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Start planning before you retire.

By Bronwyn Muir, Retired NFP Leader. 

When I first told friends that I was going to retire this year they all asked me the same questions:

  •  What are you going to do?
  •  Do you have a plan? You need a plan Bronwyn.

I knew what I wanted to do, spend more time with Mum, renovate the house, read lots and lots of books, perhaps volunteer somewhere - but that was as far as I had gotten. So, no plan - just a To Do list. I Googled retirement plans and primarily got financial planning information from superannuation companies. So I tried looking for books. And again found it was primarily financial planning advice and nearly all of them from America. I bought the two that sounded the best.

Luckily for me Nick saw my profile update on LinkedIn and asked me if I would be interested in looking at his new program, called My Game Plan. 

Would I? Well yes Nick I would!


Week 1 - Getting Started.

I love that Nick takes you through the learning journey and gives advice on the best way to ensure you get the most out of the modules by being in the right mindset before you start.

Having so recently finished up at work I found that my mindset is still working on a business perspective – it’s definitely been a very long time since I did any development for me personally rather than career focused courses or webinars.

I found the second lesson - My Journey - was a real challenge for me to get out of my work focus. In this lesson you record some of the highs and lows of your life to date (both personal and career). Sounds easy but I found I went straight into the work highs and lows. Clearly I am still constructing resumes. I am looking forward to the next lesson – Life on a Page. 



Week 2 - Is my career hat still on?

Life on a Page sounded a bit daunting. But it’s not. It’s part of identifying your experiences and how they have affected your life until now – either in a good way or a not so good way.

The next module is My Values. Again, I found I was still thinking with my career hat on (even though Nick reminds you not to, sorry Nick). I did do some extra reading for this section as the word Values pops into my head as an organisational / HR word which I found gets talked about at planning retreats and is never spoken of again until Performance Reviews start! Just as well I am using a pencil for My Game Plan!

So even though I spent a bit more time on this section than Nick suggests I think it has helped me to continue to reset my mindset. I now realise it’s going to take more time than I thought to stop the work focus … but hey I worked for more than 40 years and only retired recently so it’s not that weird.


Week 3 - Letting go of work.

Nick’s intro to the Hexagon module is a little bit challenging (for me at least) “clarity comes from seeing things as they are, and not as you wish they are”. I find it easy to see things (and myself) as I wish they were. As it turns out the exercise was surprisingly easy to complete – after all if I can’t be honest with myself …

The next day whilst scrolling through Twitter I came upon a post from Dave Kline, a Canadian. Dave was posting about his father who, unknown to him as a boy, was an alcoholic. Dave shared a line he heard during his father’s funeral a few years ago which I liked:

“Choose your tomorrow, but start today.”

Which led me very nicely into Future Goals. After setting my goals I am thinking they seem so trivial compared to the ones I used to do for work. I know that I am harping on and on about the comparison to work – clearly it’s very hard for me to let go.

Is there a “grieving” phase you need to go through after retiring? Should I stop looking at LinkedIn as I feel a bit envious seeing people posting achievements when mine now seem to be very trivial in comparison? I certainly am not looking for a new role and am content to have left the not nice things about working – the politics, the stress, the hours. I am missing the challenges, the chats in the kitchen, the stories, the people …



Week 4 - Figuring out what I want next.

Personal Alignment was a great exercise and provided a lot of food for thought. Certainly I am in misalignment. I am definitely doing things that I don’t really want to do. It’s good to learn this as it’s been causing me some frustration and I now understand the source of that frustration. As Nick points out there are lots of things in life that we can’t control for example the economy. I certainly didn’t consider what the economy would be doing so soon after my retirement. Still life is like that, none of us have a crystal ball.

Onto my New Purpose. I have chosen to have a Coaching Session with Nick on this as I feel I need his help and insights. In preparation I have watched the video, read the article and attempted the exercises. It was great to talk to Nick, he really helped me a lot. We talked through my journey and my values and what happens when we combine feelings, passion and values. I feel comfortable that the feelings I would like to experience in retirement are good, as are my values. But we agree that I need to spend more time exploring my passions before I can comfortably identify my purpose.



Week 5 – Creating My Game Plan.  

I was very interested to learn in the Mindful Change module that Nick references Elizabeth Kubler-Ross – so it turns out I was on the right track when I wondered in week 3 if there was a grieving phase to retiring. This module is about the changes we go through as we transition to retirement and what actions we can take to help support ourselves. It’s in this module that I put together the strategies to ensure my transition is successful by letting go of the past and taking the first steps into the life I want.

I particularly liked Nick’s explanation of previous thinking about retirement 'where work ended one day and people jumped off a cliff into a new way of life the next day'. The new 'Retirement 2.0' model is much more aligned with how we need to think these days. 

The last module is The Driving Seat. This is very practical, drawing everything together - the actions I have identified, the skills I will need, my values, my goals and leads into building a practical plan with milestones to get me to the future I want. Nick provides a great planning tool and process for a weekly review to capture progress towards my long-term goals. 

I have very much enjoyed this experience - it has challenged my thinking about retirement and what I thought it was when I started and what I know now about myself, my plans and dreams are quite different.

I signed up for My Game Plan after I had already retired. Turns out I didn’t have a plan, I had a To Do List. I found the lack of structure and daily routine was really challenging. I wish I'd done the program before finishing work. 




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