Leadership for Life – Retirement

By on July 15, 2014
Leadership for Life - Retirement

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

Are you the retiring sort? While it may seem odd for this blog about leadership to be talking about retirement, it’s an important issue, both from a personal and business standpoint. After all, when leaders retire, someone has to replace them.

You’ve probably heard ad nauseum about the importance of developing a leadership pipeline to ensure that your enterprise will be able to continue successfully after senior leadership rides off into the sunset. No question about it – it’s important. But what about the effects of retirement on the retiree? I’ll bet you haven’t seen much written about that. Sure, you’ve probably seen stuff from your friendly neighborhood financial planner, who urges you to make sure your various financial instruments are tuned up. But beyond your financial situation, are you really ready for retirement?

Let’s stipulate that having enough money and maintaining your health are two foundation stones of your retirement plan. Beyond those, there are probably a dozen or more factors that will determine whether you have a successful/happy retirement, or whether you spend your days playing computer solitaire. Let’s look at some of them.

Work obviously provides us with income and financial security. But it also provides us with other things, including a sense of purpose and importance. At work we pursue goals, we accomplish tasks, and we get feedback about the value of what we do. How will you replace these important work functions when you retire? Will you join a board of directors of a nonprofit? Will you become a mentor to fledgling business owners? How will you ensure that you continue to receive a continuous stream of satisfaction from your activities?

If you’re a business leader, there’s a good chance that you’re fully engaged and motivated in your enterprise. Successful retirement means that you’ll have to disengage from whatever you’re doing, and find something else to occupy your attention. That’s not easy to do. It might be a good idea to try some things out while you’re still working, maybe taking a part of your vacation time to do so, or try something on a weekend. It’s not easy to simply stop doing one thing today and jump into something else tomorrow. It’s a good idea to try a few things on for size before you commit.

Have you thought about how retirement will affect your relationship with your spouse or significant other? When you retire, do you expect your partner to retire, too? Can your relationship withstand the increased amount of togetherness you will potentially have? From my previous experience as a marriage counselor, I knew of many relationships which owed their success and longevity to the amount of time the partners spent apart from one another. Have you ever thought, “I married you for better or worse, but not for lunch?” Whatever your situation, just keep in mind that your retirement plans have to be made in consultation with your partner, not just unilaterally.

Well. I could go on, and perhaps I will in a future blog. For now, though, keep in mind that retirement affects not only your income stream, but also your relationships, your emotional and psychological well-being, your self esteem, and other factors that most people don’t think about. If you’re over 50, now would be a good time to start. If you’d like some help with that, I’m just a few electrons away: 314-539-5329, or bschapiro@stlcc.edu.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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