Never Going to Retire? Join in…

Are you uncomfortable with the “R” Word?

Mention the word retirement and a lot of boomers defiantly say: “Not me – I’m never going to retire!”

Well, not an unfamiliar reaction. In fact, 31% of boomers in an RBC poll – said the same thing.  Another 51% said there was no appropriate age to retire – it’s up to you!

I couldn’t agree more!  That is why I am calling this blog (and my programs) UNretiredLife! Because many of us will delay the ‘hard-stop’ retirement and instead either continue to work in the same career, recareer, and/or start to test-out and ease into a different kind of work-life balance.

We boomers are known to ‘live to work’.  Despite the complaints along the way, work give us a lot more than just a paycheck: we get intellectual stimulation, the satisfaction of contributing, a place to test our mettle, develop skills and grow ourselves.  Along the way we self actualize, connect with people to ‘play with’ — and a whole bunch more. And yes, that paycheck is critical. Many of us will continue work for financial reasons.

But does that mean you don’t have to plan for your life and work? Heck no!!!

The biggest mistake people can make is to float along and delay the reflection and planning that is critical to ensuring your next stage of life — whether you work or don’t — is working for you!  We all know how important the financial planning piece is. Well the life & work planning is equally critical — and will make your financial planning that much more meaningful.

What will you do when you grow up (do we ever grow up?)? What are the career possibilities for you in the next stage of life? Will you shift career gears or continue in the same lane? Full time/part-time/contract – solopreneur anyone?

Those are just a few of the career question but there’s more: And what about the balance side of things? Will you delay that till you eventually do the ‘full stop retirement’ — or might that be an area to tackle first while you are working?

So whether you call the next stage of life ‘retirement’ or “Unretirement” — you still gotta plan! Financially of course. And for life.

WORKSHOP: That’s what my Retirement 2.0 program  is all about It’s the next version of ‘so-called-retirement’ and isn’t just for people planning ‘hard-stop’ cessation of work. It’s for boomers who want to make the most of the next stage of life (work optional!) — but perhaps haven’t yet had the chance to think it through. We’ll bring guidance, reflection prompters and challenges to your assumptions.  And it will be fun! At least that’s the intention:) 

SO….Care to join me and some Big Cheese Boomers starting June 24th?

Get in touch! Would love to have you there.

To success in the UNretiredLife

No Comments

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!



Workshop News: Retirement 2.0 for boomers….

WHOO HOO! This is my PRE-ANNOUNCEMENT to my ‘real’ announcement (coming soon)!


Well, I’m so excited about something I have been working on and  percolating in the hopper, that I just can’t wait to share the news. So rather than wait till it’s all 100% ready, I thought I’d scoop my own launch announcement with a little  shout-out to give you a peek at what’s cook’n and coming soon!

I will be offering the first (of more to come) Retirement 2.o Workshops for boomers who see themselves as successful, vibrant and are ready to contemplate what’s next for them as they consider the next stage in life. Specifically, it’s for boomers with zip (zoomers) who believe that retirement on the porch is NOT for them. Folks who might be approaching traditional retirement age, or several years away, or already in it — but they feel this life stage is UNLIKE old notions of retirement and that the NEW retirement is theirs to create — and can also be filled with new goals, dreams, accomplishments aspirations…..And for many, it may even involve a continuation of work and career, on their terms.

….THAT SAID, many of you believe in ALL THAT but perhaps you have not yet had or taken the time to meaningfully  reflect on what that might look like to you. Or you’ve started but want to take that vision a little further.

This workshop & follow-on program will kick-start and build on the reflection and planning to get you going on a vision for ‘what’s next’ for you as you create success and significance in your own version of “UnretiredLife”

STARTING DETAILS (More to come soon!): I’m offering this from my Big Cheese Coaching Lab. What this means is you will get SUPER VALUE and as a first-time offering, you will get a signfiicantly reduced price with a plethora of great tools, goodies and more. 

At a glance some of the things to look forward to:

  • Full day workshop (Toronto for this round): Date tbd but likely towards latter part of June.
  • Full support after the workshop with series of special teleclasses just for your group – AND…
  • Membership to the Big Cheese Coaching Retirement 2.0 Online Course & Community  which will provide oodles of tools, guided reflection and exercise, some coach interactions and tons of opportunities to connect and interact with your Retirement 2.0 peers from the group
  • Optional: a Retirement Options assessment (more details later).
  • And more! 

LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE:  I will be keeping this to a fairly small and intimate group – likely around 10-15 people so there will be lots of support.

INVESTMENT: details coming soon – but as a pilot offering within the Big Cheese Coaching Lab – I will be asking my participants to provide feedback on the various components of this program and in turn, you will be getting a significant reduced special price (from what this will involve in future offerings) — and with many more benefits as an inaugural member of the Retirement 2.0 community.

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE? If you think this sounds like something you might be interested in and would like to hear more and/or be on the list of ‘first to hear’ when the course announcement comes out with full details — then get in touch please!  There is absolutely no obligation at this stage – but if you express interest, I will count you in on my ‘first to hear’ list as I send out firmer details. 

Hope to hear from you — or perhaps someone you know who is ready to talk about what success and significance will mean for you as you prepare for ‘what’s next in their life’.

To the UnretiredLife!


No Comments

Retiring FROM or retiring TO…..?

When you think about retirement (or at least retirement from your current work), how much do you think about  what you are retiring FROM……vs. what you are retiring TO?

acmeretirement - for online

How you respond to this may likely be a strong indicator how prepared you are for a successful life transition in the so-called retirement stage (which we affectionally call “UNretiredLife”).  All too often, people think about what they will leave when they retire.  “Finally – I won’t have to put up with the office politics“. Or, “No more 6am wake-ups….or traffic jams to work….or, or, or….???”

Without a sense of what you will retire to…..well, you could end up very disatisfied and disillusioned with your retirement.

One of the greatest maladies associated with retirement is depression. The old version of retirement focused so heavily on the stopping part. Work stopped. So little time and reflection on the starting part. The ‘starting part’ is critical to satisfaction in your next life stage.  What will you create/start/do more of to stay energized, inspired, engaged?

Boomers aren’t all that willing to give up work. Aside from the financial rewards, work brings other good stuff like: structure to your days, social connections, intellectual stimulation, a sense of contributing and personal worth, learning opportunities — and much, much more.

When that stops – one’s “Mojo” (sense of being alive) can deflate.

That is why it is imperative to reflect on what kind of life (work and personal) will you be retiring to?

It’s a big question – full of caveats and paths to explore (work, volunteer, hobbies, relationships, life meaning more). 

We can help. We offer coaching, assessments, and a whole bunch of tools to help you navigate this planning

Give us a call – no obligation — to explore your UNretiredLife!

No Comments

Andy Barrie to Retire – or is that “Retool”?

Andy Barrie, the widely respected host of Toronto’s CBC Radio One program Metro Morning, has announced he’s stepping down from the top-rated show. This is huge news in Toronto. He is part of so many people’s morning  ‘wake-up’ calls — including mine! I always start the day with my alarm tuned into  Metro Morning and like so many others, have come to truly admire, respect and like Andy.

Andy is 65, the age of ‘traditional’ retirement — but don’t count him out.  He may be leaving his current role but, according to all the news coverage, he’s got lots of ideas aboout possibilities for his future. 

Andy Barrie in studio (Dwight Friesen-CBC)
(Photo: Dwight Friesen – CBC)

Andy embodies the new face of retirement – the pardigm shift. Boomers will redefine what it means to ‘retire’. Many will leave their existing jobs – or current careers, but carry on with new versions of their work-lives and pursue new life adventures. 

On their terms.  

CBC is acknowledging this trend of the ‘new retirement’ with a series profiling folks like Andy – who have had successful careers and decide to completely retool and begin new careers. E.g. they will be profiling a successful business owner who went to medical school in mid-life. 

It will be an interesting series – and very aligned with UNretiredLife’s perspective on what is possible for boomers in the the next life stage.

I wish you well Andy – and am sure we will be hearing from you again but perhaps in a different way.

INVITATION: If any of you ‘out there’ are interested in your own ‘retooling’ as you head into this next phase of life (or even if you are many years away) – get in touch! We can help. As a retirement options certified coach, I offer coaching, teleclasses, assessments and more. Or at minimum, check back here. I’ll be writing about lots of topics and issues related to mid-life (or later) career and life transition.

In the meantime, to the UNretiredLife!


No Comments

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

Rethink Retirement Survey says….

Desjardin Financial Security recently released its 8th annual Rethink Retirement(TM) survey and re-affirmed the notion that retirement ‘aint what it used to be’.

More than three in ten people between ages 53 and 62 said they were more than five years away from retirement, and only 23% hope to stop working completely once they retire.  These two points alone re-affirm what UNretiredLife has been saying: retirement may have nothing to do with old notions – like stopping work completely. This phase of life is being turned upside down!

Transition to Retirement vs. Hard Break: The old paradigm of retirement saw people go from full time work to complete retirement.  Today, more and more are taking a more phased approach and transitioning their work life.  According to the survey:

  • 16% of retirees continue gainful employment
  • 8% of today’s workers (including partial retirees) were once fully retired before returning to work. This proportion rises to 42% among partial retirees.
  • The main reasons for going back to work: needing more money for personal projects (46%) and wanting to counter the negative effects of economic situation on retirement income (29%).

Hmmm. “Needing more money for personal projects”. That last bit  intrigues me.  As per some of UNretiredLife’s earlier posts – boomers will not be retiring on the porch. They have plans, needs, aspirations!

While it’s no secret the economy has had an impact on Canadians’ nest eggs, that ‘personal project’ part echo’s some of the  ‘meaning-seeking ‘ mantra of boomers and other research finding’s (SunLife Financial’s UNretirement Index released January 2009).  

In Sunlife Financial’s UNretirement Index survey released in January 2009, “Nearly half of working Canadians said they believe they will be working past the traditional retirement age of 65.  This is in sharp contrast to the average Canadian retirement age of 61 in recent years. Nearly all of those who expect to work beyond age 65 cite one or more lifestyle reasons, including remaining mentally active, enjoyment of their jobs and the interaction with their co-workers.”

Now don’t get me wrong: the financial side of retirement is and always will be critical to one’s success and fulfillment in their retirement years. I’m a  huge proponent of financial planning (it’s a big part of my professional life!). But it’s not the only lens to view ‘what needs to happen to ensure success in retirement’.  Boomers will continue to engage in work, career, and a whole range of activities for both financial reasons AND to derive meaning from their life.

….which opens up a whole new dimension to retirement planning doesn’t it? …and that’s why were are here :)….to help boomers vision and create their own version of retirement.

To your UnretiredLife!


1 Comment

New Questions to Start the New Year

T’is that time of the year again. I love this season – but in some ways I also don’t.  On one-hand, I look forward to the holiday season, the new year and all the festivities that come with it. On the other hand, t’is indeed the season for rush, rush, rush. Balancing all that needs to be done with the competing desire to slow down,  reflect, celebrate  and plan for the year ahead….ahhh, this is my December. I bet not so different for you too.

In some ways — isn’t that a little bit like what it’s like in the pre-years to retirement? We work, work, work….busy, busy, busy…and anticipate a big break. Then what?!  Well, UNretiredLife will have a LOT to say about the ‘then what’ conversation. But for now, T’is the season to pause, reflect, celebrate and rejoice.

Gift of questions:

To honour the season and the spirit of UNretiredLife, I am presenting (s’cuse the gift pun) a few questions to inspire meaningful reflection:

  • How will you keep your heart and mind open for wonderful surprises in the New Year?
  • How can you create within yourself a sense of safety and equilibrium in a world that has so much uncertainty and change?
  • What compassion can you bring to yourself and others in this moment –and any moment this season/year/life?
  • What is your vision of the best possibilities for 2010 and how will I accomplish that at work and at home?

These questions came as a gift from the Inquiry Institute.  As a coach, I am part of its learning community — and am continuously challenging myself and my clients to be a ‘question thinker’.  Asking the right questions is at the heart of great planning, great thinking, great ideas — and ultimately great ‘being’ and doing!

So get ready for many, many questions in the year ahead about what it is to create your best UNretiredLife! 

Till then, I wish you peace, joy, safety and love this holiday season.



No Comments

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.


Back to homepage 

No Comments

Welcome to UNretiredLife!

UNretiredLife, this blog and a new suite of offerings from Big Cheese Coaching,  helps boomers prepare for ”what’s next’ and create their own version of retirement. 

In two years (2011), the first cohort of the massive baby boom generation will turn 65 – the traditional age of retirement. But boomers are anything but traditional. Known to defy tradition – boomers are already starting to redefine this lifestage known as ‘retirement’.  

UNretiredLife is for boomers with zip – also known as ‘zoomers’ — who will opt out of the traditional ‘retirement on the porch’ and instead, view this lifestage as an opportunity to revitalize and realize new dreams, goals and ambitions.

Jumping by Mike Hedge

Photo from @Mikehedge (Flickr)

While the economy has impacted retirement plans for many, studies have indicated that boomers will want to work past ’so-called retirement age’ – not just for financial reasons but because they will choose to live vibrantly in this stage of life and continue to be active contributors to society. Many will start new businesses, or perhaps work part time – or for some,  perhaps not work at all; they will define work on their terms. They will re-ignite old passions and discover new ones.  There will be lots of changes – some intentional and some part of the life cycle; some desired and some not. UNretiredLife will speak to these changes.

With healthier lifestyles, improved medicine and increased longevity this lifestage can span up to 20-30+ years for many people, particularly those that experience ’first retirement’ prior to age 65.  This is too long to wing it…..Success and fulfillment in this lifestage calls for thoughtful planning! That includes life, work, financial and more.

Are you ready for Retirement2.0? Whether you are already in this lifestage, a few years away or even 20 years away, UNretiredLife offerings will help you plan for ‘Retirement2.0″: a new version of retirement — one that meets your unique needs and aspirations.  Your version of retirement will be as unique to you as your own fingerprint – thus, it’s yours to define.

Ask the right questions:  What will you do with your time? How will you express your identity in this lifestage?  What new goals will you pursue? How will you fulfill your social/emotional/physical/intellectual needs? What will work look like to you? How might you transition from your current work-life to perhaps another version? What new learning will you embrace…..? These are just a few of the issues we embrace in our offerings. 

Then there’s the financial side of things. Retirement planning is so often exclusively associated with the financial questions (”will I have enough”, “how much do I need”, etc). These are important too and we’ll bring in expertise to support those questions. But UNretiredLife recognizes that success is not only about the financial side of things. That is why we will engage you in the life/work/health/etc conversation — so that any financial planning you do engage in can more meaningfully match your life goals and circumstances.

Ultimately, our goal is to help clients achieve a vision and perhaps their own roadmap — to answer the question: what needs to happen to be fulfilled and satifisfied as you advance towards and be in the phase of life  that is yours to define on your own terms?

If that proposition engages you — and even (or especially!) if you don’t yet know the all the answers — then this is the place for you.  Stay in touch….we’ll be in this conversation for a good long while and presenting a range of offerings and services that may speak to you.  

In the meantime, here’s to your own uniquely defined version of retirement. Here’s to your UNretiredLife!

Boomers – are you ready??



No Comments