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 Old outdated retirement myths??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

Retiring Retirement (National Post) and more…

Retiring Retirement…that’s the title of an article in which I was recently interviewed for. I like the sound of that phrase (retiring retirement). It sounds a bit like this blog’s name and philosophy: UNretiredLife.  Well, as many of you may know – retiring the old notion of retirement is a topic I’ve addressed for quite some time. This year, there’s been a huge ramp up of this story as boomers have turned 65. Media, banks and many other players in the financial services industry have hop on to this new narrative of what ‘retirement’ is going to mean to boomers. A paradigm shift to say the least!

In the News! In the past couple weeks, I’ve been quoted quite extensively in articles about work and life in so-called retirement. See below. And, btw, if you feel you are years away from retirement and don’t need to think about this – well, think again. Planning for life (and possibly work/career) in the next stage of life takes time. I know. I started in my ’40′s — and as many of you know, I have been developing an extensive second career that could serve me well into my so-called retirement years (Big Cheese Coaching)  — alongside my other career in communications.  Takes work. Planning. Thinking. And more.

Anyways, don’t take it just from me – hear what others have to say:

Retiring Retirement – and how boomers can stay engaged with work and life (Investment Executive, November 2011)

Retirement Can Get Old Very Fast – if you don’t do the ‘life planning’ part of it (National Post, November 5, 2011)

Post-work Planning – how boomers can plan for life after full time work (Investment Executive, November 2011)

To a TGIM work+life in all stages of work and life!


, , , , , ,

No Comments

Try the Retro Retirement…In the News

Anyone who pays attention to all the marketing buzz regarding retirement savings will feel they need to save millions to live a good, happy and meaningful retired life. Not so, says a recent article in the National Post, written by Garry Marr.  “Try the Retro Retirement” – shows how one couple is living a full and happy retirement lifestyle without spending lots.

I was interviewed for this article and quoted towards the end. In my chat with the reporter, I shared a few thoughts. Here’s a quick recap of our chat (since we spoke about more than what he was able to include in the article quote):

Living a meaningful life during so-called retirement is not only about the financial planning and money side of things. It’s about life planning. Every individual will have their own ‘version’ of what makes for meaningful life. So the key to planning is to first articulate your goals, what’s important to you; how you will spend your time; your must-haves vs. ‘nice to haves’, etc…..only then will you know how much $ you need to fund that lifestyle.

There are many dimensions to consider when planning for that next stage of life: your material needs of course  but also your emotional, intellectual and physical needs. Not everyone wants to travel the world. For some people, having more time with family and friends and personal pursuits will fulfill their dream life. Volunteering, learning a new hobby or advancing an existing one.

The options are many. So before you make assumptions about how much $ you need, take the time to explore what ‘meaningful life’ will be all about for you. That combined with the essentials (costs for home, food, etc.), will be a better starting point for your planning.

To the UNretiredLife!

No Comments

Do You Have the Green Light to Retire?

Further to my post yesterday, here’s another article of a similar theme:  boomers are not rushing out to do a full stop retirement. Many are heading back to work. Another Certified Financial Planner (Ted Rechtshaffen) wrote an article for the Globe and Mail’s “Globe Investor” and invited me to comment on this.

The article begins with this:  I think we all know of people who retired but then changed their mind. What made them go back to work? What lessons can it teach to those who are now thinking about retirement?


To success and fulfillment in your own version of UNretiredLife!



No Comments

A New Definition of Retirement: “Freedom to Choose”

I had an interesting conversation with my Certified Financial Planner professional the other day.  I recently made a change in advisors and in the process of establishing the engagement, we have been reviewing all aspects of my financial plan. That of course, includes retirement.

Like any good planner, he asked the question: At what age are you thinking of retiring? Well, let me tell you how I resisted answering that question! I wanted to send him straight to this blog so he could understand that retirement ain’t what it used to be (I exclaim with indignation! 🙂 ). Like many other Canadians, I will likely work for quite some time — not just for financial reasons but because I get a lot of satisfaction from my work. According to many recent polls, I am not alone.  

 But my CFP did understand. He said: “Well, Eileen, I have a different definition of retirement. Rather than it being a fixed date when you stop working, I see it more as a time (projected) when you will have the freedom to choose. It may or may not include work but you have that freedom to decide.”

Business man with briefcase jumping in air in search of success

Ohhhhh…I like the sound of that.  The ‘freedom to choose’ ….isn’t that delicious?

It can be daunting to pin-point a date in time when you will retire (especially if you are still young…literally…or ‘at heart’). So reframing it to ‘freedom to choose’ (whether work is part of your retirement or not) is much more palatable and easier to do when it feels you are years away. The bottom line is you do need to prepare financially and you need a target time-frame. But this definition offers some much appreciated wiggle room on what retirement will mean to you.  

Some people will argue that you always have a choice. But let’s be real. Different lifestages bring different commitments. If you are early in the mortgage, raising kids, sending them to school (like many Canadians), then you gotta work hard to bring in the dough. But at some point, those obligations shift and there does come a time for many when there can be a loosening up of the wealth accumulation agenda (unless you are committed to spend, spend spend). Do you have to work as hard? Do you want to? Maybe, maybe not.

Getting clear on your goal age to have freedom to choose is both a financial planning question and a life planning question. Success in the UNretiredLife involves planning in all three dimensions:  work + life + financial. 

If you don’t yet have a financial planner yet, I encourage you to check out Financial Planning Standards Council  and select their ‘choose a planner’ function to find a CFP professional in your area. And do check out the tips in what to consider when hiring (disclaimer: I have a professional involvement with FPSC and I believe wholeheartedly in their mission). 

And if you would like some help with the life planning dimension — to explore your possibilities, then give me a call!

To your version of a meaningful UNretiredLife!


, , ,


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

Retiring Right: Chock full of tips

Thought I’d share a publication that I had the privilege of contributing to. Retiring Right, is a publication produced by RBB Media. The December issue was included in the Chronicle Herald. In Retiring Right – you’ll see a wide array of articles, tips and resources related to retirement planning. I was invited to contribute an article on the life planning side of retirement. It made it to the front page! Also – plenty of tips on the financial planning side of things.  Both are integral to a successful retirement… or UNretiredLife…which ever way you look at it, you gotta plan for your current and next state of life.

To success and meaning in your version of UNretiredLife!


No Comments

Canadian Boomers are gearing up not shifting down (research)

I love it when research affirms what I’ve been saying for quite some time:)  According to a recent survey by Investors Group, Canadian boomers are gearing up and not shifting down in retirement. They won’t be knitting by the fire and taking long Sunday drives (what’s wrong with that?!) – that last comment is according to Debbie Ammeter, spokesperson on the survey.

Well I agree. My earliest posts here talk about how boomers won’t be heading off into the pasture. They’ll be creating new adventures. Those who have a plan that is. Not just financial but a life plan. Do you?

You can read the press release here

The message is bang on: if you are a boomer, you likely have years and years ahead of  you in the so-called-retired life. You are not ready to roll over…..but perhaps spring into a new chapter.

Whachhya gonna do? Who ya gonna be? Lots to chew on – it’s an important life stage. Don’t wing it! 

To the 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!


Just two more spots left…

I can’t wait! I am counting down the days until my Retirement 2.0 Workshop on June 24th (with a follow-on program) — and putting the final touches on a really exciting program. What I’m most excited about is that I’ve got a great posse of people coming…..and before I forget, I want to share that I have just two spots left!

I call this “Retirement 2.0” – because the “R” stage of life will be a very different version from what old versions of retirement used to be. As such, it calls for a very different kind of planning ……so this workshop will be UN-like any old retirement planning workshop too! What else would you expect from UNretiredlife?!

JUST TWO SPOTS LEFT! If you are interested – you will be getting this program at a very significant discount (as it’s a Pilot from the Big Cheese Lab). As well, you will be joining a great group of people who come from a variety of professional backgrounds and range in age from age 50  to about age 61. Mind you, these are not limits to the age range required – just a representation of who has said ‘yes’ to this invitation so far.

No worries if you feel you are many, many years away from full time retirement. In fact, most of the group participants are in the same boat. They are quite a few years away from the full-time “R- stage of life (retirement/UNretirement) but are getting ready to make (or plan for) some changes – perhaps from their current work-life and want to explore what’s next for them in the years ahead for both work and life.  As well, we’ve also got some people who have just stepped away from their first career and just starting to explore this new stage of life. They have lots of road ahead and want to explore their possibilities for both work and life too!

Each brings different career backgrounds, interests and future aspirations — but they all recognize that having a successful past career/life isn’t going to cut it for their future. They need to take the time to reflect, plan and look at ahead to create the next stage in life so that it too brings meaning and ‘success’ on their terms.

Interested? If so, get in touch as I only have TWO SPOTS left. I’d be happy to have a no-obligation chat to see if this is a good fit for you. 

How about it? Ready for what’s next?

No Comments