Your Next 25 Years ©             by Pam Venne

    Seven Ways to Enhance Your
    Retirement Transition and Lifestyle Plans

    With 10,000 people in the U.S. turning 55 each day, many are struggling with what to do with the
    rest of their lives. Most people spend more time planning for a two-week vacation than they have on
    designing their retirement, which can last up to 30 years!  If you are one of those people who are
    questioning what “retirement” will look like and how best to structure it to fit your needs, this book
    will be beneficial in helping you discover your own path.  
    The Venné Group specializes in aiding individuals to take charge of their future by developing a
    personal plan that meets their retirement needs and goals. We have found that there are seven
    specific life areas that impact how effectively you cross retirement’s ephemeral boundary.  These
    areas include:

    1.        Perceptions of Aging
    2.        Dealing with Change
    3.        Family/Social Support
    4.        Life Meaning/Purpose/Passion
    5.        Work and Play
    6.        Health
    7.        Finances

    As you read and work through this book, you will become aware of the:
    •        complexities of the decisions that need to be made;
    •        planning required;
    •        discussions with family members that need to happen; and
    •        how to create a “retirement” that fits your lifestyle and needs.

    This planning will help position you to be as successful in the next stage of your life as you have
    been in the past.

    Take charge of your future today!

    Copyright © 2005 Pam Venné, The Venné Group

    Table of Contents
    Retirement Attitude Assessment                                                       
    Retirement Dreams & Plans
            - What Does Yours Look Like?                                                 
    1.  Perception of Aging – The Old Geezer’s Gotta Go!                
           Eight Life Stages                                                                         
           Boomer Zoomers – Signs of Aging                                         
           Perception Quiz                                                                            

    2.   Dealing With Change – Learning to Let Go of the Past
          and Welcome the Future                                                           
           Five Stages of Grief                                                                     
                   The Neutral Zone                                                                 
                   New Beginnings                                                                  
           Change Quiz                                                                                 

    3.  Family & Social Support – Who You Gonna Call?                  
           Marriage and Its Impact                                                              
           Social Network & Longevity                                                       
           Family Responsibilities                                                             
           Support Quiz                                                                                 

    4.  Life Meaning, Passion & Purpose                                             
           Self- Actualization                                                                               

    5.  Work & Play – How Will You Fill All That Extra Time?          
           Transferable Skills                                                                      
           Play, Relaxation &n Fun                                                             
           Targeting Your Possibilities                                                     
           Work & Play Quiz                                                                        

    6.  Health – If You Have Your Health You Have Everything        
           Physical & Emotional Impact                                                    
           Symptoms of Depression                                                         
           Quality of Life                                                                               
           Health Quiz                                                                                   

    7.  Finances – You Can’t Be Too Thin or Too Rich                       
           Take Advantage of Discounts                                                    
           Financial Planners                                                                      
           Credit Cards                                                                                
           Medicare and Medicaid                                                              
           Finance Quiz                                                                                 

    Putting it all together   Location, Location, Location -  
           The Hokey Pokey Retirement Dance                                      
    Planning Your Transition or Wishin’ & Hopin’                               
    Suggested Reading                                                                           

    The closer I got to my initial projected “retirement” age the more blurred it appeared.  While in my
    nearly 40’s I had figured that at age 55 I would be ready to kick back and enjoy life.  However, now
    that I have reached that age and beyond, I am not ready to quit working completely and I am not
    sure that will ever happen.  What I recognized was that other people were facing the same dilemma
    and that my experience might help them design their RETIREMENT by sharing my insight and what
    I have learned as I coached others through this process.  

    Over the past 16 years, I have worked with a wide variety of people who were in their mid-fifties to
    mid-sixties who had just accepted a retirement package from their company or had recently been
    laid off and considered retirement.  While some of these individuals greeted this event with open
    arms, most were not quite sure what they wanted to do next.  They discovered that their identity had
    been removed, as well as their social structure and daily routine.  Baby Boomers, more than any
    other generation, have identified ourselves by what we do, not who we are.  As we cross that
    ephemeral boundary we are not sure who we are, who we have become or who we are supposed
    to be.  We miss the ease of identification and recognition that has served us so well throughout our
    work lives.

    As I helped each client identify what they wanted their RETIREMENT lifestyle to be, I worked with
    them to design it specifically for their individual and family needs.  With a plan and specific goals
    they have been able to smoothly make the transition into the later stage of their lives.  Some are off-
    roading the terrain, some are taking different paths; others are cruising through the transition, while
    others are still working but in an entirely different career or professional area.  There is no definition
    of retirement that is a “one size fits all.”  This is a personal decision for each of us to discover on our
    own terms at our own pace.  

    My experience has shown there are seven specific areas where most people have struggled.  With
    this knowledge, I will provide you with guidance and workable plans to
    align your personal goals to create “the rest of your life.”   The following chapters discuss seven
    specific life areas that will help you determine your readiness and comfort level in each:

    1.        Perceptions of Aging
    2.        Dealing with Change
    3.        Family/Social Support
    4.        Life Meaning/Purpose/Passion
    5.        Work/Play
    6.        Health
    7.        Finances

    As you read through each chapter you will find that the information will help you clarify where you
    currently stand and what you may need to do to better position yourself for the time of your life!  Don’t
    wait until retirement happens to you.  Take charge of your retirement lifestyle planning before
    someone else does!

                                                           Pamela E. Venne
                                                           Dallas, TX
                                                           January 6, 2006

    Retirement Dreams and Plans –
                                                                       What Do Yours Look Like?

                                                                                       “Come to the edge,” life said
                                                                               They said, “We are afraid.”

                                                                        “Come to the edge,” life said
                                                                     They came.
                                                   It pushed them…
                                                                                  And they FLEW.

                            Guillaume Apollinaire 1870-1918

Many of us are approaching retirement this very same way—scared of the unknown, not wanting to accept
the fact that we are old enough to even consider retirement, or just not willing to accept the “old” definition
of retirement.

When you look up the definition of “retire” in the American Heritage Dictionary you find:
1.        To withdraw, as for rest or seclusion.
2.        To go to bed.
3.        To withdraw from one's occupation, business, or office; stop working.
4.        To fall back or retreat, as from battle.
5.        To move back or away; recede.
1.        To cause to withdraw from one's usual field of activity: retired all executives at age 55.
2.        To lead (troops, for example) away from action; withdraw.
3.        To take out of circulation: retired the bonds.
4.        To withdraw from use or active service: retiring an old battleship.
5.        Baseball.
a.        To put out (a batter).
b.        To cause (the opposing team) to end a turn at bat.

When I read these definitions, it sure didn’t excite me about “retiring”.  I still feel young and certainly not
ready to withdraw and rest or go into seclusion!  My reaction is quite the opposite.  I am energized by the
thoughts of working differently than I have before and am planning on enjoying every day of it for as long as
I can.

So the question to ask is:  “If I could transform or redefine “my retirement” to be what I wanted, what would
that be?”  

When I looked at my own situation, I knew what I wanted for my transition.  I wanted to have my own
consulting business (done that), to find a way to spend at least a month a year in the Caribbean (during
non-hurricane season), to create learning opportunities for others and myself, and to volunteer.
When I shared my retirement dreams with a friend, he said he might have a way for me to spend a month
in the Caribbean each year.  He introduced me to a business associate who is responsible for booking
speakers on cruise ships.  I am thrilled to report that I have been approved as a speaker for a cruise ship
that cruises in the Caribbean.  Our retirement dreams must fit our specific needs but if we haven’t put any
thought into what they might look like, we will spend valuable time figuring it out once we have retired and
that wastes our precious money reserves.

As an example of this thought process, Ken Dychtwald Ph.D., a leading authority on Baby Boomer
lifestyles, attitudes and behavior has identified five stages of retirement.  The second stage, Anticipation,
focuses on the five years prior to retirement.  While there are still a lot of positive feelings about achieving
their dreams, doubt and anxiety set in the year or two before Retirement Day.  22% say they will feel a
sense of loss when their working years are over.  

In stage four, Reorientation, (two to 15 years into retirement) many people rearrange their priorities,
activities, relationships and lives.  Many discover that retirement is often more challenging than they had
expected.  However, those who have planned for retirement and outlined a clear vision create more fulfilling
lives.  49% report feelings of emptiness and 38% report boredom during these years,

Did you ever see the movie, About Schmidt, staring Jack Nicholson?  Nicholson plays the lead role of a
man who has just retired from work, a younger person has replaced him, and his “new job” is to learn to
“relax” and “retire”.  Nicholson learns a lot about his values, identity and the contributions he has made
through experiences he has with his family and other interesting encounters.  If you haven’t seen the
movie, I would suggest that you do.  It is a great way to experience one man’s struggle with “retirement”
and the losses and insights that may come with it.

We all see “retirement” differently.  Some of us are concerned about crossing that boundary while others
welcome and embrace it.  Some who welcomed it have experienced it very differently once they got there.  
Your retirement lifestyle approach can be compared to arriving at your vacation destination only to find out
that you should have done more research about the activities and amenities.

Where are you on that spectrum?  Rate your current gut feel about the upcoming experience on a scale
from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).  Discuss this score with your spouse, family or friends.
  ___     concerned
  ___    excited

Now, let’s look at some of the reasons your score may be where it is.
•        How much research have you done for your retirement?
•        Have you begun planning for retirement in any other way than financially?
•        Have you begun thinking about what you want to be doing for the next five years and five years after
•        Do you understand what you will need to do to achieve your goals?
•        Have you come to grips with how those decisions will impact you and your family?
•        Have you discussed your concepts with your spouse, partner, or family and know what they want out
of retirement?  Are you on the same page?  If not, how will you resolve that?
•        Do you know what your dreams are?  
•        Will you be able to convey your dream to your family and friends so they can help you achieve your

If you haven’t thought through this process, now is a great time to start.  The information you will find in this
book will help you form your plan to create the best retirement for you and/or your family.
As we transition into “retirement” some people, to be sure, will follow their youthful habits, without much
reflection.  But for many of us, the old incentives no longer provide the same excitement as they once did.  
We find ourselves feeling uneasy as if something in our world is missing but we just don’t know what it is.  
The questions and comments I hear reflect the yearning and fear that comes with shedding old skin.  “Is
this all there is?”  “Why don’t I feel the passion and energy I once did?”  “Will the 1,300 weeks (20 years) I
have left to live be rehashed like the movie Ground Hog Day?”  “Will I be doing the same thing over and
over again each day?”  A lot of us get bored with repetition and the thought of doing the same thing day after
day can be mind numbing.  There are others who are in their comfort zone when they know what to expect
and what to do each day.  Exploration of the concept can be exhilarating for those who realize that they have
a choice.

How many people do you know who have worked hard all of their lives, retired around age 65, and about
two years later they’re dead?  In the movie Kill Bill II, near the end of the movie a main character states,
“The biggest killer of old people is retirement.”  If you continue to work at a job that is not a natural fit and
that you are not excited about, it tends to wear you out both physically and emotionally.  With this in mind,
why would anyone want to be so worn out when they reach retirement?  The last thing you want is to be too
tired to enjoy it!  People, who have “burned out” but continue working at the same job day-after-day, are
significantly diminishing their life expectancies!

Yes, there are some people who appear to have no choice but to continue in the same position.  However, I
challenge you to see if you can find a way out of that trap if you can.  Just knowing that you have choices is
liberating even if you then choose to continue doing the same thing.  Stress is significantly increased when
you feel that you have no choices in your life.

Past research has shown that part of the reason people died within two years of retirement was they had
“burned out” at work, had little, if any, interests outside of work, and completely depleted their emotional
reserves.  In addition, they often saw the glass as half-empty.  So when retirement time came they were too
tired to enjoy it.  They resigned and died.  Don’t let that happen to you!

New studies have shown that the correlation between age at retirement and longevity is not as direct as it
once was.  The reasons given are that people are working longer today (because they are living longer and
healthier) and often change careers during their retirement years especially if they no longer felt any
excitement about what they were doing.  If you are passionate about what you do then your resilience is
significantly better.  

Of all the people who have lived to age 65 in the history of the world, more than half are alive today . . .          
--AARP January 2005 magazine

With this information comes all types of choices and opportunities.  If we are going to live longer, and
research is stating that the average life span for a male in the United States today is 76 years, then we
must plan for our future.  This is a very different concept from retiring at age 65 and waiting to die.  
Therefore, if you are a male, age 55 today, you will have approximately 21 more years of life or 1,092 weeks
to enjoy life.  Many of us will live way beyond 76!  In fact, many will live to age 100 and beyond.  If you “retire”
at 55 then what will you be doing for the next 45 years?

Most of us spend more time planning for a two-week vacation than for the extra 50 to 80+ hours per week
that we will have in retirement.  If you sleep an average of eight hours per night, you will have filled about
one third of your time.  The number of hours in a year is 8,760 (52 weeks x 7 days x 24 hours)   If we sleep
2,920 hours we still have 5,840 hours to fill.  That is over 112 hours per week!  Hopefully by the time you are
ready to retire you will have figured this out and have planned the best way to fill your time in ways that are

I would suggest that you use a 3- to 5-year planning approach.  Because so many things can change as
we grow older (health, economy, finances, family situation) it is important to only forecast 3 to 5 years at a
time.  This way we can choose to continue what we are doing or start looking at what we will need to do
differently as we go forward.  In today’s economy, long-term at a company is considered to be 3 to 5-years.  
With this as a guideline, why would we not approach our lives in the same manner?

In the chapters on Work and Play and Dealing with Change, we will cover the importance and need of
schedules in your next stage of life.

“For this generation, the next phase will be marked by doing not retiring.”
             Knight Kiplinger, Editor in Chief – The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.

Baby Boomers have been driven and recognized for their contributions in the world of work.  In fact, most of
us have taken our identity from the world of work.  In the U.S., one of the first questions when you meet
someone new is: “Where do you work?” and/or “What do you do?”  We tend to identify ourselves by those
two answers.  The person asking the question qualifies us as to our importance in their life realm.  How
sad this approach truly is.  Unfortunately, we don’t expect that to change in “retirement”.

Many of my clients have asked, “If we retire, then how will we identify ourselves?  Who will we be?”  Work,
for most of us, has been who we are and how we have measured success.   Countless numbers of us will
continue to work in one way or another.  Some will work for identity, structure, financial reasons, health care
benefits, and/or purely social reasons.  Finding your new identity and deciding what to do with your time will
be discussed in detail in the chapters on Work and Play and Life Meaning.

Do you want to continue doing the same things you have been doing, change some things or everything?  
Are you currently happy, fulfilled and living life with zest or just existing in a numbed state?  This book will
give you a number of ways to help you identify what you want your future to look like and help you to start
planning for it.

Recently, I was in a hospital lounge and overheard this question used to initiate conversation with an older
gentleman who was asked,  “What are some of your hobbies?”   The conversation that ensued gave the
gentleman an opportunity to brag about his woodworking hobby and how he created wooden toys for
homeless children.  What a different view was gained on his life through this question than asking him why
he was there, what type of work had he done or who had he worked for.  I encourage you to avoid the typical
two questions and search for other ways to connect with people.  You will find many more interesting
stories with this approach.

Shakespeare noted that "nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
The truth is our attitude colors everything in our lives.  How we feel or think about something makes it true
for us.  What is your current attitude about “retirement”?  How did your parents/grandparents retire?  What
image comes to mind?  Is that how you want to retire?  Why?  Why not?

Take a moment to list the words that came to mind when you think about the “old” concept of retirement.
Some words/phrases that have come up regularly are unlimited travel, play or relaxation, endings, not
working, stagnation, monotonous or boring, and no personal growth.  What others do you have to add?

Back to Top of Page      

The Venne Group

Your Next 25 Years

Seven Ways to Enhance Your
Retirement Transition and Lifestyle Plans

Transition Workbook
Pam Venné LPC

To purchase a copy email
your name and address to:  

You will be mailed the book
and billed $25 plus shipping
& handling.   

This is $1 dollar for each year
of your future.   Aren't you
worth it?
Back to Top of Page