The Last Days of an Executive: Retirement and Beyond


Negotiating the last year of active work is a difficult time of transition. It is a time of unprecedented uncertainty and can elicit strong feelings associated with losing a long-held professional identity.

Moreover, the boundaries of this “last days”* are changing. life expectancy is 2-3 years every decade since 1840As a result, for people living in wealthy countries, living to be over 100 will soon become a realistic expectation. Age is no longer a reliable indicator of managerial competencies, attitudes and skills. This should all be great news as it promises many more years of challenging professional opportunities. yeah.

This means that many professionals have to work longer to achieve their goals and may not have the financial resources to retire comfortably. You have the financial privilege to plan for the last days of your life, and it is important to do so.This is the period of multiple transitions In quick succession: The last period as a full-time employee. A post-retirement role as an entrepreneur, investor, advisor, or philanthropist. Time spent pursuing hobbies. Or, for the most part, a combination of the above while dodging the reality of aging.

Given the growing number of conversations with INSEAD alumni and senior executives participating in the program, it’s clear that this is an area of ​​increasing concern. Luckily, executives should already have the skills needed for retirement planning—creating a strategy and executing it with discipline.

Here are some helpful thoughts and strategies and reading suggestions.

1. Start with the end in mind

It’s impossible to plan for the last day, and without a tentative (but literal) deadline, you don’t get the same sense of urgency.Dealing with the finite number of years left will not be easy, but executives must grow solid hypothesis About when the end will come. There is a high degree of randomness in terms of physical attenuation, dying is a messy business compared to the relatively predictable early years. However, there are data to help you make informed guesses, such as the country’s life expectancy (congratulations if you’re Singaporean or Spanish), parental health, and personal lifestyle choices.

This prediction is not a morbid speculation about your finite existence, but an example of financial prudence. Important to know.

2. Plan early and prepare for the worst

You’re unlikely to be hired for senior positions after age 55, so you should start planning your final transition in your mid-40s at the latest. That means thinking about when you’re going to retire, what kind of regular income you want to have when you retire, how much you need to save to get that income, and how you’ll actually save that amount.

As a business owner, you should be well aware of the numbers and already aware of the dangers of over-reliance on public pensions. This is underscored by current trends showing that public pensions are declining either directly or through inflation. This probably means that you are already considering and joining a private pension scheme. Even with the foresight, business owners with above-average wealth should be aware that tax increases may affect them even after they retire. Always take a conservative view when doing calculations.

Don’t forget to consider the possibility of unwanted early retirement. The sad reality is that organizations often let go of senior employees in favor of younger staff who have the stamina, ambition, modern skill sets, and perceived lower costs in terms of wages and pension obligations. . Remember the rule: no one (not even you) is essential.

One way to accept this sometimes painful reality is to take initiative. It means cultivating successors who honor your legacy and retire when it’s most convenient for you. Surprise others, don’t surprise them!

3. Stick to what you are good at

Managers in the final days of their careers often ask me for advice on changing their professional direction. More and more people want to become coaches. While this is an attractive role, the field is crowded and the job requires specific education, practice, and skill sets, as well as experience and a willingness to help others.

A similar argument can be made for the directors of the board of directors. The role requires cutting-edge expertise and few interesting board seats. There is also an increasing trend towards younger directors.

Only through hands-on experience can you know if these types of positions are right for you. If you’re considering such a transition, consider the pros and cons of such a role before you retire. The final stage of professional life is not the time for amateurism. Base your retirement plans on the activities you are good at. Aim for a strong finish.

You can be entrepreneurial instead of being a coach or sitting on a board. This is something you can start doing before you quit your full-time job. Develop a business idea that matches your existing skills and interests and doesn’t put most of your savings at risk. Take cheap loans and share resources (and risks) with friends and former colleagues. The goal is not to build wealth, but to generate cash flow and mental stimulation.

4. Stay healthy, active and connected

Despite the friction, stress, and frustration of managerial life, many of the executive education participants I meet at INSEAD, if not the majority, love their jobs. But that fun only heightens the sense of loss after finishing the work. A former executive told me:

Don’t give in to post-retirement loneliness.according to good life and how to live itYounger people may benefit from having more acquaintances, but close friends are more important to older people. As British anthropologist Robin Dunbar put it, recent interview, Going to bars with good friends is better for longevity than running alone.

You need the close support of friends and colleagues of similar experience and age, but you also need to maintain connections with people of different age groups. When considering joining an association, club, or organization, look for organizations with members of all ages. It is important not to silo ourselves generation by generation so that we can see where the world is headed ideologically, culturally and technologically.

Sure, age may slow you down, but it doesn’t have to stop you completely. people who exercise are about 50% lower mortality than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Additionally, reducing calorie and protein consumption can significantly extend lifespan. 20 percent.

5. no regrets

in him 8 stages of psychosocial developmentpioneering psychologist Eric Erickson said that people over the age of 65 often ego integrity and despair. They are satisfied with their achievements and despair of missed opportunities and failure to pursue their dreams.

“Stick to what you are good at” suggests a baseline entrepreneurial strategy, but don’t let it come at the cost of your dreams. If you want to take your personal life in a different direction (More divorces after age 60The last quarter of your life is really your last chance. It’s like!

Embrace the adrenaline rush that comes from stepping out of your comfort zone. You don’t have to regret not taking the professional route or personal exploration. Keep in mind that you may need to start financial planning early in your career to follow these forked paths.

6. Learn from others

manage retirement, romance, wrinkles, regret Needs work to use the subtitle of my favorite book on this topic. Read about the last days of an executive, converse with those already there, and find moments of reflection and planning. These transitions are unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

*This title is inspired by Roger Federer’s Last Days and Other Endings, by Jeff Dyer. WARNING: This is not a book about the demise of managerial careers, it’s about the demise of literature, film, and sports.

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