“How Do I Get There from Here?” by George H. Schofield, 2017, Amacom, $16.95, 237 pages.
White sandy beaches.
Waves that gently kiss your toes with warm water. In your minds’ eye, they stretch for miles and they’re yours to explore. That will be your retirement — or so you hope. But as you’ll see in “How Do I Get There From Here?” by George H. Schofield, PhD, you might dare to hope for more.
How long ‘til your retirement?
If you’re over 50, you may count years, months, maybe even weeks until you don’t have to hit the alarm anymore. But get this, says Schofield. Thanks to technology and modern medicine, today’s 50-year-old may have 50 more years to live.
What will you do with all that time?
Most people, Schofield says, will find that idleness is boring after a while. A survey done in 2014 showed the average retiree takes just over two years to “relax and recharge” before returning to the work world. The “new normal” is that we don’t want to slide “slowly downhill through golden years of leisure until death …” Instead, there’s chance for challenge ahead, opportunities to learn new things and to jettison that which doesn’t work for us anymore.
To get there, and do it well, takes a good balance between planning and action. Be willing to listen to the experiences of others before leaping, and keep in mind that an “old normal” doesn’t necessarily apply here. Also, be sure you know the difference between “continuous change” (expected natural progression) and “discontinuous change” (the throw-you-for-a-loop things that happen). You’ll encounter them in abundance after you retire; be sure you’re able to deftly handle both.
Become financially literate, and update that knowledge often. Gather a handful of pros you can rely on for various issues of your life. Ask your doctor what she’d like to see you do to become healthier. Cultivate curiosity, learn new things and let go of old notions. Remember that retirement is not a “life stage” so much as it is a continuation of life. And finally, know when you’re “done” planning.
“If you are dead,” says Schofield, “you’re done.”
Naturally, you want your Golden Years to shimmer like real gold. After all, you may have more Golden Years than you first thought, and “How Do I Get There from Here?” will enhance them.
Right from the outset, it’s the whole-life advice that sets this retirement book apart from the others. The author doesn’t just focus on the financial; he encourages readers to look within and ask hard questions before making any kind of move. This, of course, assumes that you’ll stay healthy, which Schofield tackles. It also assumes that you have no emotional baggage, a subject he also dives into. Quizzes help here, as do DIY worksheets. True, readers may scratch their heads over the weird faux-interviews that Schofield seems to have with himself, but there are takeaways inside those, too.
This book means work, but it’s eye-opening work, so grab a pen and “How Do I Get There from Here?” Read it carefully. Missing it’s a beach.
Terri Schlichenmeyer reviews books about businesses and business practice.