthy foods, mindfulness learning, emotional learning, and a good understanding of this early in your career becomes of paramount importance.
Thirdly, you need to keep key relationships and networks. These relationships include Family, Relatives, Friends, Workmates and Community where you live or operate from.
You need to appreciate importance of these five categories of relationships as each plays a different role but may complement each other.
Chances are high that while working, reasonable time is spent with workmates, which is normal. You are with them most of the time and you have what to talk about and follow upon.
However, you need to strategically, plan your time to include nurturing very close relationships with family, friends, relatives and the community.
You will discover that relationships at the workplace will significantly drop when you cease to work: the bond is always work related.
It is imperative that you nurture and expand essential relationships with family, friends, relatives and the community as well that you can easily socialise with or call on when there is need and/or cause for urgent action.
Nurturing these relationships and networking from your early working life will help you expand them as you progress in your career.
As a mid-career employee: It means you are at a stage in your life where you have worked for some time, with some experience and expertise but with opportunity to; gain more skills, pursue leadership responsibilities, pursue entrepreneurship route, advance in the same field, work more flexibly and so forth.
In the perspective of transition and retirement:
First, you are either consolidating your knowledge and putting into action lessons learnt about your financial life.
Or you have realised that you have to do certain things differently and that financial stability is essential.
At this stage, it is not late to learn about money, apply the skills and change a number of things around your financial lifestyle.
Second, you either know or you are beginning to realise that you have to keep healthy, observing that you need to eat healthy foods, exercise, balance work and life style and so forth.
Thirdly, many people experience relationships and networks mid-career crisis.
It shows up when the work you do appears not be satisfying, where you feel tied into a particular job or where you are not well appreciated.
When this happens, relationships and networks become helpful in shaping your current career, changing responsibilities, may be changing the company or coming up with your own business.
Relationships play a vital role in shaping how you work, develop, plan and realise career and social goals.
Towards mandatory retirement age-career
This is the period where: a) an employee has few years to retire, b) a contractual employee begins a new contract, c) when a politician commences a new term of office.
It is a period that requires intense planning for transition and retirement.
You may need to consider some of the following, in regards to basic income to sustain you in retirement;
a) take stock of your assets and liabilities and, where necessary, re-prioritise them; b) review your emergency fund; c) work on eliminating or minimising debt; d) review your retirement plan and make necessary adjustments; e) validate your retirement savings and investment balances; f) follow-up any remitted funds, ensure that your retirement scheme account(s) are reconciled and g) seek services of a financial advisor.
In view of how to keep healthy, active, engaged and productive, studies have shown that a person’s productivity is tied to the quality of health. It is believed that the interest in improving well-being quality to yield positive productivity results increases during this period.
The motivation to regularly stand up and stretch, practising planned walking and health food options significantly increase at this stage. Your wellness becomes an essential element for your success.
Taking the relationship and network perspective; in a study of social network ties before and after retirement by M. Kauppi and others, 2021. It showed that networks have the inner, middle and outer circles. And that the number of outer circle ties decreased while the number of inner and middle circles did not decrease during these periods.
It is therefore recommended that as you move towards retirement, you need to pay more attention to inner and middle circle relationship ties as outer circle ties will continue to peripheral levels.
This covers the time you formally cease to work to the time you die. In short, this is the “outcome phase” for your work.
Previously, this period largely occurred when you attained the mandatory retirement age.
In the recent times, rapid changes are happening so fast and the manner in which people leave employment have grown to include: restructuring, closure of business, expiry of contracts, physical or mental incapacity, ceasing a political office or any other causes at any time and age.
In cognisant of this, consider the following:
Do a financial check-up: you may need the support of a professional financial advisor, coach or mentor to help you to do it well; but also, to advise you on the appropriate actions to take based on the findings from the financial check-up.
Think and focus on your wellness first i.e., physical, emotional, spiritual and social. More than ever before, you need to have wellness aspects in appropriate balance. Positivity, acceptance and developing a support mechanism becomes very crucial for an enjoyable retirement life.
Nurture relationships and networks by paying more attention to the inner and middle circle ties as you need them most now than ever before. You need your inner family close to you, your closest friends and community around you.
Use every passing moment for a better and enjoyable life. Pick a clue from Jim Rohn that we cannot draw on the future of our time, or get into debt with our time or waste tomorrows’ time, it is always available for us. We can only waste every passing moment.
Let us use our every moment to improve our lives.
Watch out for adaptation and the natural curve as the 2nd element of managing transition and retirement change.