Getting Your Confidence Back

I rarely get this question when I give my Victory Lap presentations, but I know it is top of mind for many in the audience and I suspect for many of you reading. I know many of the people I speak with did not really want to stop working. Many have worked at the same career for years and now they are scared/uncertain about the future. The question they want to ask, which I will ask for them is: “Am I good enough to get hired again?”

 

Continue reading “Getting Your Confidence Back”

Every Picture Tells a Story

 

 

 

Another RRSP season is now behind us and I don’t know if it’s just me but this one seemed more low key than usual. Maybe Mr. Trump was hogging all the airwaves this time around?

What concerns me is that the advertisers continue to sell us a version of retirement that doesn’t reflect the current reality for many people. The images of the carefree happy couple sitting on a beach while sipping on a strawberry daiquiri, or the couple sailing on a yacht, smiling with the sun shining and the wind blowing through their hair.           Continue reading “Every Picture Tells a Story”

A Victory Lap Lifestyle – Profile #1

I enjoy learning about and sharing stories of real people doing interesting things. These stories serve to remind me what’s possible when you live intentionally and make healthful lifestyle choices. We can learn from these people and use them as inspiration, if they can do it, there is no reason why we can’t do it too!

Here Is A Story About Carol And George

Continue reading “A Victory Lap Lifestyle – Profile #1”

In Pursuit Of Boomer Happiness

I was at my local Indigo bookstore this past weekend and look at who happened to stop by.

I’m really starting to believe in this karma thing as more and more chance encounters like this are happening to me since writing the book.

Through this chance meeting I had the chance to talk to Heather about Victory Lap Retirement and my concern that we had miscategorized the book by putting it into the personal finance/retirement section.  Heather was kind enough to share her thoughts and now I’m convinced that our book should be in the self improvement section.

Victory Lap Retirement is really not a book about retirement, in fact we make a strong case about the benefits of not retiring in the traditional sense.  It really is a book about lifestyle design with the goal of helping people create their own low stress healthy fulfilling lifestyle, one based on their own unique needs and wants. We know that through proper planning and intentional living, we can substantially improve the quality of our remaining years which is not a bad way to go out when you think about it.

Stress is the main risk in our eyes and prolonged exposure to stress can really mess a person up and in some cases actually kill them. I don’t know if it’s just me but I’m seeing more evidence of this each and every day, examples seems to be everywhere. Is it just me or are you seeing it as well?

We discussed the role of stress in a recent blog post called “The Big Dip”.

We have amended the original chart to now include a line representing a person’s level of happiness while travelling through the big dip. What stands out is that there is a strong negative correlation between stress and a person’s happiness. In simple terms, if your stress level is high chances are your happiness level will be low.  What is also interesting is that stress levels do not reduce as expected as a person ages.

This flies in the face of past research that talked about a happiness “U” curve where a person experienced increasing happiness until around age 30, with happiness dipping into their 30s and 40s and then climbing back up after reaching their fifties.

This theory used to work back when life was more predictable. When you could work for one company for most of your working life (like I did). When some of us had benefit of a defined pension plan. When your kids could get a good job and finally leave home. When you had a reasonable chance to save for a good retirement and when life expectancy rates were lower. But the world has changed and the U-curve theory no longer works and has been replaced by the Big Dip. This is the reason why you see so many books dealing with the subject of happiness at the front of your local bookstore. Think I’m kidding? Go have a look for yourself.

Today even as we age new stressors are around all the time. The top three stressors facing retirees are concerns over their health, the possibility of running out of money in retirement, and a lack of purpose or as we like to refer to it as ‘having a good reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

The good news is that we have found ways to successfully reduce stress levels and even more good news is that happiness will fill the vacuum stress leaves behind. You can’t chase happiness, happiness will find you but you need to make room for it.

So in summary the book is not a personal finance/retirement book at all. It is a self improvement book showing people how they can reduce the stress in their lives with the goal of creating a happy, healthy fulfilling lifestyle for themselves. Jonathan and I serve as the role models. We have made the transition and if we can do it there is no reason why others can’t do it as well.

Now I just need to figure out how to get the book into the self-improvement section at the bookstore.

 

Mike

Back At The Pool Again

Last night I finally got back in the pool again. It’s been about three years since I last swam at my community pool and it was quite a struggle just to get there. My original plan was to begin swimming in early January, but I caught a terrible cold followed by a dry cough that just didn’t want to go away, which ultimately delayed my return.

I was away from swimming for a long time because I got caught up writing my book Victory Lap Retirement. I’ve always had the bad habit of going “all-in” on a new endeavor. It consumed me, which is not a very good thing, and there are consequences to living like that. More importantly my wife the Contessa didn’t take it very well. Something about getting up every morning at 4:30 to write and then falling asleep on the couch around 9:00 every night, probably had something to do with it! Continue reading “Back At The Pool Again”

My Year End Review

Since I had never written a book before, I did what made sense to me and wrote the last chapter first. This is apparently a no-no in the writing world but I knew how I wanted my life to play out and what’s wrong with writing a story with a happy ending for yourself. Makes sense to me!

My Own Victory Lap 

Our book Victory Lap Retirement is all about designing your lifestyle. My overriding goal, in writing the book, was to help me design a fulfilling low stress lifestyle that would deliver maximum happiness over the next ten years. Instead of looking forward I now live with a sense of urgency. It’s all about living happy now, not delaying it to some point down the road. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not spending money like a drunken sailor, I still have to justify the investment to myself. Let’s just say I’m no longer concerned with saving money anymore.  Continue reading “My Year End Review”

No One Told Me It Would Be Like This

There is something very wrong with the work world today. It is far too common to find employees who are tired, over-worked, stressed out, and living in fear of an uncertain future. As a result, people are eating too much, watching too much television, and complaining too much, often self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol or taking prescription medication to cope with their stress. How can it be that in North America, with two of the most prosperous societies in the world,  people are taking more medications for anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders than ever before?

Blame it on the big dip. Continue reading “No One Told Me It Would Be Like This”

Helping Boomers Create Their Own Victory Lap Retirement

I’ve been working hard on my year-end review and goal setting, which I will share with you in next week’s blog. I’m excited by what we have accomplished over the past year, but recognize that there is still a lot to do in the years ahead.

My co-writer Jonathan and I are on a major mission and that mission is made up of two parts:

  1. To convince investment advisors to adopt a more holistic approach and provide quality lifestyle planning assistance to their clients.
  2. To teach young people about financial independence, or Findependence as we like to call it, so that they can get off to a good start in life.

It’s a big job, but it’s something that we just feel the need to do.  Call it our way of giving back to the community! Today, I would like to expand on the first point a little more. Continue reading “Helping Boomers Create Their Own Victory Lap Retirement”

December’s VLR Winner

December’s VLR Winner was nominated by my co-author, Jonathan Chevreau, and I just love her story.

Meta is a real person, a neighbour of Jonathan’s and they also happen to attend the same church. She just celebrated her 100th birthday and, until she suffered a hip injury earlier this year, she was still working one or two half-days a week at a nearby printing firm. She used the proceeds from her work to finance the many trips she looked forward to taking with her friends. Wine tours around Niagara-on-the-Lake have always been a particular favourite of hers. Continue reading “December’s VLR Winner”

In Retirement, I Feel Like Scrooge On Christmas Morning

The Contessa and I both love Christmas. It’s just a special time of the year for the both us.

A tradition I always look forward to (in addition to eating a turkey meal) is watching the movie adaption of “A Christmas Carol”. There is just something about that movie that gets to me every time I watch it. I like the message it sends and it serves as an annual wake up call for me. In the movie, Scrooge is given the opportunity to review his life and the mess he has made out of it. And finally, after many years, he understands that money and possessions alone will not bring a person happiness. Continue reading “In Retirement, I Feel Like Scrooge On Christmas Morning”