We Need a New Word and a New Paradigm For Retirement – guest blog by Gail McMeekin

by Deborah Knox on January 1, 2013

For those of you who followed my previous blog about my accident on December 1st, I can only say I’m continuing to heal. And, as I say to my clients,  healing is a process that takes us always to new places.  So this month I’ve decided to share this blog with you from my friend and colleague, Gail McMeekin, who has summarized a topic of concern to so many of us.     All of the authors and the books from the Creative Retirement Collaborative are listed at the end of this blog.  Happy New year, as we wrap up the old and prepare for the new lets see what we can do to create a new paradigm. I welcome your comments here.

We Need a New Word and a New Paradigm For Retirement – guest blog by Gail McMeekin, www.creativesuccess.com

Previously in this blog, you have met my colleagues, Deb, Roberta, Amy, and Helen, and have heard about our Creative Retirement Collaborative. Last night we had a huge turnout for our panel on this topic at the charming Longfellow Books in Portland, Maine. Deb is back in AZ for the winter, but the rest of us made it! There were about 70 people there, a nice mix of men and women 40 plus in age. We have done several of these events in the past few months and we fill the room, as this is a hot topic. While no one talked much about politics, the questions from the audience were relevant to many political policy issues of our time, such as health care reform, the future of social security, equal pay for women, etc. People asked about how to discover their passions or how to get a job over age 60 or how to learn to apply for jobs online. Many people talked about fears of not having enough money or health insurance in the future. One spry woman in her 80′s was a temp for 12 years which she liked but she had no benefits. So she decided to get married and when she got uterine cancer two years later, her treatment was covered by her husband’s insurance. One gentlemen offered up a creative work idea for single men–work for a cruise line as an escort for widows and women alone and be their dance or dinner partner. There is a demand for this service. There were many poignant stories shared, as well as info about volunteering, living more cheaply in Mexico and Panama, and great resources in Maine.
But, I want to share with you some of our key messages:

  1. Retirement, meaning the life of leisure, does not happen anymore for most seniors and will happen even less in the future. The days of long-term employment, pensions, and ongoing health insurance are waning.
  2. Even if you are only 20, you need to be thinking about what you want to do in the Third Age of Life–what dreams you want to try out, where you might want to live, what kind of work gives you a feeling of fulfillment and purpose, the best kinds of relationships for you, and the fun you want to have, etc.
  3. Throw out the rocking chair paradigm and think about how you can create meaning and legacy in your life, beginning now. Being actively engaged is life is good for our health and the community.
  4. Start tracking your expenses, as I talked about last week, and make financial and lifestyle decisions based on your values and needs. Is it worth it to be stressed out by over-spending or refusing to let go of things you can no longer afford? Make a money plan, including creating multiple streams of income for your future. Look into buying long term care insurance.
  5. Begin talking with friends, partners, and your community about developing innovative support systems. We desperately need models of cooperation and care for seniors, i.e. The Golden Girls, co-housing.
  6. If you can’t find a job or get laid off, look at starting a biz that you truly love or work in someone else’s small biz. Notice what kinds of services are needed in this new 24/7 world. Tap into your creativity to get ideas and solutions.
  7. Think about where you might want to live and spend some time there to make sure it is the right fit before you buy or rent.
  8. Look at your personal Bucket List and set goals to make these adventures happen for real.
  9. Sell, donate, or pass down your “stuff” that no longer serves or excites you. We can’t take it with us in the end, so lightening up saves our family lots of angst.
  10. We live in a time of tremendous opportunities and many new options, but we have to be open to totally new ideas about this stage of life! We can connect with like-minded souls from all over the world via the Internet. Many jobs can be done virtually. There is a rebirth of cottage industries, so notice where there is a need that you are interested in filling. We have amazing new Eastern and Western medical treatments to enhance our health. Be positive and spend time with others who also want to make the most of the new “retirement”! We are all creative, so active your software, and reinvent yourself!

What are some of your fears and fantasies about the new Third Act of Life?

Listed below are the other members of our creative retirement collaborative.  Enjoy checking them out if this topic is of interest to you.

Gail McMeekin, Author, 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women, 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women Journal, www.creativesuccess.com

Helen Rivas Rose, Author, Brave: A Memoir of Overcoming Shyness, http://www.shynessbook.com/

Roberta Taylor, Author, The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle: 10 Must-Have Conversations for Transitioning to the Second Half of Life. http://www.couplesretirementpuzzle.com/

Amy Wood, Author, Life Your Way: Refresh Your Approach to Success and Breathe Easier in a Fast-Paced World, www.amywoodpsyd.com

Deborah Knox, Author, Put Your Spirit to Work: Making a Living Being Yourself, www.lifeworktransitions.com


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