Doing What You Love Could be your Best Plan for Retirement

Post by Lianne Bridges

At the same time as millions of baby boomers are reaching their retirement age, the promise of working hard until the age of 65 and then retiring to a life of leisure is fading quickly. There are many reasons why this is the case: huge losses in retirement savings due to the financial crisis; people not saving enough in the first place; inflation eating away at nest eggs; and improved health and life expectancy resulting in today’s seniors wanting to continue to be a productive members of society longer. At the same time, studies have demonstrated that continued intellectual and physical stimulation associated with working past the age of retirement have significant positive health benefits.

While people may want or need to work past 65, most don’t want to continue doing the same job they have been doing for years, nor do they want the stress associated with demanding bosses, long commutes and inflexible work schedules. Luckily things are shifting.  Today, more than any time in history older people, as well as younger ones, are able to choose the work that they love and continue to do it in a ways that are both economically and physically sustainable into later years.

According to research, the three main work motivators don’t include money, but rather intangible rewards such as purpose, mastery and autonomy (Daniel Pink, Drive).

This doesn’t mean that people don’t want to make money, but rather that they want to do work that offers meaning, an opportunity to grow and freedom while they make money.

That is why my partner, Don Rosenthal, and I created the the Shift Village. When we looked into the future and envisioned our own retirement, we wanted to find ways to do the work that we love in a sustainable way, and we wanted to help others do the same. We have found from our own personal experience that when we do what we love, our whole world improves, including our relationships and health.

Investing now in a second (or even third) career that has the ability to sustain our emotional, social, intellectual and even financial needs well into our seventies and eighties is possibly one of the best solutions for your retirement.

And, investing in yourself this way does not mean spending a lot of money, but rather spending the time and energy now to gear your talents, experience and passions toward work that is truly fulfilling.

We believe one way to achieve this lies within the village concept. By combining the efforts of many people including social entrepreneurs, artists, activists, educators, and more, the Shift Village offers a way for members to thrive through a common community. At the heart of any prosperous society are the merchants that fuel the growth and ensure the sustainability of the community and its members. Much like in a traditional village, theShift Village merchants are themselves members of the community who contribute to its collective well-being by offering unique products, services and events that enrich lives and enable the shift that we are striving towards. The Shift Village in turn offers eCommerce tools and social media vehicles to help merchants display and promote their businesses to a growing market segment focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice.

So, if you’re still wondering how you will be able to retire at 65, try shifting your thinking to ‘unretirement’ in which you do what you love, continue to be a productive member of society while still earning a living well past the age of 65. Begin by investing in yourself, that is where you will yield your highest rewards.

You’re reading the Lovin’ What You Do blog by Lianne Bridges.  If you enjoyed this post, be sure to connect withLianne and learn how you can become a Shift Village merchant and begin doing the work you love.

Retirement planning with a purpose – chase what matters

Each day that we live and work and struggle and enjoy is experienced one time only. Whatever you do today cannot be changed tomorrow and time that you waste or spend uselessly cannot be recouped. As for your preparation for retirement, the clock is ticking. You better work every minute you have to save as much money as you can so you will be sure to have enough to guarantee a happy retired life. Or should you?

The reality is that many preparing to retire look only at financial security and how many possessions they can accumulate to make them happy in retirement, regardless of the sacrifices required to achieve this. Ernie Zelinski in his book ”How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free” says “Although most people don’t know what exactly they want from life, they are absolutely sure that money in large amounts will provide it for them. They fool themselves, however, about how much happier they would be with much more money.” What is it worth in you and your family’s blood, sweat and tears to generate an additional $X before you call it quits and exit the working world?

Beyond money

Happiness cannot be bought. If it could, the movie stars and millionaires and dotcom billionaires would be joyfully enjoying their amassed fortunes with not a care in the world. But then we would not read daily about their troubles, misfortunes, failed loves, various addictions, and general poor state of affairs. All that money but so few genuinely happy people.

Chasing money for the sake of money – or more money – is not the way to go. Thomas Merton said “Why do we waste our time doing things which, if we only stopped to think about them, are just the opposite of what we are made for?” What matters and give us true meaning and purpose in our life cannot be purchased  from a wallet. Can you put a price tag on a smile and a giggle from a grandchild? What is the going rate for the support offered by a friend at a time when you are at your wits end? And what about those wonders of nature – a sunset over the mountains, the full moon on a cold, clear evening, the hypnotic sound of the ocean waves breaking on the shoreline, a dove’s deep throat coo – pretty much priceless.

Your time and effort is better spent chasing what matters – those things that add value to your day and bring a smile when remembered at a later time, enhancing the quality of your retired life. In an earlier blog, I talked about living in the present moment, here and now, where you can experience and savor all that life has to offer. Some additional worthy pursuits beyond the almighty dollar include:

  • Exercise to keep yourself in shape mentally and physically to give you the independence in senior life that is so important to maintaining self worth.
  • Find your passion and chase that – write a book, learn a musical instrument, cycle around Australia, become fluent in a foreign language, you get the idea…
  • Get in touch with that good friend you have neglected due to your busy life and get them back into your life. Good friends are few and far between and a good relationship is always worthy of chasing.
  • Turn off the TV and do something else – ANYTHING else.
  • Sit still in a quiet place, alone, and get to know yourself a bit better. Let your thoughts come and go, breath evenly, dig a little into the person you are and will be for the rest of your life. Do you like that person?
  • Do that something that you have always wanted to do since you were a kid but never had the time or the guts. Guess what – you have the time now! Do you have the guts as well?

When it is all said and done and you look back over your life and ask yourself what you regret not having done, what are the chances that making more money will top the list? You are retired and free to do what you want when you want regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. What a great time indeed to chase what really matters to you personally and maybe – if you are lucky – even catch it.

Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to lovebeingretired@hotmail.com.