Sunday, April 22, 2018

Pre-Retirement Success Factors

According to Ken Dychtwald, co-author of The Power Years: A User’s Guide to the Rest of Your Life,  the early portion of this stage of pre-retirement is called the “imagination” phase.  It happens about 15 years away from planned retirement, and is a time of high expectations of adventure and empowerment once you have left your mainstream career.  You may have started making plans and your perception of what retirement will be like is being formed during this time.  You are making contributions to your pension or 401(k), but it may not be enough to fund the retirement you are dreaming of.  Seventy-two percent of the baby boomers Dychtwald surveyed were actively saving for retirement, but only 44% were “on track”. 

There are a number of steps you can take to prepare yourself for a successful retirement. 

  • Spend time thinking about the non-financial side of retirement.  What will give meaning and purpose to your life once you leave the workplace?  What do you want your retirement life to look like?
  • Perhaps you will want to work part-time, or start your own business in retirement.  This is your opportunity to pursue the work you love, creating an opening for service to the community at large.
  • Explore learning activities, i.e., perhaps you will want to pursue a degree, or take part in “life-long learning” opportunities at a local college.
  • Think carefully about your leisure activities, where you will live, and activities you have been waiting to experience. 
  • Create a strong work/life balance before you retire, giving more energy to your time outside of work than to the time at work.
  • Develop and/or strengthen relationships with family and friends outside of the work environment.   
  • Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.  Your health is one of the most important aspects to an active retirement.
  • Cultivate your hobbies, and explore causes you have a passion for outside of your 8 to 5 job.
  • Carefully estimate your life expectancy.  The chances of one member of a couple living past the age of 90 is about 50%.  Make sure you don’t plan for too few years.
  • Work with a financial planner to determine income stream requirements, and whether your current investment portfolio, social security and pension will provide you with the money you need to fund your retirement.
  • Determine the best protection for your assets.  This would include life, medical, home and long-term care insurance.

An exercise I frequently ask my clients to complete is a “Get A Life Tree”.  The limbs and roots of the tree include those things you have been good at, your strengths and interests, values and priorities.  Branches include activities you have thought of doing, activities providing physical movement, travel, etc. 

The pre-retirement phase can lead to slowly extricating yourself from the workplace.  On the other hand, you may also find yourself intently focused on “wrapping things up” in order to leave a strong work legacy behind.  This is an exciting time, and if planning is done well, you can expect to live the retirement of your dreams.

Georgia Feiste, owner of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, located in Lincoln, NE, is a career, retirement and personal life coach, writer, and workshop facilitator.  Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life.  She provides support and encouragement as her clients set intentional goals to attain their desires, holding open the space they need to stretch and grow.  Her website is, and she can be reached at (402) 484-8098, or catch up with her on

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