It’s time to quit buying into the myth of “retirement”—and to buy into this instead.
Ah, retirement. That long-awaited golden era of lazy lunches, rounds of golf, daily yoga and checking travel destinations off your bucket list. After decades of hard work, you’ll finally be living the dream. Right?
Wrong. Sadly, retirement today isn’t the picture postcard we’ve all been led to believe.
Far from it. This is the retirement most of us now face…
- We will outlive our savings by at least ten years, facing poverty at the worst possible time in our lives.
- After the age of sixty-five our health will become our biggest concern and we’ll be more prone to illness and disease.
- And worst of all, aimlessness will lead us to loss of identity, loneliness, and despair.
Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Believe me, it is. I was forced to retire aged just fifty-two after the doctor gave me just six months to live. Thankfully, his diagnosis was wrong, but so was the hellish retirement I was propelled into. I had money, family, friends, an active social life, and something to fill my time, but I was empty, lonely, and unfulfilled. The reason? I had no purpose. Nothing to get me out of bed in the morning. I was simply filling time. I soon began to take naps in the afternoon. I had zero energy and my health suffered. I was quietly tiptoeing towards death. I knew I needed something else and so, I went on an urgent mission to find it.
Finding My Purpose
This started with a thirty-day silent retreat. I’m a noisy guy and to be surrounded by complete silence was brutal at first, but as time went on, I began to learn more and more about myself and what I wanted from life. I began to see that out of every crisis I had experienced in my life, came the next opportunity: without the crisis, the opportunity would not have appeared. After months of research and study, I realized my purpose. I wanted to dispel the myth of retirement we’ve all been sold, and open people’s eyes to the reality of later life instead.
Building My Tribe
So that’s what I did and continue to do. Through my unique and original DARE program, I help baby boomers find their purpose. I challenge those stuck in retirement or preparing for it to make positive changes, to understand the physical and emotional blocks that hold them back and I help them move forward towards a better life and a brighter future. It’s a challenging and emotional journey, but it’s worth it, as are you.
Three Easy Steps
Where do I start? How do I find my purpose? What does purpose even mean? I get asked the same questions all the time. Finding your true passion in life isn’t easy, especially when you have ties and commitments, but it is possible. The key thing is to change the way you see the world and yourself. Moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset brings with it a host of new opportunities. You must take the first steps because motion breeds clarity.
Here are Three Simple Steps to Set You on That Journey…
Firstly, don’t think of retirement as a financial or leisure plan, but a new life of recreation, in the true sense of the word, where you get to create a life you desire, not one where you are condemned to live as others expect. You can have all the money and freedom in the world, but if you don’t have purpose, you won’t be happy. Why do you think so many celebrities and entrepreneurs are still working in their seventies, eighties, and even nineties? They could retire at fifty and spend their days cruising the world in luxury yachts and super jets, and yet, they choose to do something far more rewarding with their time.
Secondly, stop thinking of retirement as a terminal date, a time when you have achieved all you can achieve and have given everything you have to give. That’s a delusion. Life doesn’t stop at sixty-five, because life expectancy will take many of us beyond the age of 90. Are you ready to be a pauper at that age? The age of sixty-five today is merely a pit stop, a time to reflect on this transition. This is not a time to regress. It is a time to regenerate and evolve into a wise elder. You are knowledgeable and experienced. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Harness what you have learned on your journey so far and put it to good use.
And thirdly, when you start to think about retirement, focus not on finances or a bucket list, important as they are, but focus on transitioning and transforming yourself so you can continue to do something you love, while serving the community or tribe you love. This “something” will give you purpose, passion, and an income. You may not earn much – or even anything at first, but that will come in time. Money isn’t the priority. This “work” is the secret to a wonderful life after sixty-five and one in which you feel happier and more vibrant. One in which you feel fitter, healthier, stronger, and filled with optimism for the future.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not for one minute saying you must work relentlessly until the day you die.You just need to work smarter. You can still have vacations, enjoy lunches and brunches, days out with friends, and precious time with your family, but above all, you can have fulfillment and inner joy. This is the retirement we should all be dreaming of.
George Jerjian is a mindset mentor, international bestselling author and speaker who dared to ‘unretire’ and since then, has dedicated his life to helping other boomers do the same. George was in business for over forty years working as a chartered marketer, a partner in US commercial real estate and a financial adviser. He has a business degree from Bradford University in England and a master’s degree in Journalism from New York University. He has authored ten books, is an Emmy-award-winning producer, and a Distinguished Toastmaster and author of 10 books, including DARE to Discover Your Purpose: Retire, Refire, Rewire.