Making A Difference Through Retirement Coaching

20 January 2022

I will be sharing in this short article what I have learned about the importance of retirement coaching. Today when we talk about retirement, we are having a lot of ‘surface’ conversations, meaning 90 percent of what really happens in retirement doesn’t get talked about, let alone planned for.

And that’s where we as coaches can come in and add value to our clients, by shifting the focus of retirement planning beyond mere accumulation of wealth, into making more successful transitions into retirement.

To do this, let’s imagine what happens when we get vaccinated. Something ‘negative’ is introduced to our bodies, so that we can build immunity over time. It’s the same with clients who have received retirement coaching because they’ll be going in with the right kinds of ‘tools’ which bolster and sustain them.

The reality of retirement is that it is very stressful. In fact, retirement has been listed as the 10th most stressful life event; meaning clients can’t assume everything is going to work out just because they have saved up enough money or have the right stock portfolio. Retirement coaches know that simply isn’t true, things don’t magically fall into place. Clients need to have context, process, and ways to normalize their thoughts and feelings. Many retirees suffer in silence because there’s a disconnect, they have all this new-found freedom and time because they’re no longer working, but that hasn’t automatically translated to more happiness.

Through partnering with coaches, clients’ awareness gets raised so there’s new insight: that retirement does not eliminate work, it ‘reframes’ work. So, what they’ve always applied at work, the skills and disciplines, must still be routinely applied at home and in their personal lives, in relationships, in staying physically and mentally sharp, being connected and relevant. Considering it all, there’s A LOT OF WORK involved in retirement planning.

As coaches, we can help clients to better understand all that and not waste the most valuable first years of retirement ‘stuck’ having to figure out everything for themselves. Because there’s another side to retirement that can lead into depression, addiction and even suicide.  These aren’t what clients are prepared for. It’s not what they’ve heard or read about in the brochures and commercials about retirement and again, if a client doesn’t have a process, a strategy or plan to replace their work identity, fill their free time, stay relevant, connected, mentally and physically sharp, they’re going to be susceptible to the negatives creeping in and taking over.

Another benefit we as coaches can offer our clients is a fresh understanding of what it means to be living longer.  A quick history lesson looking back to the 1930s where life expectancy was 62: People of that time started working when they were around 10, and working very physically demanding jobs, about 55 to 60 hours a week, so they desperately needed to transition out of the workforce at 62.

However, in today’s world, that’s not the case anymore. In fact, life expectancy has gone up by 30%. That’s an increase of 18 years of life, and what an incredible difference that would make, in terms of living out one’s dreams!

Life’s possibilities to a client aged 62 now include having plenty of time to start a business, go back to school, volunteer, do any number of things. By this same token, clients are not at the end of their careers, they’re on the brink of embarking on the best new adventure of their lives. And that’s why a coach’s work is so important. We are positioned to help clients see retirement from a different lens, so they can think and act differently, make better-informed decisions and have the inner strength to run the victory lap of their lives.

POH SIEW HAR, ACC

pohsusan2@gmail.com

Susan Poh is a Retirement Coach committed to changing the way people think about, and plan for the non-financial aspects of retirement. As a certified professional coach, she has found retirement to be the most fascinating, yet least understood phase of life, and is passionate about helping people navigate the…read more

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