Episode 41 – Transition to Retirement: What to do with the rest of your life?

Three-quarters of our lives are being spent on work, that is why a lot of people view retirement as a transition to freedom. But what happens to you on a day-to-day basis when you have transitioned into retirement? How do you fulfill the rest of your life? What are your expectations of retirement? What to do when your expectations are not met?


Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Boomday Prepping, the Baby Boomer podcast. Our regular chat with Baby Boomers about being a Baby Boomer. Despite all the things that come with age including for me difficulty getting my words out, remembering who’s who and getting organized in time, it’s time for us to talk to you. As usual on our panel today, we have Amanda Lambros and Bron Williams. Here’s our host Dr. Drew Dwyer.

Dr Drew Dwyer: Thank you Wayne and hello everybody. And yeah, this is a good subject to have a discussion about today and it’s a discussion that I think is worth having because often particularly in a counseling space, I often see a lot of older people, Boomers and older people when they reach a point, almost like crisis management but not quite crisis management. Almost like fatigue if I could put it to that point or a transition to become lost or displaced in retirement and what I’m talking about is the space where what do you do when you’ve retired? How do you fulfill the rest of your life and what happens to you on a day to day basis when you have retired or transitioned into retirement? And when you’re starting to question or look at was retirement appropriate? Was it the right time? Did you plan it well and what are you doing now that you are retired? So it’s really about the transition and I think I’ll begin the conversation there that a lot of people foresee or view retirement as a transition to freedom or a break from their life and their mundane life. Remembering that three-quarters of our life we spend working and so of course that last quarter of our life, hopefully it’s the last quarter of your life, what are you going to do and how are you going to spend it when you’re not working? We’ve had the discussion previously around on other panels with the fact that when you do spend that three quarters of your life working, I hope for everybody that they fulfill their requirement in their life to do something meaningful and have purpose and that you’re actually doing something that you like. Because many of us actually hold that three quarters of our lives wasted in a job or a work or a place that we don’t like and that we don’t enjoy and then we don’t want to do. And then hence we then set ourselves up per say for retirement but we have all these great delusional expectations of what we’re going to do to enjoy and have fun and transition our lives to retirement. And when they get there, the meaningful expectation is not met or it’s quickly lived because it’s a race to transition, they’ve achieved everything they wanted to achieve on let’s purse a bucket list in a very short period of time and now what? What do I do every day? So particularly I want to talk about the transition to retirement or what a retirement should look like, what’s the transition and what do you do in retirement to pass your time? Because primarily what you do have in retirement is a lot of time, hand-in-hand or congruent with that in retirement I want to put out that you also have a lot of freedom. A lot of freedom to use that time so who counts that freedom? Who counts that time? Really no one at the beginning of retirement that I’ve meant but they all reach a space where all of a sudden, it becomes the central focus. I’ve done it all, now what? What next? How do I do what I do? So first question to the panel is how do you see and what your expectations on that transition to retirement and what do you think is important to make the first transition to retirement? And I’ll go to Bron first.

Bron Williams: I think probably I’m in a different position too many people in that I have not worked full time for majority of my adult life. I’ve done a lot of part-time work particularly when I was a young mom and it’s really only been in the last ten years since my divorce that I moved back into the full-time workforce and now I have moved out of that again in establishing my coaching business.  

Dr Drew: Do you think that’s because you are a female that that has been the transition of that three-quarters of your major life instead of actually working? I don’t want to be misogynistic but you were a working mom and a parent and grandma.

Bron: I think it’s fairly typical of women in the Baby Boomer generation because I’ve always seen the Baby Boomer generation as a transition generation because we had the example of our parents who are in that sort of 80s, 80s and 90s age bracket now where women had defined roles and men had defined roles. The 60s came along when many of us Boomers were children or young teens and we sort of then everything changed after the 60s and 70s and we’ve done a lot of that changing. But I think particularly women had still fairly traditional roles, we shifted a bit along the way in terms of maybe having part-time work or working full-time for a little while and then slipping back into part-time work. So yeah, I think I’m fairly typical of a lot of women in my generation so I think and that actually gives us an advantage when we come to the retirement years because we already know how to fill our days with meaningful activities because we’ve done that a lot of our lives well.

Dr Drew: Good point and I think you are dead right on that. Women, I find the women that I work with are much easier to transition into retirement because it’s not that they don’t retire differently. Is that retirement is viewed differently by women because at that point I think Bron, their life has been filled with extracurricular tasks. Women get the extra curriculum and the men in a misogynist way I guess take the primary alpha male role and by the time they retire, they are actually more lost and more lucid about ‘What do I do now or how do I fill that time?’ Whereas women seem to always have a mission and a value and very quickly find extracurricular activities to do. Whether it be volunteering or whether it be getting involved in the  community which is much more driven to the women ethos or the female feminist point of view, whereas men don’t try those. It’s more about self, fishing, camping, me, the car, what I want to do. So go on.

Bron:  I was just going to say and the women who may or may not have retired before their husband but when their husband retired, it’s like ‘Get out and do something.’ She already knows that she’s got a life whether it’s focused on the home and the grandchildren or her voluntary work or whatever it is.

Dr Drew: Has she adopted the babysitter role now Bron?

Bron: Oh well very very reluctantly. I just think women, it’s like actually while you’ve been out there at work doing your career for the last 40 years, I’ve actually been building a life that I really like, don’t mess it up on me now that you have retired. I think there’s that sense there as well that women are established in the ability to have a balance, have work-life balance because they’ve always had to do it and there’s then they say to their men “Don’t sit around and mope. Go and build your men’s sheds. Get out don’t play balls whatever it is but get out from underneath my feet.”

Dr Drew: Alright, yeah. Amanda, your thoughts on the transition and what retirement looks like for people and whereas we do the transition what should they think?

Amanda Lambros: Well I think it’s really interesting what Braun’s already brought up because we have this concept and I’m going to apologize in advance, I’ve got laryngitis but I love this topic so you’re just going to have to work through me sounding like this. So we have this concept called a ‘full retirement,’ now full retirement is a couple so two people who have worked the majority of their life and have dedicated a good chunk of their income towards retirement. So they have actually planned their retirement and we’ve talked about this in previous podcasts of you need to really plan for your retirement, put that money aside kind of don’t dig your head in the sand, so that’s considered a full retirement. Now in the society that we have now and especially with the generation of Baby Boomers that we currently are seeing, full retirement is  nearly non-existent because what we have is we have exactly what Bron was discussing. We have women who have been in and out of the workforce and so their primary goal might have been to raise a family. Well if they’re doing that, they’re not technically financially contributing to the full retirement. So again, a full retirement would not be possible. Now we also know that from really great divorce statistics that if you divorce and you are a single woman, and because of potentially raising families and being in and out of the workforce and typically making less than men, your final retirement will be a half to a third or two thirds less than that of men. So there’s so many things to consider but I would absolutely second the fact that women do transition into retirement much easier than men do. It’s almost like they know how to fill their time. It’s like “Oh I’ve got a spare six hours. Don’t worry I know what I can do with those hours.” Whereas men really do go from this nine-to-five work mindset to ‘Oh my goodness now what do I do with eight hours up my sleeve?’

Dr Drew: Yes and I think this articulates too well with the data and the statistics that sits with male depression, elderly male depression and then I think this is that finding purpose. Now in that transition I can tell you that it’s very clear in the data we look at in the social sciences and that is that there is a time transition for retirement that is suggested or temporal framework, so temporal of course meaning time. We give it three months, now the first 30 days is crucial so I always look at this and go ‘If it’s a three month transition program to retirement, I would actually say well for many people but three months is the crucial element of getting it right as they say.’ So you know don’t hold me to these statistics everybody, as a gerontologist and like Amanda, we do look at this as a social impact on people because as counselors we address these social influences or circles of influence on human beings and it’s important that the person we counsel does it themselves. So we set up a template, they fill the gaps. Prior preparation is important, prior preparation and planning is important, I put that in my book if you read it. And setting up that plan so the first 30 days is crucial and I always say to people in retirement, ‘Forget everything, forget everyone, don’t listen to anything go and celebrate. Celebrate the first 30 days. Have fun, party. It’s the point of your life, make the transition of their time a celebration. Take a trip, have a holiday, spend some money, make your accomplishment worthwhile, give it purpose.’ The transition of retirement needs purpose so for the first 30 days celebrate it, do something to celebrate it and set up some perimeters around the entire three months step or steps in three months and don’t get trapped into things like the TV trap. Don’t get trapped into sitting in front of that TV doing nothing. Avoid it, don’t spend 30 days laying on the couch in front of a TV. It’s the worst thing you’ll do pathophysiologically to your body. Make some concrete plans and go and celebrate it. So in that aspect Bron, how would you celebrate your first 30 days?

Bron: I was thinking as you were speaking that we often view retirement as the time to take off and travel and often that’s all we’ve thought about but I like your idea of actually scheduling in a like that first 30 days of actually going in doing something specific because you actually can’t spend like if you retire at 65, you can’t spend the next 20 years traveling unless you have a huge amount of money.

Dr Drew: Absolutely.

Bron: So it’s about, I love what you said about going and celebrating the fact that you have finished your full-time career path. You go and have maybe the bucket list holiday and then you come back and go “Okay. Now I’ve got another 20 years.” Hopefully you would have actually thought about it before this, but ‘What am I going to do with the next 20 years of my life?’ And we may be able to take a holiday every year but it’s actually about continuing to live. I think if we only see retirement as something that we’re moving away from, I mean in terms of away from work, I think we need to see this really into a new stage of our lives that’s actually going to be as  much value as the 40 years that we might have spent in the workforce.

Dr Drew: So what’s your three main things you would plan into your thirty days of having fun and celebration?

Bron: Three things, I think take a trip.

Dr Drew: Yeah, absolutely.

Bron: Do something that you really really wanted to do. I get the sense of sort of for me, going back to being a girl like this is a new stage of my life and I think as we get older life gets very very boring well not boring but we get very serious so I like that idea of just going back to when you were a kid and going ‘Yipeeee! This is fantastic!’ So that sense of doing something to celebrate it, whether it’s a dinner, champagne, something like that but I think also maybe in that first 30 days start to think about ‘what do I want to do?’ If you haven’t already and I would certainly hope you had. But if you haven’t already, it’s okay. What am I going to do now for the next three months or the next six months of the next year? What are the things that I really want to do with my life.

Dr Drew: Alright and so they are your three steps. And Amanda, if the celebration month, the period of celebration, how do you view that and what’s your three things that you would recommend to air listeners to jot or place into that temporal space?

Amanda: I love the idea of a three month things because that’s 90 days and we can accomplish so much in 90 days and especially when you’re transitioning into retirement, you have now that space and time available to you so I would have to agree with Bron and say take a trip but don’t just kind of take the trip down to your next suburb. Take a long trip, like one that it’s kind of the bucket list trip, like “Oh if I could have ever gone there, that’s where I want to go.” Well that’s where you should be going, like don’t wait until the point that you are beyond retirement and you’re now an elderly and you are potentially disabled and can’t walk as much and can’t really enjoy the ride. Just get out there and travel to the places you’ve always wanted to see.

Dr Drew: Yeah, I agree. And make sure everybody knows. Facebook it, sell it and celebrate it so they all look with envy.

Amanda: Absolutely. Because then, they’ll have a conversation with you and go “How did you manage to do that and where did you go and tell me all about it because now I want to do it.” I see it almost like a ‘pay it forward,’ so go out have a blast and then pay it forward to all your friends. So that would be one thing, I would say the next thing is don’t worry. Don’t think like “I’ll never be able to get back into the workforce” or if something came up, there’s always a solution so it’s like if you were running out of money or you did need to relocate or whatever it might be, I think don’t allow worry to take over so just kind of go “Yep, there’s going to be a solution. I don’t possibly know the solution right now but if I speak to enough people, I’m bound to find the solution.” So I would say ask a lot of questions, that’s the other thing because unlike any transition in life, this is new to you. And if it’s new, you don’t have all the answers so look to people who have already done this and start asking questions.

Dr Drew: I’ll give you my three. My three is exactly aligned but it’s that first month is important. Take that holiday, celebrate it, do it, make it active and do what you have to do. Plan it, fulfill it and enjoy the hell out of it. The second point I say is addressing the stress. Address the stress, as Amanda said, don’t stress and don’t look back but address your stress. Look at what does stress you, and what will stress you and what worries you and on that holiday, take that time to address any stress and set yourself up better for stress going forward. And the third thing I say, begin a journal. I think it’s important, time into retirement that people particularly older people take the opportunity to begin a journal. Start a diary, begin it with the holidays so you’ve got ideas, thoughts and moments to put into that journal but begin that journal to start the planning process because what’s coming in these next few months we’re going to step into so take your holiday, celebrate it, go wild. Address your stress and then begin a journal. Start a journal on what  you’re doing and document where this journey is taking you because I think it’s a great reflective practice for people and a good planning process.

Amanda: And Drew I’m going to add to that, I think one of the coolest things about journaling especially someone in the younger generation, I would have loved to just sit back and like read through my grandparents’ journals.

Dr Drew: Yeah.

Bron: Yeah

Amanda: I think that would have been so cool. So it’s like if you’re retiring and you start this journal about all your exciting phases that you’re going through and the travels you’re doing and all that, I as a grandchild would absolutely love to have had the opportunity to like sit back with a coffee and start reading my grandparents’ journals.

Dr Drew: So we moved to the second month and the second month is important. You finished the celebration, you may not be finished the celebration, you may want that celebration to keep going but it’s entirely up to your budget as Bron points out but at the end of the day, it’s up to you. But that second month is crucial and it’s because we will transition again, you’ll transition again until the party’s over of course and now what? So it’s really important I think that people concentrate the second month on a number of issues. One of them is to connect it and remain connected with friends. Make concrete plans to stay connected with the people who are most important in your life, in a friend’s space. Family of course come into there as well but in my Book ‘Ageing in the New Age,’ I make this very clear – stay connected with people. Set up a system where you are connected if it’s social media, dance there or learn it but stay connected and make concrete plans for regular meetings, regular parties, regular events with friends, groups, citizen groups or whatever. The other point I’ll probably raise there is also to go on an investigation or a shopping spree for medicine, medical and health. So I always tell to people in the second month, “You’ve had a holiday. You’ve had your time. You’re connecting with friends. Now start to also connect, plan and shop around for where your health and wellness is going to sit in your retirement. What are the crucial things you want to address and look out at your flexible spending on health.” How health will suit you, food, diet habits and developing routines and patterns around to health to give you active, health wealthy lifestyle so it’s really important. And the third thing for me in this in the second month is avoid negativity. So avoid negative people, avoid negative thoughts and purposely structure the keeping negative out of your space. So find one thing that’s positive and build on it. So I’ll go to Bron, what’s your second month? What do you think about that second month? Now you’ve had your holiday and what three things would you suggest to plan in this second month?

Bron: It’s just really, if I can sort of go back to something that you were talking about, about the health thing. Isn’t it funny? I don’t suppose I don’t see my life as compartmentalized in that same way and because for me, I’ve been intentional about my health probably since I turned 50 about having regular check-ups and keeping tabs on what’s happening in my body and following through and so I find it actually quite odd that I would start to think about that two months into my retirement because from my perspective I would have been doing that for at least the last 15 years.

Dr Drew: Yeah, good point Bron but early detection diagnosis and planning keeps away the chronic disease.

Bron: Yeah, that’s right. And I suppose that’s the attitude that I’ve always had is that I want to be proactive. I like to be proactive with just about all my life and be intentional, that’s one of my favorite words. And so I’ve always taken that sort of proactive stance with my health, doing all the tests that most of the time women don’t like having to do like pap smears and breast greens and things like that. So yeah, I would hope that we’ve actually put these things in place before retirement and that we don’t have to do with them in the second month. And I suppose I’m actually finding it hard

Dr Drew: You’d be surprised how many people don’t.

Bron: Yeah, I know but I suppose too I’m finding it hard to answer your questions here Drew because for me retirement is not going to be a set place. Like I’m not going to get to 65 and finish full-time work and then move into retirement. I’m already transitioned into the space that I already am now and so for me it’s about continuing to build a new life in this third stage of my life.

Dr Drew: Sure, excellent. Because that is the fact Bron that Baby Boomers now are redefining retirement. Now people often ask me to find a new word for it but really at the end of the day, I wish we would stop avoiding language that is established. Retirement is what it is, whether it’s semi-retirement, part-retirement, retirement. Retirement has its place in the diction so but the Boomers are redefining retirement so as you say for you. And many people say to me and I’ve said it before on this program and I’ll keep saying it as a gerontologist who guides older people, Stop the BS that sits around your reflective emotional intelligence where “I don’t like the term old. I don’t like the term aging. I don’t like the term Baby Boomer. I don’t like this language.” Get over yourselves. Really, at the end of the day we’ve got to own getting old because, for me this is and I put it in my book too, this is very much a part of aging that people are very resistant to the fact they are aging. And if they keep that resilience which is very strong in the older person, I can assure you by the time they get up around let’s say 75 to 80, let’s go after more after the 80 year olds, geez they become stubborn and resistant and they are a risk because they won’t have help, they won’t do what they’re asked, or they won’t support and they become a real risk to the circle of influence that sits around them – family, people who love them, people who want to support them. But I’d say this to all the Boomers and the Boomers and the Silent Generation above the Boomers, don’t be a pain in the ass, old stuck in the mud old bugger. Take this opportunity of this transition to really set yourself up so that yes. retirement is something that you enjoy. Amanda?

Amanda: Second month, I would say the connection to others is really important because I always call it like the six week blues so I’ve lived in about six different countries and every time I moved to another country as much as I really do want to move to that next country, by the time I hit six weeks it’s like I kind of miss home. I’m homesick for like six weeks and then after six weeks, I’m like good. I’m like ‘Okay, I’ve made a great decision. I’m here.” And I think the transition into retirements the same thing, the first six weeks is like you’ll have all the parties, you’ll get to see the people you wanted to see, have lunch with the people you wanted to have lunch with and then six weeks in, the party’s over. Everyone else is still at work or everyone else has moved on and done their thing and they’ve already had lunch with you so they don’t really want to have lunch with you again. So I think I like that second month, make sure that you do have the close connection so if you do, if you’re starting to feel lonely it’s like who can I reach out to?

Dr Drew: And if you’re an early retiree Amanda, that’s a good point because many early retirees hit this transition very hard at some point. They hit a wall because many of their actual social connections and friends are probably still working because they’re not early retirees. So jealousy is a big thing that comes out there but if you have good strong relationships as I said planning this month which means as I said get active in the shopping spree of medicine and medical and health, you can get quite busy in that space investigating things for self rather than focusing too much on that connection space with others.

Amanda: Aand I also think how Bron was saying that she’s already very intentional about her health, I think that’s great but in reality most people if they’re in the nine-to-five trap, they’re not intentional about their health.

Dr Drew: I know and for those who are following Bron on social media, you’ll be noticing as I do her beautiful facial creams that she’s been putting on, her rejuvenation of her skin.

Bron: Absolutely, deliberate.

Amanda: Another thing to highlight, is that if you have been sitting in a chair 9:00 to 5:00, chances are your health isn’t that great. So really very focus on your health and like do you need to start walking more? Do you need to adjust your diet? Do you need to just go to the doctor and have a really good full once-over? And then you make that your annual routine.

Dr Drew: Yeah. And your third point Amanda for the second month?

Amanda: My third point for the second month is don’t beat yourself up. You’re going to have a mix of emotions and you’re going to constantly question yourself – whether it’s normal, whether what you’re doing is right, whether what you’re doing is wrong, have you made the right choice, the wrong choice, should you be moving somewhere? You’re going to have a myriad of questions going through your mind, don’t beat yourself up. It’s still a new transition for you so again get back to asking questions.

Dr Drew: Yes, good points. And now let’s look and have a think about the third month and where we’re dealing with this third month of transition because if you’re listening to us and making a few bullet points, a little dot down points, it’s really important now that the third month is the month of setback. And as Amanda just led to it, this is where we will start in the transition to beat ourselves up, to have second thoughts. Bron, believe it or not, this is where a lot of people actually end up going back to work because they realize “Oh bloody hell, I’m not ready to do this or I’ve lost too much in the transition.” So this planning stage is really important and I think it’s important that people first and foremost first point stick to the goal. Stick to the major goal, the major goal was to get retired or semi-retired or what retirement looks or is defined for you. Stay there. Don’t go backwards because it can be a disastrous event for an individual to go back and to face their own humility in their own space. But stay focused on the major goal and now start to build into your plan, smaller goals, whether they be monthly goals, yearly goals. Set up the smaller goals to remain in your goal attainment. This is known as SMART goal setting so you can google it, have a look at it. SMART goal settings very common in the social sciences now in the counseling space. I’ll let Amanda to talk about this in a moment but SMART goal setting is good so there’s my two points: Don’t look back. Don’t go back. Set up, maintain the whole goal. Now, set up small goals to achieve the steps that remain in the big goal. And my final point, again I’m going to bring it back – is get physically active. Start to program and put in a routine that maintains and gives you a good, physical, active aging. Stuff that keeps that body moving, stuff that keeps that body healthy, mind healthy, spiritually healthy. And really the crux of the matter here is not necessarily overdoing it or choosing too much of one thing but finding balance so that you have a nice, steady routine that you’re comfortable with and that you’re flexible but stay and get physically active. It is a crucial point for as you start to now age because you’re not working anymore or as much as you used to, I can assure you the impacts on your body will be noticeable at this point three months into your journey. Bronwyn?

Bron: Okay. I think this is a time because three months is actually not a very long time to have been out of the full-time workforce for and I think this is the time where perhaps a little bit of maybe more self-reflection is a good time. It’s about them saying to revisit “What are the things that I really like to do? What are the things that I used to think about when I was working that I said if only I had the time?” And they could be things that could earn you money, so it could be that you could start to step into the entrepreneurial space as an older person because there is so much training, free training and paid training, available for entrepreneurs to be able to step into something new and to utilize what now is six decades worth of living and wisdom and learning and you’d be surprised at how many skills that you have that on face value you think “Oh well how would I use that?” But when you start to think and you go “Actually, I learned this these particular skills in this job. Actually I could transition those skills into this other space over here.” Because skills are able to be transitioned from one particular workplace into another and then you make them work yourself.

Dr Drew: That’s a good point Bron because you don’t have to actually totally give it all up and do nothing. It could be this third month is a space where you go “In my plan now, I’m going to reinvent myself or I’m going to have another go at something or I’m going to do something differently and I’m going to use all my life skills and put them into a space that I want to do.” Keep going.

Bron: Yeah. Well I’ll just tell you something I’ve done recently is I’ve applied to be a Pathways to Employment mentor with refugee and migrant youth here in Melbourne

Dr Drew: Nice.

Bron: I’m still in the sort of application process. Now for me, that taps into my teaching background, it taps into my work with refugees on Nauru, taps into the fact that I am a grandma and yes my grandchildren are young but the eldest is 14 so won’t be all that long before she’s into that sort of young teens workforce situation. So it taps into things that I already know how to do, plus my own training and skill sets. And I think and that’s a voluntary role, probably only a couple of hours a week often just over the telephone, so just being that older person who’s done the employment pathways yeah and I literally just went online to the seek.com where you’d find work but there’s Seek volunteer site so you can go there and find places that look for volunteers and find things that fit with your skill set and your interest areas so that would be something else. So if you’re not wanting to actually monetize your skills, give them a way to people who could use them. So that would be another thing that I think, because to me it’s about this is the most amazing opportunity that we have, but not just to give back but to form something new. If we’re lucky, we have 30 years if we’re reasonably healthy, we’ve got at least good 20 years of good health to do something. Like we know the last 60 years have gone quite quickly, but we do know that 20 years is still a heck of a long time that we can actually build something new, that looks very different to what we’ve spent maybe the last 40 years doing in a traditional workplace.

Dr Drew: And Amanda?

Amanda: I’m very excited about this part because I think one of the most important things is learning. So when you’re at work, you don’t usually have the opportunity to learn unless you’re doing professional development and you’re usually doing professional development in the area that you already work in so you don’t really have a huge scope to actually learn new things. So I would go with Bron on this one and I would say “Go on YouTube. Go on an International MOOC or whatever.” There are low-cost and no-cost learning opportunities all over the place. So if you want to learn how to use social media, you can easily do that on YouTube. If you want to learn about a new type of data processing, you can do that. If you want to learn about geology, you can do that there’s so many different things you can learn about that may have previously interested you in your life and I think you should just go for it. Just go and learn new things so always keeping your mind active. The next thing on that, I think is forward planning. I think cool, you’ve made it through to three months but now what? Because yeah, you are going to have possibly another 20-30 years up your sleeve, so congratulations you’ve done three months. Now what? So it’s the forward planning how do I plan on spending the next 20 years? What do I want to do? Do I want to volunteer? Do I want to go back to work? Do I want to just travel and if I do want to travel but I don’t have enough money, how am I going to support myself to travel? And it might be go back to your years when you were 19 and 20 and you could backpack around the world and be great. We you still have the ability to do that in your retirement years so and I know I’ve stayed at some amazing hostels with some older people who were doing exactly that. They were backpacking around the world and they were working as they were backpacking and I thought that was brilliant. The other thing is you are probably as an older person, more likely to be able to do house-sitting because I would definitely trust my house to an older person before I would a young person so you could travel the world house-sitting for other people and they’d be more than happy for you to do that. And my final bit for month three is you got this. So it’s kind of like that concept of ‘Don’t look back. Just believe in yourself. Be confident. You’ve got this. Don’t worry about it. As long as you got your plan going forward, you’re good.’ And I think to really revisit those SMART goals is really important. So like Drew was saying, get online, understand what a SMART goal is and start implementing some of those SMART goals so that you can take the little baby steps to start achieving a longer-term plan.

Dr Drew: Yes, good points. And they are good but sounds to me that I’d like Bronwyn is already living the dream.

Amanda: She is.

Dr Drew: I’m quite envious there but the reality is now we’ve reached the end of three months so it’s important if you weigh up the points we’ve looked at, it’s been quite an active three months and people are basically doing a lot and I think now the transition begins for the next let’s say nine months to reach a first year goal and then setting yourself up to live in your retirement space. Whether it’s semi retirement or full retirement, it’s entirely up to you. A couple of suggestions I would make is if part of your plans is to make a move, for example sell up, sell your home, move, downsize, empty-nest – any of these issues – my suggestion now is spend the next nine months doing exactly that. Reach that first whole goal. Make your move, set up your retirement home, focus in that retirement home, do the renovations you wanted to do, downsize, make a move a physical transition if that’s in the plan. Do it in that  last remaining part of the first year and make sure that you chain make that change an effective change. Twenty five percent of people in the retirement space after three months is where they hit their collapse space. So you don’t want that collapse space to be all “I’ve done it all now in three months. Now what?” It’s got to be a set process and you’ve got to be in that space. Now another point I raised here is about the seasons in retirement or retirement living and retirement goes through seasons and seasons are in a year so of course I ask Boomers to sit and look at where do the seasons impact you? How did the seasons look for you and what are you doing those seasons? Now I say this because your body will become clockwork, your circadian rhythms and the way our body operates with sleep, with activity, with the sun going down and the sun going up and with the change of seasons depending where you live. So if you live in Noosa where I live, the change of seasons is not so dramatic. If you’re living in Victoria, they’re quite dramatic. An actual fact in Victoria in Australia, you can get four seasons in one day. So look at the seasons, set those seasons up and learn to get your body and your space in a seasonal place so that those seasons don’t have a big impact on you or you make the most of those seasons. And my final point now is rekindling yourself, making and establishing the things that have meaning to you, that are significant in your life always, whether it be a hobby, an interest and as Bron said and Amanda, if you’re going to start a new one, do a new one but keep them positioned in the plan and maintain them. Bron, the next nine months and going forward, where’s your points?

Bron: I think it’s like so much of this is about our headspace, isn’t it?

Dr Drew: Yeah, emotional intelligence.

Bron: Yeah. It’s about what we’re looking at and I think perhaps it could appear like as you say, you’ve done the trip, it’s all exciting, life has changed and now you’re into the nitty-gritty of living in this new space. And I would imagine that if you haven’t done a lot of planning prior to this, it might seem as though you have days and years stretching ahead of you and you go “I’m not sure that I like this and I don’t know what to do with it.” But again, I think it’s about coming back to the fact that this is a time of opportunity and so if you feel as though life is stretching ahead of you with no meaning, you actually get the choice about that as a human being. We always get a choice as to how we view our lives and so it’s then about attaching meaning to the life as it is and I don’t mean that just to accept “Oh gosh, well this is my lot in life.” And be fatalistic about things but just know that this is a new part of your life and you can actually shape it so there’s a sense in which I think what I said for the last few months just continues. It’s about looking for opportunities in your life, in your specific life with your specific environmental issues, health issues, family issues, what are you going to do? And yeah, seeing it as an opportunity of things opening up for you rather than just things stretching so far into the future is all looking the same because I think we get the choice. So yeah, I’m not going to give three points because I think there’s a whole lot of things that we could be doing and it’s about keeping our minds open to opportunities.

Dr Drew: Yeah. Those who work in the social or psychosocial space, this is a Gestalt Theory program but it’s basically they call it although we will work in, I don’t know if Amanda does this, I know I do – it’s called the Treadmill Theory. They call it the Treadmill Theory, so the Gestalt Theory and the reflective theories and how we work like sandpit doll therapy, so forth but and cognitive behavioral therapy, this sits in what they call the treadmill theory and that is when you’re on now that treadmill begins. That journey Bron that you’re saying looking forward down the line, walk, walk, walk, at what speed we’re going, up down, how fast and where it is. But I agree with you Bron, remain focused in the usual and keep that treadmill going at the pace that suits you and your routine. Amanda?

Amanda: Well I would actually say that going forward, for me I think the biggest thing is plan. Plan and be smart about your plan. Expectations is one of the biggest things that you mentioned at the start of this podcast and I think one of the things to understand is that sometimes expectations are a planned disappointment. So depending on what your expectations are, you might have to either rein them in or make them happen and so I think that’s actually really important. And so I’m not going with the three, I’m going to go with the one.

Dr Drew: Okay and we will start to wind up, but really one of the touchy subjects for many retirees and how they look at it and I’m going to just for general comment, finance, finance, finance, finance. You really do have to have a very focused point for finance and I suggest very much that that planning or connection with financial advisors or financial planners remains very strong and keeps you in contact with reality with your finances. And I also think counseling, counseling is a huge thing that is so underused, it’s underutilized. It’s much like Panadol, the best drug on the planet and yet poorly and ineffectively used by everybody so I think counseling is a great space for people to get focused in. People often say to me once they’re older “I don’t need counseling. I don’t need a counselor.” But the end of the day, we do. I use them, I’m one myself and I use one myself so it’s important that we remain focused that counseling is an aspect. In my book I’ve mentioned, I podcast on my website all the time about it. Find yourself a really good counselor that you connect with and somebody who you take value and appreciate the offerings they give you in counseling professionally and never look bar past applying some it some time to good counseling. Bron?

Bron: Yeah, look I would have to back that and I’m really glad you raised that point Drew because you can go to your doctor and get and I don’t know how many it is, but you can get free, a number of free counselling.

Dr Drew: In Australia it’s 8 to 12.

Bron: Yeah. So like even if you spent than 12 months and you did one a month just and I remember many years ago I took up that offer and my counsellor took me through a process of doing a live audit. That was incredibly helpful because I was huge, it was not long after I’ve divorced and it was really, really helpful. Like that was a huge transition in my life.

Dr Drew: You got rid of the ball and chain, did you Bron?

Bron: I don’t know what to say to that Drew because you can make light of it but there’s a whole lot of other stuff involved in that so I’m just going to pass that by. Yeah, so that whole idea of doing a life audit and I think a life audit is something that would be really really helpful at this  point of transition in our lives because that helps have some of these objective views coming into our lives and go “Okay. You’ve done this, this, this. These are the stories, you’ve told yourself around these events. Are you going to continue working with those particular stories or are you going to change the way you’ve looked at what’s happening in your life so far so that you can move into a new phase of your life with real openness and enthusiasm?”

Dr Drew: Beautiful. Amanda?

Amanda: I don’t have much to add to that because I think, take stock of what you have and you’re about to embark on this really cool, awesome transition in your life and what as much as we want to be prepared, any transition that comes our way we can never be fully prepared for so know that there’s going to be some absolute ups and downs and that there’s going to be some learnings and take what you can away from those learnings and it’ll be fabulous. Just enjoy the ride.

Dr Drew: Excellent. Excellent conversation today everybody and it brings us to the end of our program so I’m going to hand over to Wayne to close us out but I think our short panel today, a small panel but a good panel and it’s nice to have these conversations. So the final closing point for me is really have a think about it, start to plan and understand what are you going to do to pass the time and how does time look into retirement and how do you set yourself up for success.

Wayne: You’ve been listening to Boomsday Prepping, the Baby Boomer show. We’ve been talking with our panel Bron Williams, Amanda Lambros and our co-host Dr. Drew Dwyer. My name is Wayne Bucklar, this is Boomsday Prepping – the Baby Boomer podcast.

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