For many people retirement is a highly anticipated stage of life. It’s an opportunity to finally do many of the things you put off whilst you were working, taking care of young children, and growing that nest egg. Whilst the first few weeks or months of retirement can be a real high, it’s all too common to wake up one day and find yourself with no real direction. Isolation can start to settle in as the reality of a limited, fixed income becomes apparent resulting in stress and a growing sense of resentment. That’s where a retirement coach comes in.
What is a retirement coach?
Whilst you’ve likely heard of sports coaches or even life coaches helping people achieve their best, retirement coaches play a similar role in helping people find their best retired life.
Retirement coaching isn’t a one-off meeting or a casual catch up over coffee. It also isn’t a theoretical visualisation process. Proper retirement coaching is rooted in Positive Psychology and Behavioural Economics. Through ongoing sessions, clients should develop and document a comprehensive plan of action for managing this transition.
In addition to expertise and coaching skills, active listening skills are crucial for retirement coaches. Oftentimes answers are found within the client. The coach should be able to help the client recognise this, and to draw it out of them.
How can a retirement coach help?
Broadly speaking, a retirement coach will help clients see themselves beyond their career. This can include providing support with allocating time and money, tips on staying connected to friends, advice on developing an appropriate community and guidance on maintaining physical and mental health. For example, they may help you find new hobbies to enjoy, establish new morning routines to ensure each day isn’t wasted, and provide you with valuable tips for finding like-minded people.
If a retirement coach has a background in psychology, they may also be able to help you:
- Deal with the feelings around loss of work, career and colleagues, and loss of purpose
- Overcome negative emotions and thoughts associated with moving to retirement
- Navigate the changes in the relationship with your spouse or significant other
The retirement coaching process
While the thought of spending your days enjoying leisurely pastimes is attractive, losing the routine you have grown accustomed to can be tumultuous for almost anyone. Because of this, the transition to retirement should start long before you retire. Proper planning is highly effective and retirement coaches provide retirees with the tools to make the transition smoother.
Retirement coaches can help you to understand and maximise the steps of retirement. Just as you trained for your entry-level position, so too it can be helpful to prepare for your career exit.
Retirement coaching utilises tangible tools and in depth discussion to focus your attention on various parts of your post-work life. A good retirement coach will highlight things you may need to spend more time considering and preparing for, ideally before you retire. Ultimately, they should be able to assist you in realising your retirement goals and confirm the steps you’ll need to take to achieve them.
Why is retirement coaching important?
Although it might not be well known, retirement is one of the most stressful periods in a person’s life. This is because we spend so much of our time in our jobs and often wrap up so much of our identity in our careers, and the things we achieve throughout them. Work gives us purpose, structure, socialisation, goals and physical activity, even if it’s just going to the water cooler a few times each day. Without a sense of purpose, it’s easy to fall in a heap and become isolated.
In addition, retirement typically comes at a time when our bodies begin to be less capable than they once were, and more prone to injury. It’s common for retirement to also coincide with a severe increase in the care needs of our elderly parents too, further exacerbating the stress and isolation in our lives at this time.
And then of course, there are the hopes and expectations we all have about what this stage of our lives will look like. A fear of the unknown can easily creep in.
Having a supportive coach can help you speed up the time it takes to “figure out” your new reality. And, by validating and normalising many of your feelings, a coach can help you avoid the more common emotional pitfalls.
Finding the right retirement coach
Finding the right coach can take time, so don’t be afraid to meet with more than one. Sometimes, a coach may seem great on paper but you just don’t click with one another in person. Your choice might be based on the coach’s area of expertise, their qualifications and experience, their particular approach or their fees.
Ultimately, you might decide on a coach because of the way they make you feel, and the confidence they draw out of you. Given the role they will play in your life, it’s important to establish an open line of communication and a trusting relationship with them.
Whilst retirement might be closely associated with the freedom to do as you please, it doesn’t mean your responsibilities suddenly disappear. A retirement coach can help you put a plan in place, helping you properly prepare to maximise this stage of life and, in turn, avoid many retirement-related pitfalls.
The first step in preparing a retirement plan is writing a valid legal Will. With Willed, you can get your Will sorted in as little as 15 minutes, from the comfort of your own home, for just $159.