Making the transition to retirement

Frank Sinatra’s song, My Way is a great potential anthem for Baby Boomers and a common sentiment when it comes to how we go about living in retirement. Reactions from soon to be retirees can range from, “I can’t wait to reclaim my life,” to “I am in no rush to retire,” to “I will die first!”
In fact, some people never do retire from their paid work.

Those most likely not to retire until later in life are farmers, artists, business owners, and professionals like lawyers or clergy. For many, these are callings, a whole lifestyle or way of being in their worlds. Imagining a different life is a challenge and getting time off to experience a new way of being is not considered an option.


Farmers live on their farms, in their farm communities, and often carry on their family legacies and family traditions. My father was born on tour Century farm and, for much of his life, had intended to die there. He did move when he was 69 years old but was available to help my brother when he got the call. At times, the issue is forced by health problems or unhappy spouses who want off the 24/7 not-so-merry-go-round. Finding a successor or buyer is not always obvious or easy. Farmers have one of the highest average retirement ages in Canada. No surprise given that every farmer justifies their work with “Farming is a lifestyle”


For those in business, transitioning out of the business can be a huge challenge. Finding a suitable buyer can be difficult or splitting it between family members can bring a mine field of troubles. The transition can take 4 to 7 years or more once the process has started. It may seem too daunting and easier just to keep running the business with some hired help. Often the owner’s personal identity is so wrapped up in the business that imagining a future without it is almost impossible.


Pablo Picasso was very productive throughout his life including 1968-1971 before his death in 1973 at age 92. Frank Lloyd Wright was still designing major commissions at 90 years of age. Doc Watson was still playing music up to his death at 89 years old. How do artists, musicians, writers, for example, retire from being themselves? This is their calling, their life’s work, and they have no intention of revocating as they are living their passion already. Fair enough. Maybe it’s better to just carry on.


For many of us, however, retirement is an opportunity, a new lease on life, a renewal, a relief from demands and stress. It is the new stage of life that we warmly welcome. It is a time to look at ourselves, our choices, our ways of living and reassess our decisions and paths. It is time to figure out what matters most and cut away the excess baggage to get to the core of the life we want to create next. We can figure out what attitudes, beliefs, practices, and assumptions serve us now.

We get new verve and energy, life is popping with possibilities, and our lives are our own again. We can experiment, experience, regenerate, revisit old passions and interests, and create ourselves all over again. Happiness, fulfillment, fun, and contentment can be our guides and rewards. Life does go on with its ups and downs but we have the time and resources to deal with whatever comes our way. My way, right, Frank?

What do you envision your retirement to be like? Do you look forward to the day you can change your life or are you happy continuing doing what you are doing?


  1. Jenny Goren

    On June 1, General Motors released a plan to decrease their pension plan liability by an estimated 26 billion dollars. The website offers a helpful guide that outlines the new plan details. Affected persons are select U.S. GM retirees and surviving beneficiaries who will either be offered a lump-sum payment option or continued monthly pension plan payments. It is suggested that anyone who is affected by these changes seek advice from a qualified financial advisor as the July 20, 2012 deadline is quickly approaching.

  2. Abe simon

    When GM announced their Pension Buyout Plan on June 1, July 20 seemed far enough away. Now that we’re in July, that decision deadline might be feeling a little too close for comfort. Understanding the consequences of the three decisions available to select retirees is a lot of work. In fact, you may have found the phrases and terms require some sort of degree to fully understand. It’s okay to be feeling this way; that’s exactly why seeking the advice of a professional financial planner has been encouraged. The planners at LJPR, LLC of Troy, MI have years of experience assisting retirees like you navigate the muddy waters of pension plan decisions. They have created an informative video specific to the GM pension buyout options as a service to all GM retirees. You can watch it by clicking You still have time to make an educated decision about your role in the GM Pension Buyout Plan.

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