Retirement Redesigned

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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Retirement Redesigned

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Retirement Preparation and Lifestyle

Like any long journey, it needs careful planning

A note from Johann

Retirement itself often feels like a destination. After many years of work, retirement is the goalpost we’ve been aiming for. This is where many people come unstuck. Retirement is merely a threshold we step over into a new life phase. Very few areas of life are untouched by the retirement transition. It affects our most core realities, from our sense of identity to our closest relationships. Being prepared for these will make your experience that much more pleasurable.

One of the more important things you will work out before you reach your stride in retirement is what will occupy you. What will be your occupation? Many new retirees start off with a plan for a specific event like an overseas holiday, or a visit to children that may live out of the country, or even a home renovation, but these events have a one-off character. When they are over, there is still the rest of your lifetime to be lived. Central to this issue is whatever your occupation will be. What will keep you busy? It could simply be a part-time version of what constituted your previous career. This could be in the form of consulting. Or it could be starting a new entrepreneurial venture or even teaching part-time. Or you could lean toward long deferred passions for a hobby or creative pursuit. Many retirees find a whole new pace and flavour of life once they engage in creative pursuits.

Being well prepared also extends to your personal life. Relationships pull toward a new center of gravity in retirement. Many retirees underestimate how partnerships can change and even how it can impact wider family relationships. Coupled with this is the challenge many professionals face in terms of redefining their identity in retirement.

Having spent my career advising others with theirs, I realised how few resources were available to support me when I retired from the company I founded 44 years earlier. It is this need that led me to establish Reset Retirement so that others like me could find support as they plan and prepare to thrive in their retirement.


With increased life expectancy and a relatively stagnant retirement age, we have many more years to plan for and enjoy.

Our top 3 article picks this week:

Life After Work: Finding and Embracing Your Identity

A direction post symbolising the decisions related to Life after work.

Our take:
If you’re looking for a practical exercise to help you work on your post-work identity this article offers a simple one of rating various areas in your life in terms of satisfaction. It helps identify various areas to focus on and can be illuminating.

Article excerpt:
Much of the dialogue around retirement planning is focused on financial preparedness and health care. While these are important areas to consider, life after work encompasses so much more—and retirement isn’t the only reason for such a transition. It’s a shift in focus and a season to explore other things. It’s a time to reevaluate priorities and try something new. It’s an opportunity for personal growth that requires a different kind of planning.

Five Ways to Embrace Life After Work
A big part of establishing your identity outside of your “lifetime career persona” is embracing an individualized post-work journey and really making it your own. Consider these tips from three experts in the field.

1: Break Free of Old Habits and Beliefs
You’ve had a lifetime of working hard, meeting goals, saving money and doing for others. You’ve made it through by developing certain coping mechanisms and believing things that were told to you. Now is the time to unlearn some of what you have been taught.

2: Celebrate Your Life Stage
The opportunities haven’t changed because of your age. In fact, leverage this stage by seeking out new experiences through a lens of life wisdom.
The opportunities haven’t changed because of your age. In fact, leverage this stage by seeking out new experiences through a lens of life wisdom.

3: Plan a Transition Ritual
On a deep sociological and psychological level, those leaving the workplace are having an identity shift that needs to be commemorated—perhaps with a trip, a party or some form of public recognition. “This will help to create a smooth transition into the new retired identity and will be an opportunity to include significant friends and family members in the process of this important shift,” advises Eckert.

4: Take Stock of Your Social Network
For some people this may mean cultivating a whole new set of friends, Geber says. “This is most true for those who have used their work colleagues as their primary social network throughout most of their lives. It is also true for those who have decided to make a move to a new geographic location for their retirement years.”

5: Be Intentional About Deeper Connections
(W)hen you are no longer working, it’s important to be intentional about connecting to people you care about. Try to reconnect with those friends you couldn’t see as much when you were working full-time or your grandchildren who are grown-up now.
Click here to read the full article on The Hartford

What I Learned from My ‘Faux-tirement’

A six-week break from work provides takeaways for retirement -and the years that will come before.

An elderly woman running symbolising the happiness she gained from taking a ‘faux-tirement’

Our take:
The author of this article took inspiration from the idea that one could ‘trial-run’ your retirement to see if some of the lifestyle dreams are as good in reality as they seem in our imagination. Going on a work sabbatical that served as a ‘faux-tirement’ gave her some insights into what she might experience in retirement and helped her understand what to look forward to and what she might still want to plan for. Taking your retirement for a test drive might just do the same for you.

Article excerpt:
(A)fter years of researching and writing about the financial side of retirement, my break gave me a sense of the lifestyle aspect of not working.
Here are some of my key takeaways.

  1. My powers of concentration improved.
    (O)ne of the great revelations of my “faux-tirement” was what a luxury it is to be single-minded about various tasks, even mundane ones.
  2. My to-do list wasn’t all that long after all.
    If I were embarking on my actual retirement, I might be asking myself, “Is that all there is?”
  3. The balanced days were the best days.
    I found that I enjoyed my days the most when I combined doing something fun or leisurely with knocking off some bothersome task that had been hanging over my head.
  4. I missed my work “family.”
    This one will be obvious to anyone who has ever worked in an office or in close proximity to others. Bonds form. Even if I made a point to schedule regular lunches with my former colleagues in retirement–and I know I would–I would still miss the natural give and take of the workplace.
  5. I had to monitor my media consumption.
  6. It was a bit easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
    Many retirees say having time to prepare food at home has prompted healthier eating habits than when they were working, and it also saved them money.
    Click here to read the full article post on

How Retirement has Changed in The Last 30 Years

Social Security and workplace pensions carried most of the burden

A line graph indicating the changes in retirement over the years

Our take:
If you’re curious to see how much retirement has changed in the past three decades this article by @marketwatch is a good summary of where we’ve come from, and where we might be going. It was written a few years before the pandemic and some of the shifts we’ve seen since but the closing statement remains relevant “Thirty years ago, retirement was mostly covered for you. Today, you need to plan for yourself.

Article excerpt:
People today retire far differently than they did in the past.

Today, most retirees are responsible for their own health care. That’s a huge cost. Medicare doesn’t cover everything, and out-of-pocket health-care expenses are growing at two to three times the rate of inflation.

In 1985, men were expected to live 14 years past retirement age (65 years). Women were expected to live until 84—19 years after retirement. Today, men’s life expectancy is 91 and women’s is 94. That’s 26 and 29 years after the age of 65.

As you can see, retirement has changed dramatically. You can’t rely on pension plans any longer to fund your retirement lifestyle. You have to be self-sufficient. And you should assume you will live to be 100. Even if your parents died in their 60’s, with today’s (and tomorrow’s) technology and health care improvements, 100 is a real possibility. You need to take care of yourself and your finances.

Thirty years ago, retirement was mostly covered for you. Today, you need to plan for yourself.
Click here to read the full article post on

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Other highlights for the week:

Most Popular Daily Thought

Often when you thing you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else. – Fred Rogers
We look forward to retirement as the end of full-time work and the end of certain demands on our time. It is also the beginning of a whole new life phase, one that can last for decades. How we approach this transition is all about our mindset. Do you think of retirement as the end of an era, or a new beginning? How we think of this phase will surely determine how we prepare for it.
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Quote by Fred Rogers – Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.


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Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.