According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology in 2009 “retirees who transition from full-time work into temporary or part-time jobs experience fewer major diseases and are able to function better day-to-day than people who stop working altogether.”

In life planning meetings I always discuss work in the context of the Chartered Wealth Solutions’ definition of retirement:

“Retirement means having the freedom to achieve your yet unfulfilled dreams and goals, on your terms and in your own time.”

Some people coun down the days until retirement – the day they can finally stop working.  Others decide to stay where they are.  The process I go through with my clients involves looking at what it is about their present job that they enjoy, and then trying to incorporate that into their lives in retirement.  If there is nothing about their job that they enjoy, we ask them what kind of work they have always wanted to pursue, keeping in mind that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a paid job.  If they are happy with their current work situation we may suggest slight restructuring.  Taking Fridays and Mondays off is one suggestion.  This gives the client time to be more involved in other activities and spend time with the people in their life that matter.

I am reminded of a client of mine who had been working for a large corporate company for 40 years.  After retiring, something had been lost for him in this transition.  At first he was so excited at the prospect of spending time on the golf course.  On further introspection however, he actually wanted to start his own business in the same field he had been in and where he could feel he was making a valued contribution.  We decided to invest his pension fund into a living annuity, drawing a minimum amount because he would still be making a living.  Today he is doing so well that I need to have follow-up meetings with him to make sure that he is in fact finding enough time for his golf and other interests.

The point is this: we try to create something that our clients can retire TO.  We look into ways to fill the hours that were previously work hours, and we get creative taking into account our clients’ interests, experience and skills.  Great possibilities exist in looking at those things that you enjoy.  Sally Williams, for example, started her business at the age of sixty in her kitchen and turned her nougat recipe into a very lucrative enterprise.

I see so many of my clients limiting themselves, not believing that they can achieve so much in this next life chapter.  But in truth, retirement is full of opportunity and is a chance to reinvent yourself.  I encourage you to dream more and dream big!

Pam Golding only started her estate agency at fifty and now at eighty she can look back at the legacy she has created.

From my interaction with clients I’ve learnt that if people aren’t retiring TO something, they feel extremely lost.  That is why we try to find something that gives them a sense of direction, accomplishment and fulfilment.

Even if you don’t want something as extravagant as opening up a business in retirement, you still have a choice to fill your hours with something meaningful.  Choose to spend that time wisely and you will be all the richer for it.