Archive for category Uncategorized

7 Questions To Ask Before You “Retire”

(Originally posted May 6, 2012)

There are so many questions to ask before you shift to that next life stage of work and life. In a recent interview with I pointed out a few. This resulted in an article called: “7 Questions To Ask Before You Retire

Just a note of clarification on one comment. The article said I encourage people to start asking themselves these questions when they turn 40. I realize 40 is a looong way from retirement for many. What I meant by that comment – is to start thinking in broad strokes about what might be of interest for your retirement. If you have an idea of what you want to do (work and life), you have more time to plan for it.

The specific questions that I offered in the article may not be the right ones to ask at age 40 — but asking some other related questions may be very helpful. I know this from my own experience.

For example – when I turned 40, I asked myself what I wanted to do for the next 20-25 years of work. This prompted a new career path for me that I transitioned into (vs. hard stop/hard start). Unbeknownst to me at the time, I actually began what will likely be my ‘retirement career’ when I do retire. Rather than waiting until I’m in my 60’s to try out a new career, I started at 40. I’m now 8 years into this career. I’ve created a foundation for a new career — alongside keeping a foothold in my initial career as I transitioned.

Some of you may need to do the same. Not everyone has the luxury to do the hard stop/hard start — particularly if the new career requires some re-tooling (education, learning new skills, building a biz).

Transition, test drives, learning along the way. Don’t wait until it’s ‘retirement day’ to start that process.

Anyways, just some food for thought! 🙂

To your success and wellbeing in the UNretiredLife!

No Comments

What Would You Do With an Extra 30 Minute a Day?

(reposted from January 28th, 2013)

Ahhh, the gift of time.  Imagine if you had an extra 30 minutes a day to do whatever you wanted? What would you do with that?

gift of time (microsoft image) MP900316551

Well the good people at Brighterlife asked me that very question. They were writing an article on the gift of time and asked me to share what I’d do in my free-found 30 minutes a day. Update: the article has just been posted – read it here!

An interesting question! I often say I’d like a 9-day week so I can squeeze in more of the stuff I want to do (both in work and life). When they asked me to think about an extra half hour my first reaction was ‘Only a half hour! Why not a full hour?’  But beggars can’t be choosers. 30 minutes more a day adds up to 3.5 more hours in a week.

What to do? So many choices and my first inclination was to be more productive. More writing; more work on my projects; more ‘doing’. But then I switched gears and decided to choose activities that were quite different.


No Comments

Fewer Canadians Plan to ‘Retire’ (Sunlife Unretirement Index)

Holy unretirement! This week was full of news on the Unretiredlife front. A new survey from Sun Life Financial revealed that the number of Canadians who expect to retire at age 66 has dropped to just 27 per cent. That’s a significant decline from 51 per cent when the survey first began in 2008. 



The Sun Life Financial’s annual Canadian UnretirementTM Index was released on Tuesday and made headlines across the country. The survey revealed that more Canadians are expecting to work past 66 because of necessity and fear of outliving their savings:  

63 per cent expect they will need to work past 66 compared with 37 per cent wanting to work. With Canadians expecting to be retired for an average of 20 years, over a third (38 per cent) say there is a serious risk of outliving their retirement savings.

Financial preparedness is becoming more salient as boomers approach the age when past generations would have retired.

Earlier this year, another survey came out that juxtaposed this fear of not being prepared for retirement — but only for a select group of Canadians. Guess what: they aren’t necessarily wealthier folks – they are Canadians who engage in comprehensive financial planning. And as a result these Canadians claim to have a GPS for their financial wellbeing. Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) conducted a study (the Value of Financial Planning) that said those who have comprehensive financial plans are far further ahead in their financial wellbeing (confidence, plans, savings, and more) than those who don’t plan or who only do limited planning.  This is for both the longer term (retirement) as well as for shorter term goals.

DISCLAIMER: I have a professional involvement with FPSC and helped write the release — but the research is clear and substantive. The proof is there…

Plan for your future. Hire a professional (a CFP professional ideally) and you will experience much more emotional and financial wellbeing both in your retirement and in every life stage along the way. 

Now that sounds like a plan!

Learn more:

Check out Brighterlife for some amazing tips and more information on the study. Brighterlife is part of the Sun Life group.

See further detail on Sun Life’s Unretirement Index here.

Find a CFP in your area and learn what to ask before engaging your planner.

To your wellbeing now and in your unretiredlife!



, , , ,

No Comments

New Home (website) for Big Cheese Coaching

Big Cheese Coaching has a new home! Well, to be more precise, a new website.

Lots of changes. For starters, the url has changed. We’ve lost our dash (our website used to be: and that dash…kinda slowed you down from getting there didn’t it?  The new site is now:

What we lost in our dash, I hope we gained in splash…or appeal and more functionality!

– I’ve got a new blog right on the site (see

-I’ll still be keeping this blog as well as my blog but  for now, lotsa of the ‘news’n’action’ will be over at my Big Cheese Coaching website and blog.

So please check it out and visit often. Lotsa, lotsa news there and in the queue!

Oh and a big shout of thanks to Joan Donough of In-Formation-Design who helped me build the next evolution of Big Cheese Coaching’s website. Couldn’t have done it without her! A fabulous, collaborative partner – I highly recommend her services.  And she’s a pleasure to work with.

Well – see you over ‘there’ real soon I hope!


No Comments

What if you live past 100?

Imagine this: it’s your 100th birthday. Your kids are coming to your birthday party. Your eldest son is 73 and your ‘baby’ is turning 71. Their kids are well into thier 40s and their children are expecting their first child…..

Huh? Did you catch all that? Well, if you are good at math that’s four generations all at the same party — and it could happen. An article (the Grey Tsunami) in the latest issue of Investment Executive highlights the sharp increase in number of people living past 100 — with many of the issues that go with that.  Disclosure: I was interviewed for this article and you will find a few quotes from yours truly.

The notion of living past 100 raises a lot of questions don’t you think? 

How are you planning for this potential longevity?

Is your financial plan up to snuff for the long-haul?

Is your life plan taking into account that your so-called ‘retirement’ years could last another 35-40 years?

What assumptions need to be challenged? Keep in mind your kids will be in their 70’s so assuming they will be able to care for you may or may not be the case.

This  all reminds me of a famous quote years ago from the late George Burns. He said (when he was in his 90’s): “If I’d known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself”.

Well said. Here’s to taking care of yourself so you can live the good life well into your longevity. To your personal, professional and financial wellbeing.


No Comments

12 Questions to Complete the Year and Start Anew

 It’s an annual tradition of mine – to celebrate, reflect and capture the meaningful bits of the past year and to reflect and focus on the year ahead.  I encourage you to make some time for a year-end/new year reflection. Questions are useful to guide this reflection and each year, I offer 12 questions to consider.

Here are this year’s 12 Questions (some are brand new and some you may have seen from past year’s list):


1) What went well? Consider all dimensions of your life experience and think small and big…it all counts!

2) In what ways did you grow and evolve in the ‘evolution of you’? This is an important question in all our life stages — and especially for anyone in the so-called ‘retirement’ years. For those who may have ‘retired’ past careers, it doesn’t mean you retire the need to grow and evolve. In fact, this area is most salient for folks in this stage of life. Gotta y’a thinking?? 

3) What were some key lessons for you personally in 2011? For those of you exploring options for your post-career lifestage – what have you learned? This stage of life sometimes calls for trial and error…what lessons did those trials and errors offer?

4) What do you need to clean-out or let go of right now to be ready to start fresh in 2012? Old outdated retirement myths?? Limiting beliefs about aging that get in the way of you creating a lifestage filled with meaning, growth and adventure? Toss ’em out before they bring y’a down!

5) What personal accomplishments are you most proud of from the past year? For many people, their accomplishments were associated with their careers. If you’ve retired that career – it’s all the more important for your retirement life planning to include stuff that you can feel good about. Accomplishments come in many forms…think beyond career…think all dimensions of life!

6) If there was a theme for 2011 for you personally, what would it be? i.e. “This was the year of ____.”


7) What do you want for yourself in the year ahead and in what ways can you take responsibility for making that happen?

8 ) What strengths (name at least 3) will you deliberately use more of in the year ahead to realize your goals?

9) In what ways will you take care of yourself to maintain your “Mojo” – resilience, energy, inspiration and sense of wellbeing?

10) What are your learning goals this year? If you had a ‘learning agenda’ what might be on that list? If you thought you’d learned all there is to know and retirement is the time to rest and stop learning then you’re in trouble….this is the attitude that leads to a very unfufulfilling (and for some,  downright ‘depressing’ ) retirement. Gotta have that grey matter pumping…and the mojo working…learning is a big part of that. Get cracking!

11) In what ways will you contribute something to the ‘greater good’  of _____ (choose a community or communities of choice)?

12) If the year ahead is to have a personal theme for you, what would that be? i.e. “This will be the year of ____”

To a season of joy and celebration – may you complete the year in good health and spirits. And my you look forward to a shiny new year with fresh eyes, energy and empowerment to create the year you want! 



No Comments

The Age-Old Question….(job interviews)

There’s a great article today in the Globe and Mail about job interviews for older workers (or should we say ‘more seasoned’). Some pros and cons about disclosing your age and challenges (and opportunities) when job seeking later in life.

You can read the article here.

What do you think? What’s your experience thus far? What works and what doesn’t? Would love to hear!

To success in your UNretiredLife


, , ,

No Comments

In the News: Career Advice for UNretirees

From time to time, I get invited to contribute articles to the Globe and Mail Careers. Yesterday they published my latest “Mentor Minute”. The column is is structured as a Q&A on various career issues. This one is geared to the boomer who is not so sure about what to do in that ‘R’ stage of life….read on:

THE SCENARIO: I currently work in a senior role at a large company and am approaching retirement age. I love my work and have been so busy these past years, I haven’t had time to really think about my retirement. I am becoming a little concerned because I just can’t picture myself fully retired. I love my work but I also know that I want to slow down. I’ve got mixed feelings about this whole thing. Help!

THE ADVICE: You can read what I wrote in the FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Got a question? In the same boat? Want some guidance to help you plan for ‘what’s next’ in that ‘R” stage of life (work or no work – you need to plan)…..then get in touch. Would love to hear from you!

To success and fulfillment in all stages of life!


Workshop News: Retirement 2.0 for “Big Cheese Boomers”

Hey Big Cheese Boomers – are you ready for what’s next? Further to my ‘pre-announcement’ post a few weeks ago, I’ve now got the details for a fabulous new program that’s been cook’n in my Big Cheese Coaching Lab and ready for the offering — and it starts June 24th!  Limited spaces (only about 10 or so)!

The Retirement 2.0 Group Program for “Big Cheese” Boomers — this is a three-part program for boomers who just don’t relate to the old notion of retirement. Hanging out on porch just won’t cut it.  Accomplished, successful (on your terms)- you are wanting something different from your so-called retirement years. Perhaps it will be a continuation of work or recareer — or maybe not. But the bottom line is: you need a plan and a direction to create a life stage that will continue to engage, inspire and connect you to what matters most. 

Just not quite sure what that looks like yet? This program may be for you!

Retirement 2.0 Group Program — is all about the ‘next version’ of so-called retirement….it’s  for boomers who want to create their own unique version.  This three-part program is being offered as a Pilot from the Big Cheese Coaching Lab. I’m inviting you to be part of a small, intimate group (only about 10 or so spaces!) to be in a conversation, exploration, discovery process about what your next life stage will be about.

At a Glance:  This three pronged-program will be jam-packed with reflection, tools/exercises and conversation over a two month period:

1) Full Day workshop (Toronto/ June 24th — location tbc) 

2) Series of 5 Teleclasses 

3) Membership to the Big Cheese Coaching Online Retirement 2.0 Course & Community (a great platform to work through decision points and if you choose, to connect with others in your group).

 Also – as a special pilot from the Big Cheese Coaching Lab, participants will receive this at a substantially reduced fee from future offerings. An additional further discount offered to those who register by May 2oth!

Curious? Interested? If so, get in touch with me quick as there are limited spaces.  And see below for more detail (dates, fees, FAQ):

1) One Pager – The Program At a Glance

2) FAQ – more detail

 3) Proposed topics/agenda: available upon request. Get in touch.

To Success & Significance in your UNretiredLife — create your own version!



Midlife Crisis OUT – Midlife Transition IN!

Midlife crisis is so passe. Much like the old version of retirement is, well….old.  Today,  boomer mid-life is all about transition and new beginnings. 

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what others ‘in the know’ are saying. According to an article in ScienceDaily, adults in their mid-life years really do face the ‘best time to flourish and grow’. Second acts are possible!

Prof. Carlo Strenger of Tel Aviv University’s Dept. of Psychology co-authored an article with Israeli researcher, Arie Ruttenbergfor the Harvard Business Review and Psychoanalystic Psychology. 

Somehow this line has been drawn around the mid and late ’40s as the time for a mid-life crisis in our society,” says Strenger. “But as people live longer and fuller lives, we have to cast aside that stereotype and start thinking in terms of mid-life transition’ rather than ‘midlife crisis’.

If you make fruitful use of what you’ve discovered about yourself in the first half of your life, the second half can be the most fulfilling,” he adds.

Ohhhh….they sooooo speak my language. Hello, hello!!!  (Okay – now visualize me now jumping up and down, flapping my hands)…. This is what I’ve been saying and what UNretiredLife can be all about! Transition….Fullness of life…New beginnings….leveraging what is already there….and more. This is what defines the ‘new retirement’ (UNretiredLife) for boomers with zip. Decline is out….flourishing is in!

Butterfly by Eileen Chadnick --- freedom, transformation, beauty!

Butterfly by Eileen Chadnick --- freedom, transformation, beauty!

TIPS TO MIDLIFE TRANSITION: The authors offer tips for how to avoid a mid-life crisis which are completely aligned with the coaching approach and philosophy of UNretiredLife: In a nutshell…

1) Invest sincere thought in the fact that you have more high quality adult years ahead of you then behind you.  Big Cheese Coaching (UNretiredLife) coaching programs facilitate this reflection with guidance and a snapshot (via assessments and conversation) of one’s attitudes towards age and retirement and more. Success begins with the right frame of mind! We check in on that and support you in reframing where necessary!

2) Think about what you’ve learned about yourself so far and what your strongest abilities are….and things that most please you. Yes, yes…..audit for personal strengths and values and passions….we do not pass “go” without this important reflection and capturing what makes you tick.  Strengths/success/personal awareness — do not leave home without this!

3) Don’t be afraid of daunting obstacles in making changes. Once you realize how much time you have left in this world, you will find it’s worth making the investment.  A wonderful prompt to a “make it happen”  attitude….life has a lot of ‘road’ left….how do you want to be in that part of your journey. It ain’t over yet. Keep on truck’n!

4) Finally – make use of a support network.  Ahem…..err….care to chat? Retirement coach at your service!  Give me a call:)

To you and your UNretiredLife! Are you ready to create your own version yet?

Back to UNretiredLife homepage

No Comments