Paradigm Shift in Retirement

There is a paradigm shift in the retirement landscape. And with paradigm shifts, comes the call for new thinking, new questions and new dimensions in how we plan and approach this life stage once called retirement.

What does this mean – and more importantly, what does this mean for you?!?

“Paradigm” (as defined by Thomas Kuhn) means a mental model or a set of beliefs through which we view the world.  The traditional beliefs around retirement that previous generations held – are no longer true for the boomers who are the next generation of ‘retirees’. They are shunning the ‘model’ and redefining what it means to be in this life stage  — which can actually turn out to be the longest in duration than any other life stage (20-30+ years for earlier ‘retirees’).

The Old Model of Retirement: This ‘version’ implied complete cessation of work, the ending chapter of one’s life, a time to finally rest. The problem for so many retirees is that this ‘resting arena’ leads to a gradual slide away from a full and engaged life. This version too often results in disengagement in life, boredom, loneliness, loss of confidence — and for many people health issues (separate or related to the above).  How many people do you know who retired after vibrant careers only to find themselves ‘lost’ and a fraction of who they used to be? Too many people withered away not because of their actual age — but because of how they view their age….and defined their life at this stage.

No wonder today’s boomers are saying ‘not for me!’

The New Retirement: is a 180 degree shift. The page is completely refreshed and it defies the notion that life’s greatest value declines as we age older. The new retirement sees life in a more circular way with continuous exploration, mastery, growth and contribution. The new retirement values life meaning at all stages — and no less so in this life stage. This new model promises an expanded version of life vs a contracted one. This paradigm says no to ‘winding down’ and yes to ramping up — new goals, dreams, actualization and paths that fulfill and make for a meaningful and satisfying life….whatever that may mean to you. This version recognizes that you will have your own unique version of meaningful retirement.

Sounds good – but how do you get it?  Most boomers seem to  instinctively know they don’t want the old version. Unfortunately, they are not sure how to get that. They are stuck at a cross roads with understanding the old version yet not wanting it — and not quite understanding the new version yet wanting it!

So how do you get in?

Start by asking the right questions.  At UNretiredLife/Big Cheese Coaching, we will help you (through coaching, this blog and our many other programs). There are at least 15 factors that will impact the retirement you create for yourself and the likelihood that it will measure up to what you deem a successful and meaningful retirement.

A  Few Questions to Start the Reflection:

1) What do you see as the ideal retirement that will keep your motivation, interests, values and personal strengths appropriately fired up?

2) How much do you attach your own personal identity and sense of personal worth to your current work and role? What happens when that changes? Who will you be if not doing what you currently do?

3) How do you view the notion of retirement? What assumptions might you challenge so you can clear the path and create a retirement that works for you?

 Retirement (or whatever you call life stage….we like to called it ‘UNretiredLife”) is too important to wing.  These and other questions serve to prompt important reflection that will help in the planning process.

Plan? Oh yeah….that’s an important facet too.  Retirement planning is about more than the financial side of things (although that is still and always an important part of retirement success). Remember: if you ‘fail to plan you plan to fail’.  Now you wouldn’t want to do that would you?

Join in the conversation….we’ll be here for quite a while.


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