By Michael Drak
How did the Victory Lap concept originate? I smile every time I think about the fact that Jonathan and I have written a retirement book about not retiring. I know it’s weird, but weird seems to work in today’s world …
It all started about five years ago: the day I woke up and realized I didn’t want to do my corporate job anymore. Thinking like this was strange for me because I had always liked my job. I was good at it and it paid well, providing security and a good living for my family.
But truth be told, over the last few years the job was starting to have a negative effect both on my health and on my personal well-being. The stress of performing at a high level year in and year out was getting to me. I was reminded of this every morning, when I took my blood pressure medication.
For a long time I hadn’t been taking proper care of myself. I wasn’t in a good spot mentally or physically and was out of balance. I had been so caught up in the competitions, titles, and salary increases along the way in my career that I had lost track of who I was in the process.
Material success doesn’t guarantee happiness
I had bought into the idea that material success would eventually bring me happiness, but believe me on this, it doesn’t! I really didn’t know what would make me happy, I just knew that I didn’t like how I felt anymore. I used to laugh a lot more and I didn’t understand why that had stopped. I yearned to get rid of that nagging feeling and the sense that something needed to change. I had to slow down the pace of life and get out of the rat race.
But what was I going to do? Was retiring my only alternative? And if I did retire, to what would I be retiring? I had no idea, but I knew in my heart that a full-stop retirement just wasn’t in the cards for me: I get bored easily and the thought of possibly spending more years in retirement, with nothing to do, than I had spent in my working life scared me a little—no, make that a lot. I didn’t want my story to be, “He went to school, married, worked for a company for thirty-plus years while raising a family, then retired.” I had worked and sacrificed too much over the years to have it all end abruptly like that. My corporate job had served its purpose, but I wasn’t done yet and I knew my best days were still ahead. I wanted more — much more — out of life.
In my search for answers I visited the local library and read every retirement book I could get my hands on. Most of them were limited to the financial aspects of retirement. But then I was lucky to get my hands on a copy of Ernie Zelinski’s book How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom that You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor.
Zelinski’s book sparked it
By Mike Drak
Friday July 29th will be a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. After thirty-eight years, I finally packed in my banking career. I suppose my co-author Jonathan would call this my Findependence Day!
To be honest, it will take some getting used to as my banking job played an important role in my life. It provided financial security for my family and gave me a good reason to get out of bed most mornings.
My career, like most careers, had its good and bad points. Overall though, it was a good ride and one that I will miss to some degree, but I had to leave in order to publish Victory Lap Retirement and create my blog.
Banks really don’t like it when employees write books or blogs because it might not align with the story that they are trying to convey. Banks get nervous when employees stand out and don’t fit in, when employees invent something that is outside the approved message.
Banks are very protective of their brand. They want the customer experience to be the same in every branch across the country. They want every employee to talk, walk and act the same. They desire a high degree of predictable sameness, as it’s easier to control.
Why banks still sell the old version of Retirement
This is not a bad thing at first blush, but it tends to stifle individual creativity, which is costly long term both to the bank and its customers. The danger is that you end up being like every other bank selling the same story and nothing much happens out of the ordinary. Maybe this is why the banks continue to sell the old version of retirement, as it’s easier to sell to the masses. Marketing to the few is not very cost efficient.
By Kollin Lore
We are edging nearer to 2031, the year when all Baby Boomers will be age 65 and above, and most will at least be contemplating some form of Retirement or Semi-Retirement.
It will also be a time when the millennials will have pretty much all grown up and taken over the workforce.
Next month Jonathan Chevreau and Mike Drak’s Victory Lap Retirement will be published, a perfect time considering the age we are headed towards. However, though the book concerns the older generation, there is much to learn for millennials too.
Earlier in July, Chevreau discussed his upcoming book on Digital Citizen’s ThatChannel with creative director, Norman Evans, Laura Tyson, and host, Hugh Reilly. Click on the highlighted link to access the YouTube video: Get Ready to Earn Your “Playcheque.”
“The Boomers have reinvented every stage in life they have gone through,” said Chevreau. “Now they are going to reinvent retirement, by starting with the word ‘retirement’ because they are not ready to stop … That’s why Mike and I created the phrase Victory Lap.”
This titular ‘Victory Lap’ concerns finding that balance between stress and boredom following retirement. It means staying active and can include anything from travelling the world, to part time jobs, to volunteering to more time with family.
Of the many activities in which to partake during the Victory Lap, volunteering is an especially valuable past time to consider. Read more
By Akaisha Kaderli, RetireEarlyLifestyle.com
The other day I read an article about women and retirement. In this piece, the number one premise for motivation was that we should be afraid. Very afraid. It said that for the most part, men did the planning for retirement and that we as women rely on them blindly.
I dislike reading articles such as this, first, because it is fear-based but second, it doesn’t take into consideration the talents women contribute to the mix of partnership and planning. While it might be true that men are “wired to provide for the household,” women have moved into professions which pay grandly. Many marriages today are a different blend of partnership than what our own parents or grandparents enjoyed. Along with their jobs, many women still run the household, so why not get involved in retirement planning in a proactive manner?
Retirement is a boring word
The word “retirement” conjures up images of old people on pensions or perhaps pictures of those who no longer contribute powerfully to society with their expertise and knowledge. I prefer the description “financially independent” for the freedom, influence and self-reliance it implies.
One can choose financial independence at any stage of life and it’s an exciting and worthy goal. The younger a person begins on this path, the more you have in your favor.
Women, listen up
How much money do you really need to retire? On sister site Financial Independence Hub today, we ran a guest blog by Boomer & Echo’s Marie Engen on this topic, something I also mentioned in a talk last week at Durham LifeLong Learning.
Here’s the link to Marie’s blog at the Hub.
I also referred extensively to this blog in a piece at Money.ca, although I couldn’t locate the actual link. As I said in the piece, when determining how much you need to retire, it all depends on your lifestyle expectations. The short answer is that a Canadian with very modest needs can get by without saving a penny. The catch is you’ll have to wait till age 65, at which quite generous Government pensions like Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) kick in.
The bad news is that if you have expensive tastes and have no employer pension, you’ll need to be a millionaire, or even a multi-millionaire to retire with the kind of lifestyle you enjoyed when working.
Those who have toiled at one or two employers with Defined Benefit pension plans can enjoy a more lavish middle-class lifestyle strictly on those pensions, CPP and perhaps some OAS. Again, if you don’t want to travel in luxury or eat out in expensive restaurants, you may not need to save much extra, although of course the more you sock away in an RRSP and ideally a TFSA, the better.
If you’re reading this, odds are you’re still working, have expectations for a more lavish retirement lifestyle and perhaps are not fortunate enough to have a DB pension, or switched jobs too often for a single one to really “take.” If you earned a decent salary along the way hopefully you maxed out your RRSP throughout, as well as your T Read more