In recent years, I’ve been hearing a variety of stories regarding business owners and corporate executives who’ve been ready to sell their business or step down from their leadership role and retire, only to back out or panic at the last minute. The common theme among these stories is the concern they were experiencing about what their days would look like after they made the transition to retirement. Without preparation, it can feel like going from 120 miles per hour to zero in an instant.
Retirement, or what I prefer to call ReIgnitement™, requires planning. And, while many have focused attention on financial planning for retirement, few have considered the non-financial aspects of this life transition. Even in companies with strong succession planning processes, the vast majority do not focus any attention on preparing the executive for the next stage of their life. Transitions of any type can create stress in your life, even if the change is something that you have been looking forward to. When that transition arrives, you can react to the changes that arise such as loss of identity, work relationships, and/or purpose. Or, by taking a planful approach, you can prepare yourself to respond effectively to the transition and ease the way.
This month, I’d like to share a simple tool to help you gauge your readiness for this transition. If you’re roughly 2 – 5 years from retirement, or know someone who is, please use this tool or share it with another to get a quick read on your readiness. If you’re already retired, you can use this tool to pinpoint those areas that might need some attention.
Click on the link for the Retirement Readiness Wheel. The 8 sections you’ll address take into consideration a holistic view of retirement. These sections include the following:
- Clarity of Identity, Purpose
- Home/Residence, Location
- Marriage/Significant Other
- Work/Business, Volunteering
- Financial Resources
- Optimism About Aging
As you review and rate each section, take a moment to determine what that section means to you. Then, to determine your readiness, circle your level of satisfaction with your preparedness for each of the 8 sections on a scale of 1 – 7 (1 = least satisfied, 7 – most satisfied). For example, for Home/Residence, Location – ask yourself “how satisfied am I with my preparedness on where I’m going to live?” Or, for Marriage/Significant Other, consider how prepared your relationship is for the transition. Go with the first response that comes to mind as you review each part of the wheel. That tends to be the one that is most indicative of the way you truly feel.
Once you’ve rated each section, draw a line connecting each of the numbers around the circle. What kind of wheel do you have? How smooth and balanced does it feel? How bumpy might a ride on that wheel be?
If you discover that one or more areas of your ReIgnitement™ could use some tweaking and you’re not sure where to begin, a coach can help. I invite you to explore my profile as well as those of my colleagues on the Retirement Coaches Association website to find a coach who is right for you. We help our clients think about and prepare for retirement like never before. Take the time to plan so that you can hit the ground running when you step into the next phase of your life and career.