For many people, though, the traditional concept of retirement – year after year of "play golf and lounge at the pool" – feels like a pretty meaningless and boring vision for the rest of their life. What they really want is to refocus and rebalance around what they personally find meaningful and fulfilling.
Although they’d love to make this change now, often they are afraid that the money isn’t there yet. However, spending another decade grinding it out sounds like a jail sentence.
It’s a long time to pay your dues before you get to LIVE.
As we’ve seen this week – life has a funny way of throwing curve balls, so there’s no guarantee you’d even be able to retire, let alone live your dream.
The good news is that there are often ways you can start living out your dream now, if you take a different approach from the standard path.
You may recall how we talked about Dr. Jack.
When he finally retired and traveled the globe as he’d always planned, it wasn’t everything he’d imagined. Not because the travel wasn’t exciting – but because he missed being a doctor.
He missed his career and the daily action. Now, as a world traveler, he lost his social identity and missed being a respected member of the community.
So he found a way to spend his productive years – without returning to the grind. Instead of reopening his practice, he joined a traveling medical service and filled in for doctors who were on vacation.
Now he picks and chooses which weeks he wants to work, has plenty of time to focus on other areas of his life that are important to him, he gets to travel still, and he only "works" when he feels like it.
This is what’s possible when you follow your heart.
Next, I shared Kate’s story.
She was a successful executive who was always grinding away to win a big promotion. She was considering the "opportunity of a lifetime" – with more money, prestige, and power.
However, she didn’t think she could hang in there for another ten or twenty years because she’d have to work harder than ever on work she didn't find meaningful, travel all the time, and keep feeling the stress of working in a fast-paced corporate environment.
Even worse, she’d rarely see her husband. She knew she wasn’t getting any younger, so she asked herself, “Is this what I really want for my life?”
She didn’t love the work anymore – she only wanted the prestige of the new position.
But Kate knew she needed to continue earning an income because she and her husband hadn’t built up enough money to retire just yet.
So she took a different approach.
She left her job and drew upon her years of experience to develop a coaching program for female executives. Now she’s doing work that genuinely aligns with her values, and she doesn’t have to spend so much time away from her husband.
She loves her new “retirement” career and never again has to feel like a slave to a job.
Sometimes, though, finding a “retirement career” doesn’t happen so smoothly.
After that, we learned about Joni, a former accountant for Lehman Brothers.
She didn’t love her job, but she kept her nose to the grindstone because the pay was too good to give up. She wore the proverbial “golden handcuffs”.
Then hard luck hit.
Just as she retired and started her new life, a financial crisis hit the nation, Lehman Brothers’ stock fell through the floor, and Joni's savings vanished into the wind.
But Joni didn’t let that keep her down. Joni decided to follow her heart, and she found a job with the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Now she’s living her retirement dream and making money doing what she enjoys most. These three folk’s stories are a vision of what’s possible.
Many opportunities exist – if you’re flexible and willing to look at the whole idea of retirement in a new way and get some clarity on what you want out of your next years.
With some thought and planning, you can often create a dream “retirement” career where you can make at least reasonable money doing something you feel passionate about – instead of grinding it out for another 10-15 years and hoping you’ll have enough money, time, and energy, to enjoy a traditional retirement if that day finally arrives.
As I previously mentioned, I’ve helped private clients do this.
They sought my help because they realized that it was time to start thinking about what delivers fulfillment right NOW, instead of decades into the future.
Because, as we’ve seen this week, life has a funny way of throwing curveballs when we least expect it – especially as we get older.
If you’re interested in creating a fulfilling “retirement career” too, then perhaps I can help you as well.
I’m putting the finishing touches on a new program that takes you by the hand and walks you, step-by-step, through the entire process of escaping the daily grind and making your dream “retirement” career come true now, instead of waiting another decade.
If this program sounds like something that could help you, then I’d really love to hear your thoughts – about what kind of material it should cover. What worries you about making this kind of switch in your life?