Your Two Word Retirement Mantra

The Two Word Retirement Mantra

If ever I’m asked about the best way to start creating a meaningful retirement, I offer this 2 word nugget: be intentional!

What? That’s it?  Yep, pretty much! ‘Be intentional’ has fast become my 2-word mantra!

Let’s face it, we all WANT a good retirement but wanting isn’t the same as having is it?  We need to actually DO something about it. And that’s where the ‘intentional’ bit comes in – because if ever there was a time to start getting intentional about what we want and how we want to spend our time and energy in the years ahead, this is it!

Not much of a strategy you may think, but actually, it’s one that works every time! Being intentional simply means proactively giving your attention to finding the answers to these key questions… and once you have the answers, the rest is comparatively easy.

Intention plus attention is a truly powerful combination

I’d say this is true for virtually anything you want to achieve – but never more so than when you’re transitioning into this exciting new chapter!

Of course, you can always ‘wing it’ and take a more passive approach in the hope that things will magically ‘sort themselves out’ into something meaningful, purposeful and enjoyable. But that’s a LOT to leave to chance, isn’t it?  

But I get it, I really DO – staring a big life transition in the face can feel challenging, scary, and overwhelming.

One quality decision

We’re all vulnerable to these feelings and many find it easier to default to a passive position…. otherwise known as procrastination! But procrastination isn’t exactly a whole heap of fun is it? It’s frustrating at best and totally incapacitating at worst – it’s always ‘there’ in the back of your mind, keeping you stuck… unable to move forward, unable to go back.

I recently read that we are all one quality decision away from anything we want. The important word here being ‘quality’.  It doesn’t mean passively wishing or dreaming that you’ll do it. It means actively deciding.

If we never make this decision, we will never do.

But by making the decision to ‘be intentional’ we bring a powerful force into play to help us create a retirement by design, instead of by default. 

Yes, it takes a degree of faith, commitment and courage but wonderful things happen once you make that decision:

  • You can finally focus your attention
  • You become the creator of possibilities
  • You can start to define your options and choices
  • You can start to shape the outcomes you want
  • You open yourself up to and attract opportunities
  • You turn your ideas into a commitment
  • You shift from ‘castles in the air’ to laying firm foundations
  • It closes the door marked “What?” and opens a new door marked “How?”
  • You can begin.

Owning the direction of your life

Being intentional is about taking charge of your life rather than letting circumstances rule you. Change can be hard but the biggest danger comes not from doing the wrong thing, but from doing nothing

Once you make a start, you’ll be amazed at how easily everything else falls into place.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Once you make a decision, the world conspires to make it happen.”

Make an intentional start...

I know it can be tough to get started, which is why I encourage you to ease yourself in by taking the simple first step below. The Dream Catcher is a great starting point.


Does work feature in your retirement plans

Does work feature in your retirement plans?

Those of you who know me will be all too aware that I’m not a great fan of the word ‘retirement’…. mainly because the whole concept is now increasingly out of sync with modern reality for many of us. It’s still stuck with an identity hangover from our parent’s day, where retirement meant you left the world of work for good…  with a gold carriage clock tucked under your arm if you were lucky!!

As this life stage continues to evolve and change, the notion of ‘retirement’ as a one-time event that permanently divides work life from leisure is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Take me for example. At 67 I’m now officially eligible to call myself ‘retired’ and yet I still work. In fact, the thought of NOT working does not appeal to me AT ALL!  And why would it? I love what I do and get an enormous amount of fulfilment and satisfaction from it, so why would I choose to give it up?

Doing 'nothing' isn't all it's cracked up to be!

On the other hand, I also know people who have literally counted down the days until they retired, saying things like “I can’t wait for the day to come when I’ll be able to just kick back and do NOTHING. It’ll be like I’m on a permanent holiday!”

But for a good many, it turns out that a life of pure leisure isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be and instead left them feeling bored, aimless and yearning for a bit of challenge, purpose and fulfilment! 

Waking up in the morning with no particularly urgent place to go, and no particularly urgent thing to do, can rapidly lose its appeal once the honeymoon period’s over. 

And sadly, most of us have examples of friends who struggled to find an identity outside of the workplace, leading in some cases to periods of illness, anxiety and depression

So where do you sit on the work/retirement continuum?

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that a record 173,000 pensioners entered employment in the three months to June. It signals quite the U-turn after hundreds of thousands of people in their 50s and 60s left the workplace during the pandemic as lockdown forced many of them to reassess their priorities.

Unable to survive on their pensions, many Third Agers have no choice but to return to work as a way to offset financial stress. It’s not surprising considering increasing numbers of this age group are expected to bear the heaviest brunt of the soaring cost of living, inflation and rising energy bills swallowing up much of their £9,627 a year state pension.

But what about those who actively CHOOSE to continue working past ‘retirement’ age?

For this group – myself included – the payoff goes way beyond income. It’s about things like self-worth, mental stimulation, social interaction, making a difference, purpose and fulfilment… to name but a few!

BUT that doesn’t necessarily mean we want to keep on working at the same pace or in the same way.

I no longer work 9 – 5, five days a week and I have a different work schedule for summer and winter, which affords me the work-life balance and flexibility I enjoy.

Indeed, flexibility is the word that crops up time and time again in my discussions with friends and clients alike.

The flexibility to…

  • choose our hours
  • dictate our pace
  • give up the long commutes
  • fit our work around other responsibilities
  • change course and do something different and personally meaningful
  • re-balance work with leisure
  • develop our own routines and structure
  • start an enterprise of our own
  • continue putting our experience to good use
  • create a mixed portfolio including things like part-time work, paid or unpaid consultancy and volunteering

What role will work play in your retirement?

In theory, we can choose to carry on till we decide otherwise, health permitting. Indeed, the numbers choosing to work on after their official retirement age have doubled to a record 1.19 million over the past ten years. The key word here is ‘choosing’ – choosing to do something you enjoy is very different to having to keep working out of financial necessity.

Modern retirement is all about making highly individual decisions and choices; there is no one-size-fits-all. But the idea of retiring as ‘not working’ needs to be reconfigured and updated to reflect our changing times.

What do you think: what role will work play in your retirement – will you carry on working and, if so, is that because you want to – or you have to?

If you would like to talk about this or any other aspect of your Third Age/retirement, a virtual coffee is the ideal option! It’s a chance for us to get together on the phone or zoom (your choice) for an informal, complimentary 30 minute chat. 

It’s perfect if you’re looking for some clarity and direction as well as getting any questions answered.

Look forward to speaking soon!

A Very Different Retirement

Retirement Isn't What It Used to Be!

Don't mention the R word

Don't mention 'the R word'!

I’ve had a problem with the word “retirement” for quite some time but things really came to head recently while looking for images to accompany this blog. Because THIS – (eyes right) THIS was the first image I was presented with!

Really? THIS is representative of retirement…. cups of tea and slippers? I dread to think what would come up if I typed in pensioner! I can’t even bring myself to go there!

Watch the video or scroll down to read more.

It's time for a re-brand!!

According to Ernest Hemmingway, “retirement” is the most depressing word in the English language… and I think he may have a point! The dictionary defines retirement as an ending, a conclusion, a termination, seclusion… which doesn’t exactly sound like a bundle of laughs does it?  

But I wonder what he’d think now because the retirement landscape has evolved and changed beyond recognition over the past few decades.

Official retirement ages have been steadily changing in response to our increasing longevity but those with workplace or personal pensions now have the choice to retire without waiting until their designated pension age of 66.  Retirement no longer means having to leave the world of work behind forever with many choosing ‘semi-retirement’ and electing to do some form of work even after they have officially ‘retired’. And then there are others who plan on working as long as possible, seeing no compelling reason to do otherwise.  

Things have certainly changed from our parent’s day when retirement offered very little in terms of new opportunities and was more often than not, an unfortunate prelude to a loss of identity, meaning, and purpose.  Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration perhaps but you get what I mean – retirement meant something completely different THEN to what it does NOW.

It’s reached a point where the lingering, negative connotations of the past are becoming increasingly problematic for many Third Agers, with some resolutely refusing to use ‘the R word’ at ALL because it just doesn’t represent who they are and what they want for this dynamic new life chapter. 

  • It’s time to reshape the narrative in response to how retirement has changed and evolved.
  • It’s time for “retirement” to be rebranded and given a make-over!
  • It’s time for “retirement” to be positioned as a unique period of possibility and opportunity.

'Retirement' no longer represents what we want for our next chapter

One thing’s for sure –   retirement isn’t what it used to be!

The old, traditional views of retirement are being swept away as today’s 60-somethings set about reshaping this life stage by putting things like fulfilment, purpose, enjoyment and flexibility at its heart. 

They’re choosing to enroll on courses… explore their creativity… embark on “encore” careers… fight for causes in which they believe or reinvest the skills accrued over a lifetime into their communities by volunteering, mentoring and campaigning.

The options are as mixed and varied as the people who choose them. 

But what do they all have in common?

Freedom of choice. 

Freedom to work… or not. Freedom to venture into pastures new… or not. Freedom to choose exactly HOW you want to spend your time, money and energy. Now if that doesn’t sound like something pretty wonderful, I don’t know what does.

No wonder those who now see this life stage as an opportunity for change, growth and reinvention, balk at the very word ‘retirement’! 

A significant life transition into unchartered territory

The whole concept of retirement has been revolutionised in the space of a generation but one thing’s still the same: it remains one of THE most significant life transitions we’re required to navigate as adults.

If you type the word “retirement” into Google you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all about money or financial planning. And of course this is important but there are other HUGELY important aspects of retirement beyond getting the finances right, not least of which is the psychological transition we’re required to make.

No two people’s Third Age will look the same because we all want different things and while we are extremely fortunate to have so many opportunities,  (And by the way, if you haven’t done so already, take a look at the Dream Catcher it’s a great place to start.)

How would YOU like to rebrand retirement?

What does the concept/word “retirement” mean to you?  Does it adequately represent your reality?

 If we want to change the narrative, it’s up to us to tell the story of our new reality and start re-branding retirement!

Companies rebrand all the time…. old products disappear to be replaced with “new and improved” versions. Why not retirement?

I’ve been challenging the stereotypes about what we can and can’t do as we get older for the whole of my coaching career and redefining the concept of retirement needs to be part of that. Finding a word or phrase that defines the “new and improved” version of retirement would be a start…. any suggestions gratefully received!  

In the meantime, I’ll finish with this recent quote from the brilliant Serena Williams who said:

“I have never liked the word retirement. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”


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