Planning for retirement is more than money.How to prepare for a sense of identity

Financial Planners

Not surprisingly, retirement planning focuses on financial preparation for life after work.

It can overlook other meanings of retirement, from loss of professional routine and identity to potential risks to the health and mental well-being of retirees.

“We all know we need to save,” said Kate Schaefers, director of the Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning at the University of Minnesota. I also know something: “Money is money for everything, so you also need to think beyond just money. People don’t think about it enough when they think about what’s next.”

As more people face the prospect of retirement — 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day and an estimated 73 million baby boomers reaching that age by 2030 — Twin Cities retirement consultants and coaches , offers some recommendations on how to retire rather than just save money.

Redefine your identity

Legacy Planning is the fastest growing service at Navigate Forward, an executive career transition consulting firm in Minneapolis. Evaluate an individual’s passion, leadership skills and experience to develop a plan to prioritize time for leisure, volunteer work and part-time work (such as board meetings or consulting), said CEO Ander Bruinssample. says.

“When someone has a clear plan and starts implementing it, it’s much more satisfying,” Sample says.

Jim Jacobson had mixed feelings about retiring because he loved his job as Medica’s general counsel and his colleagues. It balances structured time with flexibility for hobbies and family time.

“Some people lose their professional identity and struggle to find another one,” says Jacobson. “This process helped me transition from my professional identity to my retirement identity.”

Rediscover old passions and find new purpose

When George Dow goes on the ice twice a week, he plays hockey because of his love for the sport he enjoyed in his youth.

He has also retired as an Executive Transition Consultant to guide others in their lives. Called “Portfolio His Life,” his approach to life and work after 60 emphasizes working on his own terms, learning and developing, living a healthy life and enjoying personal hobbies. is placed.

Dow, 68 and four years into his portfolio life, advises his clients to return to the skills, interests and passions they previously enjoyed after retirement, just as they did in hockey.

But there’s more to a happy retirement than leisure, Dow said. While the first stages of retirement may bring a sense of liberation, it is usually followed by disappointment in the loss of structure, purpose, power, identity, and routine that comes with work. Trying out new activities and new connections can lead to a new sense of purpose.

“The three big ingredients are joy, engagement and purpose,” says Dow.

In her “Encore Life” model of retirement planning, Shafers not only focuses on purpose, but also shares wisdom, pursues health and fosters a sense of belonging.

“Am I really touching the base of all of them? If so, you’re probably doing pretty well. [in retirement]’ said Schaefers.

kindred spirits

According to Schaefers, people underestimate the value of social connections at work. Loneliness, combined with a loss of connection in the office, equals obesity and smoking as a risk of heart attack and stroke, reports the British Medical Journal.

Relationships “are related to our physical health, our mental health, and even our longevity,” Schaefers said. “Frankly, isolation is fatal.”

Volunteering and attending exercise classes are ways to make new friends with common interests, Schaefers says.

Networking, the way people find new jobs, can also build connections in retirement, Dow said.

“Before you retire, transfer your connections to those who have retired happily and successfully, and try a few things beforehand,” Dow said.

take a coach

Some people spend more time planning their vacations than they do in retirement, says Karen Carr, a certified professional retirement coach. Some, but not all, financial his planners are also certified retirement coaches.

Carr et al. recommend working with a coach who is trained by an accredited coaching organization and follows ethical standards.

Retirement coaches find out what’s important to their clients, encourage them to pursue relevant activities before retiring, and revisit their priorities with them as time goes on.

“It’s like a career plan for yourself, a career as a retiree. [person]” said Carr. Most people like routines and structures and thrive on them, but when they retire they need to create their own. “

Ruth Tongen, a certified professional retirement coach, said coaches with such certification received more training on the non-financial aspects of retirement to match their coaching skills.

“Someone to dream with,” Tongen said. “I love this job because I am passionate about the opportunities that this part of life offers.”

Todd Nelson is a freelance writer for Lake Elmo.his email is

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