Retirement Coaching – The Interview

By Ford R. Myers
President, Career Potential, LLC

Ford was recently invited to be a guest on Bill Borton’s television program, “Live Better Longer.” Below is the transcript of that interview. To view the video, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYHH4SOux5M&t=1s

What’s the big picture?

Ford, you’re a well-established Career Coach, and now you’ve also become a Certified Retirement Coach. What got you interested in Retirement Coaching and why have you committed yourself to this path?  

Over the past few years, our career coaching business has been attracting a growing percentage of clients who want to talk about retirement planning – not just career planning. I have wondered why this is. Is it because people are becoming more aware, educated and savvy about the subject of retirement in general? Is it because my colleagues and I are getting older; so we are naturally drawing an older client demographic? Is it because some people simply have more options to consider, with the stock market (and some investment portfolios) reaching record highs? Or is it because I have been pondering the next phase of my own life; and as the saying goes, “we attract what we think about?” I honestly don’t know the answer, but intuitively, I suspect that it’s a combination of these and other factors. The way I see it, retirement is simply the next stage of professional development – it is a natural evolution of career planning.

In today’s world, the choices retirees have are more complex, and people often need help navigating through this transition and into a new phase of their lives. Ideally, retirement shouldn’t be an “ending.” It should be a new beginning, and an exciting chance to achieve one’s full potential. Retirement really can be vital time for fulfillment, self-expression and personal growth.

I can understand the personal or business factors that sparked your interest in Retirement Coaching. But were there also external forces that led you to this niche at this particular time?

First of all, I think it’s just common sense that there is a need for Retirement Coaching. There has always been financial advice available to people headed into retirement, but Retirement Coaching focuses on everything EXCEPT the financial side of things.

In addition, the demographics of the US have been steadily changing. We are an aging society – what some have called “The Graying of America.” Over the next 10 years, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach 65 years of age every day, and most of them will be heading into retirement. While some are struggling financially, the strong stock market has enabled more and more people to retire with a decent-sized nest-egg. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there is a severe lack of awareness – even among fairly educated, sophisticated people – regarding HOW to best retire. The only question most people ever ask is “do I have enough money now to retire?” This is certainly an important concern, but there are so many other important factors to consider when one is facing retirement, including:

  • replacement of work identity
  • health and wellness
  • passions and interests
  • family connections
  • lifestyle and relocation
  • relationships and community
  • leisure and social activities
  • personal development
  • spiritual practice
  • purpose and meaning
  • and more!

These are just some of the factors that Retirement Coaching focuses on. Unless these criteria are carefully considered, and unless extensive planning is done, many retirees will be sorely disappointed and dissatisfied in their retirement years.

There is another major shift in American demographics – which is that people are living much longer than they used to; and much longer in retirement. This is obviously due to advancements in medicine and technology, as well as healthier lifestyles and better awareness about wellness. In past generations, the concept of retirement either didn’t exist or it was an experience that might just last a few years until the individual passed away. But the new reality is that people are commonly living in retirement for 20, 25, even 30 years or more! In other words, it’s a whole new phase of life – just as youth or career represented long phases of one’s life. It is no longer appropriate to view retirement as a one-time event; it is better seen as an evolutionary process.

So, how do people want to approach retirement? Are they going to suddenly “stop everything” and hope that they can fill their time for the next several decades? Or are they going to approach this next phase of their lives with a lot of forethought and planning? Are they going to retire FROM something, or will they retire TO something? Are they just going to “go through the motions” year after year, or are they going to create a life of meaning, purpose and fulfillment?

At the very minimum, everyone must answer these fundamental questions:

  • What will my retirement purpose or mission be?
  • How will I experience meaning in the retirement phase of my life?
  • Who do I want to be in retirement?

As you can see, these types of retirement-related questions have become extremely important, and Retirement Coaching is an idea whose time has come!

What are people doing about it?

With so much to think about when retiring, what are people doing about this? How are they actually approaching retirement these days?

When I meet with clients who are starting to think about retirement, they usually don’t know what questions to ask. They’re naïve and unaware because this simply has not been a part of our national conversation or culture until now. But once I talk with these folks for a while, they start to “get it.” Their minds open-up to a whole range of new questions and considerations. At first, these clients might feel a bit overwhelmed – but then they start getting excited about the possibilities. It doesn’t take long for a new vision of retirement to start forming in their minds. So, Retirement Coaching is one thing people are doing about this.

Even for those who never engage a Retirement Coach, I believe that the Retirement Coaching world is still having a positive impact. With all the articles and books, research studies, webinars and seminars on retirement – the national conversation has shifted, and people everywhere are starting to become more aware and sophisticated on the subject. Before, they didn’t even know where to begin. At least, now, most people have a basic concept of what’s involved in creating a great retirement.

I think people should start as early as possible, and plan their retirement with all the creativity, energy and optimism that they can.

Besides Retirement Coaching, what other resources can prospective retirees take advantage of?

Well, of course, everyone is familiar with AARP (the American Association of Retired Persons). Since the 1950s, they have provided a broad range of valuable services. We all know that the world of “old age homes” has transformed dramatically in recent years. There are now multiple housing  and lifestyle options to choose from – including 55+ active communities, CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Communities), Adult Day Care Centers, assisted living centers, co-housing communities, Retirement Villages (such as Beacon Hill Village in Boston), and more.

Since retirees make-up a growing segment of the population, companies and social agencies have expanded to offer a wide range of products and services to serve the retirement market – including shopping, travel, entertainment, transportation and of course – healthcare!

On the financial side, there are many investment and insurance vehicles available to retirees now that didn’t exist years ago. For example, a niche has developed in the financial advisory field which focuses specifically on Retirement Income and Cash-Flow Planning. There are also retirement date mutual funds and deferred annuities, of course.

As a Retirement Coach, one of my jobs is to be an information source to my clients. I am able to refer them to some of the best resources and professionals to meet their retirement planning needs.

Why you? What’s your process?

Ford, let me ask a direct question. Why you? What makes you the most qualified person to do Retirement Coaching? Why would someone choose you as their Retirement Coach as compared to somebody else?

Well, I’ve been a professional coach for more than 25 years now. I held senior consulting roles at three of the largest career service firms in the world before establishing my own business in 2002. I have taken the same coaching skills and applied them readily to Retirement Coaching. I’ve also taken this subject very seriously. I have read scores of books on retirement and have done my research. I completed the premier Retirement Coaching Training and Certification Program. I’ve already published a few articles on this too.

For decades, my work has focused on Career Coaching and Executive Coaching. Now, with the addition of Retirement Coaching, I am excited to provide what I’m calling “Full Lifecycle Coaching” – which represents three disciplines. In Career Coaching, we’re focused on DIRECTION. In Executive Coaching, we’re focused on PERFORMANCE. And in Retirement Coaching, we’re focused on LEGACY. That’s what I mean by “Full Lifecycle Coaching.”

Again, I see retirement as the next stage of personal and professional development. It’s a natural progression of the client’s life and it’s also the next logical step in my coaching business! As a coach, speaker and author, I am passionate about spreading the word about how coaching helps people – and I’m most excited about these new Retirement Coaching services.

Can you describe the Retirement Coaching program – how it works and how it’s structured? What would a client’s experience actually be like in Retirement Coaching?

Sure, I’m happy to describe the program. Retirement Coaching sessions are conducted either in person or virtually (via video chat), as I work effectively with clients across the US and Canada. Each meeting includes intensive dialogue and coaching, and there are exercises assigned between each session. It’s a cumulative process, with each session building upon the last. There is measurable progress in every conversation, always building on the client’s retirement vision and bringing it into reality. 

  • Phase 1. Assessment and Discovery. Phase one includes the initial “intake,” consultation and overview. We do several assessments and interpret the reports with a focus on making the results practical and tangible. Then we explore actual retirement options and ideas, to get the client pointed in the right direction.
  • Phase 2. Planning and Initial Steps. We delve deeper into the retirement coaching process with powerful questions and intensive exercises, supported by consistent planning and structure. By the end of Phase two, the client has a clear vision for his or her retirement and starts taking action.
  • Phase 3. Support and Accountability. This phase provides on-going retirement coaching as the client expands and refines his or her retirement plan. With the coach serving as a vital “sounding board,” we adjust and adapt as needed, to stay on course and produce optimal retirement results.

For clients whose retirement is imminent, the new plan can be implemented immediately. For those who are targeting a future retirement date, everything that is developed in the Retirement Coaching Program can be retained and applied whenever the client is ready.

To receive my “Retirement Readiness Workbook” and a list of the best books on retirement planning, send an e-mail to contact@careerpotential.com with the subject line “Retirement Workbook.”

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, television and radio networks. He has also conducted presentations at many companies, associations and universities. Learn more at www.CareerPotential.com or contact Ford directly at 1-800-972-6588.

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