Older adults sitting at the table discussing what we can learn about retirement.

FYI: don’t ever mention the word “Retirement” to a Baby Boomer as it carries a very negative connotation!

The word dates to the 1950s when people who retired quickly became diseased, depressed and dead. It was widely held that to retire meant that you were just sitting on the porch in your rocking chair—God’s waiting room—ready to be called home.

Well, times have changed.

Today, as more and more people learn about retirement, it’s seen as a transition, not the final step in this life’s journey. In fact, retirement is now seen as a chance to unchain yourself from the responsibilities of life and decide what you want to do—not have to do.

Some years ago, I was reminded of the various ways that people deal with retirement. Some see it as a real opportunity and are eager to dive in. Others fear it and run from it, while still others love what they do and see no reason to stop.

So, what sparked my interest?

Well first is the, “I love what I do and see no reason to stop” category. There I was, thoroughly enjoying two of the most famous R&B groups that definitely make up the soundtrack of my life. Yes, I was taking in a grand performance by The Four Tops and The Temptations. Their singing and dancing were superb, the orchestration first-rate (thanks to a 17-piece band), and the way both groups connected with the audience through their storytelling was so authentic it brought you in and made you feel like you were at a family reunion.

So great…the show was fantastic!

What does that have to do with Retirement Coaching?

Everything! Why? Because both groups have one original member left. And both performers are well into their 70s, do over 100 shows per year, and do it only because they love what they do.

You see, Duke Fakir and three others started singing together in 1953. Unfortunately, the other three have passed on, but Duke continues as does Otis “Big Daddy” Williams from the Temptations. Otis was the guy who formed the group in 1960 and still leads it today, 59 years later. He too does it for the love of it and would have it no other way.

I recall a 60 Minutes episode in which Leslie Stahl was interviewing Steve Kroft, a 39-year veteran of CBS News with 30 of those years assigned to 60 Minutes. Leslie was really probing, trying to find out why Steve was leaving the famed show. Steve simply responded that it was good to leave when you are on top, and he really wanted to try a few new things while he still has the strength and energy to do it.

Leslie was appalled; she kept probing him to admit that it was something else. No, Leslie, Steve has a plan for his retirement, and he is acting on it. No more pressure, pressure, pressure. Time to kick back and do something creative at his pace rather than at 60 Minutes pace. (Leslie, Steve is 74 years-old and you are 77. Listen to what he told you and reflect. You have been at CBS for 47 years and 60 Minutes for 28 of those years. Do you stay at CBS because you love it, or because you fear having nothing else to go to?)  

On another evening, I was watching NCIS. It was a repeat which I had seen before but the first time around I did not focus on the fact that Gibbs (the main character) was in a bar with his psychiatrist drinking coffee, trying to explain to her why he had to turn himself in to authorities for a murder he committed 30 years hence. Why did he feel he had to do that? Because of his high moral standards. As his team’s leader, he did not want to let them down by hiding that he concealed a bad act from them and needed to pay for his actions.

But here’s where it got interesting: his psychiatrist was able to unearth the fact that Gibbs really was using that incident as a way to transition himself morally, in his mind, from their leader to a prison inmate—thus making it easy for him to avoid retiring. You see, the psychiatrist kept probing and got Gibbs to admit that he wasn’t ready to hang it up because he didn’t know what else he would do.  


That is the number one reason why many people do not retire until they are forced to by either a health event or a corporate event called “it’s time to go”.

Why is this? Because people are gripped with this FEAR: “If I leave what I have, there will be nothing to replace it.” They are caught in the, “it’s safe to stay here even though I really would rather not be here” plight. They have much to learn about retirement.

All these incidents show you that we all need to reflect on what we want from our next stage in life. We also need a plan for how we should go about doing it—and then go for it. Best advice: get a retirement coach—because we can help, no matter how famous or infamous you are.

Ready to learn about retirement—and what it can mean for you?

If you’re age 55 or over and are feeling at odds with how to achieve the retirement lifestyle goals you desire, you’re not alone. Many high-achieving, driven career professionals of retirement age feel suddenly rudderless and adrift at this time of life.

If your retirement goals feel like they’re slipping further away with each passing moment, don’t despair! All you need is some extra support and guidance to learn about retirement and finally make the retirement lifestyle of your dreams your achievable reality.

About Bob Foley

Bob Foley is your Retirement Lifestyle Coach and you can reach him by email at bob@retirementlifestylecoach.com or simply by scheduling time on his calendar.

Bob FoleyBob Foley is on a mission to make sure your retirement lifestyle is designed just for you. After all, he knows how much retirement has changed in the past few decades. Because you’re not your parents, and your retirement won’t look like theirs.

You’re a dynamic and vibrant individual, and retirement isn’t about to change that!

Bob knows what it’s like to be a driven, career-minded professional who’s suddenly standing on the precipice of retirement, looking down on an unfamiliar landscape full of shadowy unknowns and big, looming question marks. » Meet Bob Foley