While traveling recently, I was introduced to someone from Brazil. When I told him I was a Life Coach with a specialty in Retirement, he was intrigued. The conversation went something like this:
He: Interesting. I recently watched a documentary about retirement in the U.S. If you don’t mind, I have a question.
Me: Sure, go ahead and ask.
He: Well, one thing really surprised me. Is it true when a person retires in the U.S., they are assigned a LEGAL GUARDIAN?
A Legal Guardian at Retirement? No!
Needless to say, I was surprised. Perhaps the film dealt with financial planning or offered other suggestions for protecting one’s assets during retirement. Somehow, he had come away with a very strange conclusion.
Note: Many people in the U.S. take legal steps to assign Power of Attorney to a family member or trusted friend as part of their Estate Planning. This gives that person the legal authority to care for the personal and property interests of someone who has become physically or mentally impaired.
A legal guardian is similar in nature, but the guardian is assigned through an extensive court proceeding rather than through the wishes of the individual. Obviously, neither is an automatic factor of retirement.
Guard Against the Dark Side
What I did not share with him - and what I really don’t like to linger on here because our focus in these pages is the power of positivity – is the fact that after retiring some people do experience the dark side of retirement. Simply put, the dark side of retirement has to do with feeling lost, useless, depressed, and simply without validation. Sitting in the house all day with little to do is very boring and lonely; the spiraling down can even lead to exploring the liquor cabinet.
For some, the lack of purpose that comes with retirement is very hard and finding the positive can be difficult and they can no longer handle their own affairs. If you or anyone you know is experiencing depression or having trouble shifting a negative mindset, I encourage reaching out to a good therapist or consulting with your primary care physician. There is help!
Focus on the Bright Side
Happily, what most people can look forward to is the bright side of retirement!
And, indeed, there is a bright side – time to do the things you really enjoy, opportunities for creative and exciting adventures, satisfaction of embracing the new and nurturing the tried and true. It involves PLANNING, and there are a few simple things you can do now to make YOUR future look bright.
Step One: PHYSICAL
Start now to build an exercise routine. This does not require a gym membership or a Lulu Lemon outfit. If you are new at it, start with 10 minutes and watch yourself build up to 30.
Step Two: MENTAL
Set your mind to being more positive every day. Make things happen. What are you are really good at and enjoy doing? Spend a little time starting up again. (Photography? Learning a language? Volunteer?)
Step Three: SOCIAL
Make sure your friends and social connections are not all associated with your work. You’ll have new friends thanks to step two! And…, get rid of negativity. If relationships are hard to break, try to interact less often.
Step Four: SPIRITUAL
This is not an edict for religion. Instead find time to bring significance to your daily routine. How can you contribute? How can you feel satisfied? Oh yes, and perform a random act of kindness every day.
That’s it. I’ve tried to make it short and sweet. Whether you are following these suggestions yourself or if you are a Power of Attorney or a Legal Guardian trying to help the person in your care, working through these four steps is bound to lead to positive and impactful benefits in the years ahead.
Episode 5 of Resources for a Modern Retirement focuses on getting creative in retirement and finding new passions.
How are you going to spend your newfound free time in retirement? Today’s podcast introduces you to Jerry Park, who I think you will find to be an absolute inspiration.
About Our Episode Guest
I don’t often talk like that. In fact, I find that I will go out of my way not to say it or even hint at it. But now since Tom Brady is back, I will state it in capital letters:
I Told You So!
Let me explain. If you will recall, in one of my recent blogs,
I talked about trying to find a substitute for the word ‘Retirement.’ I do feel replacing (or enhancing) the word is important because the connotation is just dripping with...
you’re a has been!
you are outa here! and
you have become a 'usta be!’ "
Tom Brady felt it, I’m sure. After all, when he decided to quit playing football, here is how he announced it: “I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore.”
Rather fancy, huh? Kind of a dancing around the situation, right? He could not bring himself to say, “The Big R” word, so he just used some other pretty words instead. But the meaning was there: I am retiring and “imagining the possibilities.” … at least for a little while.
"Acting Before Thinking is Regret"
Here we are two months later, and I’m sure you heard the news:
Tom Brady said Sunday he is returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his 23rd season in the NFL. The seven-time Super Bowl champion announced his decision on Twitter and Instagram, saying he has unfinished business.
Uh, yeah. ‘Unfinished business.’ Ok, now maybe you will try to tell me he was made an offer he couldn’t refuse. Money? Really? Tom Brady would be swayed by the money? I doubt it.
Instead, he found himself in the position that I have warned you against - namely, regretting the decision soon after leaving work and then wasting time trying to figure it all out. It can be nice during that honeymoon phase of the first few months, having no schedule or responsibility. But it’s when you start longing for connection, searching for identity and finding your purpose that the questioning and doubting begin.
Unless you are forced out, do not leave your work until you have some idea about how and with whom you will spend your time. It is so important to get involved in some interesting, satisfying, and challenging activities OUTSIDE OF WORK many years before you plan on reaching ‘The Big R.’ Which brings me to another of my blogs:
Please go back and reread my two previous blogs through the links above. Be smart, and don’t be like Tom Brady. (Has anyone ever said that before?) Contact a Retirement Coach today (maybe me?) and imagine the possibilities! Enough said, except ...
I TOLD YOU SO!
P.S. If anyone out there knows Tom, please send him my contact information. I’ll be glad to help him figure things out.
I recently worked with an executive who was thinking about retirement. In one of our initial sessions, I asked him about his hobbies.
3. Certainly not!
4. No way!
5. Uh, Negative.
9. Not at all.
10. Maybe next year...?
I can remember other years and other resolutions that started out strong (i.e., that Fasting Diet) and then slowly faded away. I soon realized this is a common problem, and we could all use a little help standing strong to our promises for the new year.
So, I’m glad to tell you that help has arrived! I’ve decided that one of the major problems is THE WORD ITSELF!
- I’m going to lose weight;
- I will do better with money;
- I can learn a language!
That’s right – SMART goals refers to the acronym that was developed by businesspeople to help management set their goals and objectives. But, when I think about it, S.M.A.R.T. is a smart way for all of us to find focus and motivation.
Here is what the letters mean:
S – SPECIFIC
M – MEASURABLE
A – ACHIEVABLE
R – REALISTIC
T – TIMELY
- “Going to lose weight” becomes ‘Lose 5 lbs in 6 weeks with the Weight Watchers Diet.”
- “Do better with money” becomes “Call the bank and ask to work with a financial advisor for two months to help manage my funds.”
- “Learn a language,” becomes “Sign up for Babbel or Duolingo by January 10th to start taking free lessons to learn Italian.”
Happy New Year!
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC
As an active writer, both nationally and internationally, Loretta Saff's humor columns, blog, and lifestyle articles reflect an insight in dealing with situations that helps people get to their core issues and encourage confidence, trust and support.
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