Ron Tustin – What Retirement?

Recently I have been working with some people who are 'planning for retirement'. And I would like to share with you some comments about this.

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Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" I dream of things that never were and say, "Why not?"George Bernard Shaw.

Recently I have been working with some people who are ‘planning for retirement’. And I would like to share with you some comments about this.

Retirement or ‘Renewment’ ?

Most of us as early as in our 40’s and 50’s are now considering what will happen when they retire. In the past, the laws of New Zealand (and many other countries) dictated that people retired at 65. And we didn’t live much longer after that. Now we are healthier. We are likely to live another 20-30 years. We also have a lot more choices about what we can do.  

If we have already worked for 20-30 years, our focus may have been on others, on bringing up families, and making a success of what we did, but now as people over 50 we start to think more about ourselves. Contemplating questions such as:

  • What’s next?  
  • Where do I want my life to go?
  • What is most important for me to do now?
  • What are my passions?
  • How can I make my life more meaningful?  
  • What will I be remembered for?

The word ‘retirement’ is a term that no longer really reflects what happens to people who start thinking about what comes next.  Let me explain. If we look in the dictionary we find that some meanings of ‘retirement’ are ‘deny oneself’, ‘draw back’, ‘seclude oneself’.  Very few of us think that we will be doing that! So it seems that when we plan for the next big step in our lives, ‘retirement’ does not describe it at all.

Some researchers have come up with the term ‘renewment’ to capture this. Another may be to ‘revive’ !

“Who are you when you no longer have a business card?”

In a meeting I held recently, a woman said to me “Who are you when you no longer have a business card?  You know, if you’re retiring or you leave your job or whatever.” And another said “I really want to retire, I’ve done all this corporate stuff. I want to spend more time with my daughter and granddaughter. But I just can’t tell people I’m retired as it feels like I have reached the end.”

So how we see ourselves and how others see us becomes very important.  The real question of identity for people over 50 is “Who do I want to become?” “What are my core values?” “Where do I find meaning?” and “What is the purpose of my life?”

 Any courses or seminars on retirement planning usually concentrate on finances and health, which are important. But the questions above are rarely discussed. And they need to be.

Planning for retirement in a recession

This recession is forcing people to ask really hard questions about what really matters, what do they value, where do they want their lives to go? And some people have said to me, “Oh I love your ideas, but I can’t afford them. I’ve got to continue to work.” And my response “Of course, but you could begin to explore within yourself where you want the next steps in your life to lead. And you can build a slow transition.” Most people do not have an instantaneous inspiration and say “I’m out of here.” It is usually a long, slow gradual process – talking to friends and possibly professionals, looking at many options, and beginning to be taken in a different direction. So, you might make some small changes that lead to bigger changes down the road.

Revive and Thrive Seminars

If you are interesting in taking these ideas further I can send you more information about seminars and workshops on this topic. If so, please email me at

Until next time!

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”

If you have any comments or questions about this article or would like to receive my monthly ‘Revive and Thrive’ newsletter, please email me at

Ron Tustin
Revive and Thrive Coaching
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Ph 0800 003679

Motivating baby boomers to see the world with fresh eyes.