BMO Nesbitt Burns
1 First Canadian Place
38th floor, P.O. Box 150
Toronto, ON
M5X 1H3

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The No-Retirement Solution

Posted on: June 10, 2021

The No-Retirement SolutionTM
A retirement full of leisure time is wasted on the elderly. Why not start doing the fun stuff now?
People who know me are aware that I’m passionate about this theme.
I recently spoke with my son Jamie, age 21, to ask what he thought retirement was. His response was, “It’s a time that you can do what you want to do, spend time with family, fulfill your wants versus needs. A peaceful time, a time for golfing. It can also be a time of transition – with confusion, a new routine, a difficult adjustment and a time when you might need to dip into your savings.”

Which leads me to ask, why not do everything on his list now – without the confusing transition and need to dip into your savings?
When one asks, “When will you retire?” I respond by asking what exactly they mean. If they mean “when will you retire from your present work or career?” my answer is that I have been retiring from aspects of it for years and will continue to transition how, what, when, why and for whom I work for the foreseeable future.

Let’s clarify what is meant by “work.”
My other son, Noah, recently helped me dissect the retirement question. For us personally, what we consider “work” in our careers is what we must do in our present jobs that leaves us tired, bored and numb. I like to break down each of my daily activities and define them by the way they impact my energy. If my energy level and enthusiasm are higher, then it isn’t “work.” If the energy I feel after performing all of those activities is mostly neutral or positive, then I am essentially working less.
Additionally, I analyze the element of procrastination I feel prior to doing something. If a task often gets bumped ahead to the next day – having to call a difficult customer, completing ethics training, answering internal compliance emails, etc. – then it is definitely work.
The key to planning a successful retirement is to gradually do less of the things that drain your energy and enthusiasm, while increasingly doing the things that bring you energy, satisfaction and enthusiasm. This helps to create boundaries so that we can spend more time doing energy-rich activities.  

Always consider transitioning yourself.
Rather than ceasing to have a career or calling altogether, if you want to stop doing what you’re doing at your current company or situation, consider evolving. This could mean specializing in your favourite area, working as a consultant, or completely changing who, when, where and how you deliver your skills and talents for remuneration.
Follow my family’s tradition: make a pact with yourself only to cease to strive personally and professionally when you are physically or mentally unable to continue. As Dylan Thomas wrote, “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Join the conversation. Contact me to let me know your conscious and subconscious impressions of work, play and retirement.