Why Retirement Is Similar To Graduation

Kind words of encouragement like: “Congratulations!”, “You are free to make choices!” “The world is your oyster!”, followed by cards from friends and family, and even a party to celebrate… No, we are not talking about graduation from high school, college or university, but rather graduation from working life – retirement. The two are, however, similar in many ways.

Remember graduating from school all those years ago. You were leaving the comfort (or imposition) of structure and imposed routine. For many years, you had been guided by curriculum, schedules, and professors. Then, with one ceremony, you finally had the freedom to choose – perhaps for the first time in your adult life. With this opportunity came the scary realization that your path was not preordained. Your career was something that needed to be nurtured; trial and error would inevitably help you to choose your direction. Little did you know that, while some career decisions would help you build good habits, feed your curiosity and build deep friendships, there would be others you would prefer to have avoided but that would help form you nonetheless.

When you graduated, your friends promised to keep in touch. Years later, you would wonder how lives could get so busy that you could lose connection with so many of them. Though of course, it would make you value the friendships you did keep all the more.

Graduation was an exciting time. As you set out to write the next chapter, you felt it was an intimidating time in your life but also one so full of opportunity and curiosity. Oh, to be young again and to be given a similar chance to be free.

In many ways, retirement is not so different. It allows for youthful hope and, at the same time, trepidation. Retirement means leaving behind the imposed structure and routine of work and career. It frees us of responsibility and inspires us to look forward to new beginnings and exploration. In transitioning, new retirees tend to have a period where they learn about themselves and their hobbies; they explore their personal definition of retirement. We wrote about some of the emotions that new retirees can face in our article I’m definitely ready to retire… maybe ( Definitely Ready to Retire).

For most retirees, it will take time to find out their true likes and dislikes in this phase of their life. Some will need to create structure around themselves to replace the structure they have lost; others will thrive in the freedom of spontaneity. Some will replace lost work-friends with more time with family, neighbours or others, while others will be more content with solitude.

There are few opportunities in life to truly be freed from routine and to have a blank life canvas. At Tall Oak Private Wealth, we help many clients plan for, and live in, retirement. The first step we take in our proprietary Retirement VIEW approach is working with our clients to sketch their individual retirement canvas and to visualize their retirement.

Thinking about retirement is exciting for most. The idea of replacing structure and responsibility with choice is exciting. Some individuals are emotionally ready to retire and have a clear vision of their early retirement life. Many are not as sure, and plan on using the first few years of retirement as an opportunity to try new activities and hobbies. Exploring retirement is a natural first phase for everyone, as they enjoy having more free time.

Once a clearer picture of retirement is drawn, we can then help retirees understand their financial readiness and answer the most important question they face throughout retirement: “Am I ok?”

At Tall Oak Private Wealth, we look forward to continuing conversations with you as we help you in planning your retirement.

The views expressed in this commentary are those of Tall Oak Capital Advisors as at the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. This commentary is presented only as a general source of information and is not intended as a solicitation to buy or sell specific investments, nor is it intended to provide tax or legal advice. Statistics, factual data and other information are from sources Tall Oak believes to be reliable but their accuracy cannot be guaranteed. This commentary is intended for distribution only in those jurisdictions where Tall Oak Capital Advisors are registered. Securities-related products and services are offered through Raymond James Correspondent Services Ltd., member Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Insurance products and services are offered through Gryphin Advantage Inc., which is not a member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. This commentary may provide links to other Internet sites for the convenience of users. Tall Oak Capital Advisors is not responsible for the availability or content of these external sites, nor does Tall Oak Capital Advisors endorse, warrant or guarantee the products, services or information described or offered at these other Internet sites. Users cannot assume that the external sites will abide by the same Privacy Policy which Tall Oak Capital Advisors adheres to.