The Four Phases of Retirement

“Everyone says you’ve got to get ready financially. No, no. You’ve got to get ready psychologically.” — Lee Iacocca

The countdown to retirement on our RV Castaways website has changed from months to days. I must be getting close to retirement now.

88 days.

Dr. Riley Moynes, a fellow Canadian, has published a book, The Four Phases of Retirement, to show me, and others approaching retirement, what to expect.

The first phase is called “Vacation Time”. Extended travel, hobbies, time with family are all hallmarks of this phase. Some retirees never get past the first phase. Perhaps those of us who intend to travel mostly full-time in their motorcoaches hold on to this phase for as long as possible.

Moynes calls the second phase the plunge into the abyss of insignificance and considers this phase to be one of the top traumas that a person will face in their lifetime.

The loss of structure, identity, relationships, purpose and a sense of power can lead to starting the third phase of retirement, the trial and error stage.

If you are to accomplish anything with what time remains, it needs to happen soon. The relevant question is how will you contribute. So, you might try a few things. And if it works out, you enter the fourth and final phase of retirement, reinvented with purpose.

Moynes was asked what percentage of retirees get stuck in the first phase of retirement. He claims that he knows only two people who have remained in the first phase and who claim to be happy there. According to a Harvard study that he cites, the unhappiest retirees had not gone on to do anything productive beyond pleasing themselves.

An interesting and perhaps controversial read. It certainly made me think about what happens next in retirement although I am really looking forward to the first phase. I expect Lorraine and I will continue to be productive contributors to our family, friends and community and I will do everything I can to avoid spending much, if any time, in phase two. Plunging into the abyss of insignificance does not sound like much fun!

You can learn more about the four phases at Moynes’ website here: www.thefourphases.com.

Fantasy RV Tours

Maximize your RV experience, minimize headaches.

Such is the promise of Fantasy RV Tours:

It continues to be our mission to guide RVers to new places, reveal authentic cultures and offer a value unlike any other travel company. We understand the importance of cherished memories and bonding relationships, and we have included that spark of passion as an ingredient in all that we do.

It’s my sincere hope that the destinations featured on here impassion you to join us. You will see and enjoy more than you ever imagined – sharing an experience and a journey with friends you have yet to meet.

I still remember the time we spent with Chris, one of the Travel Ambassadors for the company. I posted about our time together here. It was our second visit to the RV show in Hershey, Pennsylvania and it was our first year with our new coach. We had taken delivery of our coach in June of 2016. Our trip out to Pennsylvania  in September of 2016 was one of several road trips that we took with our coach that year.

It seems so long ago now.

Chris was very passionate about the RV lifestyle and very passionate about Fantasy RV Tours.

She had such clarity about life, about living in the moment and about pursuing your dreams. She told me to get out there before it gets too late.

And here I am.

Still working.

Coach in storage.

Waiting.

I have about 7 months left before career ends and retirement begins. Work has not really changed in any meaningful way for me. It is still very much a high demand, high stress role and I suspect it will remain that way until I finish up late July.

Rather than being frustrated with working another 7 months or so because, believe me, I would much rather be out there right now. Especially as the cold weather descends.

No, I am choosing gratitude. To be thankful for my lovely wife and my wonderful family. To be thankful for the company that I work for as the company has allowed me to provide well for my family and the company has helped me achieve financial independence. To be thankful for the moment. Healthy. Engaged in life. Living in a wonderful country. With great friends.

For many of my American friends, they have been celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. Although the dates differ between Canada and the U.S. — Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in early October — staying focused on gratitude keeps the challenges of life in perspective.

We will be out there soon, Chris.

Soon.

10 Qs

Tanja and Mark decided to retire early. Much, much earlier than me. They decided to retire in their late 30s, early 40s.

Their website, Our Next Life, outlines how they approached their goal. And it looks like they have been successful.

They posted a great article on 10 critical questions to answer before you make the leap to early retirement.

I think most of these questions are relevant regardless of whether you are retiring at age 40 or, in my case, age 61.

I took a bit of a stab at answering the questions. Some I will have to spend a bit more time thinking about before I retire in the next few months.

Q1. How will you support yourself without a job?

In our case, we are well prepared. I have defined benefit pensions, investment accounts and government pensions that should allow us to live very well in our retirement years.

Q2. What is your backup plan for dealing with financial emergencies or hardship?

In our financial plan I have a cash buffer to cover one year of expenses. We have two topped up TFSA accounts which we can use in a pinch. There is enough in there to last us several years. We have a contingency of about 40 percent of our annual retirement income in uncommitted spend in our retirement budget. So no real worries here.

Q3. How will you get health care?

As Canadians, we do have a pretty good health care system. I also have good retirement benefits program from my employer and we will have additional travel insurance for when we head south for the winters.

Q4. How will you keep your body and mind healthy?

I’ll keep riding. Cycling does a lot to keep a body healthy. And I will do more strength and flexibility work in retirement. Lorraine and I plan to be active in terms of walking, hiking and touring. For as long as we can.

Q5. What are you retiring to?

This is the one area where we will have to make sure we put enough structure into our lives. Yes, we will be doing a lot of travel in our coach. But it is important to revisit goals and to make sure that we are keeping very engaged in life.

Q6. What will your living situation be?

We downsized our house but did not buy another property. At least not yet. Our plan is to travel in our coach for the winter and rent during the summer months in Canada. If we get to that point where we want a permanent spot in Canada, we will have lots of time and sufficient financial resources to do so.

Q7. What do you want a day in retirement to look like?

Not sure. I’ll have to give that some more thought.

Q8. What will your social circles and interactions be like?

When traveling in our motorcoach, I have absolutely no worries. We have made so many friends in our travels to date. Our time in Canada may be a bit more of a challenge depending on where we land. Generally though, our involvement in church life provides a lot of social interactions.

Q9. How will you and your partner stay one the same page about money and goals?

We talk about this part of our life constantly. We are ready and anxious to get started. I suppose the real question is what happens after the retirement date has been reached which leads to the final question.

Q10. How will you define yourself and derive self worth post-career?

I see this question a lot and I guess I’m just not that worried about it. I have always had so many interests outside of work that I suspect I may fall into the trap of becoming too busy with too many interests. We’ll see. Lorraine has always had a better perspective on what is important about life. She has not been in the career track and she has never defined herself by a job.

All in all, a good set of questions and certainly relevant to our stage of life.

Not sure that I would have been ready to retire in my early 40s like Tanja and Mark.

I know that I am ready to retire now.

RV Success School

I’ve followed Marc and Julie’s blog since they started their website and I have also followed them on their YouTube channel.

They seem like a very nice couple, the kind of folks I would love to meet on the road.

On their about page, they make the following statement:

We’re here to dispel a big myth. There’s a myth that the RV life is only for retired folks, but that’s simply not true. Not anymore. These days, RVing is for couples, singles and families. RVing is for anyone who has ever dreamed about seeing the country (or world) up close, from one end to the other, one mile at a time.

Which led them, after a few years, to create the RV Success School.

I understand their situation. They love the RV lifestyle and they are not retired. Although it is possible to work remotely while traveling, I’m sure it comes with its own set of challenges. And certainly, it led Marc to finally quit his job after a few years of working while on the road.

There are many people attempting to monetize their websites and their YouTube channels. In a way, it is a spin on the book business: create good content, bring in a pool of followers and then try and sell a smaller number of followers on a subset of content.

It can’t be easy to sell an online education program with so much free content on the web. I wish them well.

For most of us, we have a season of life where we spend our days providing for our families and setting some money aside for the future. A time arrives where it is obvious that there may be other dreams to follow. Retirement is usually when dreams like traveling full-time in an RV can be realized.

Some chase their dreams early.

But it is never free.

The Retirement Puzzle: Will We Be Healthy?

I had a few lingering questions after I made the decision to retire in July of 2018. I posted about whether we will have enough money in retirement here and whether we will be happy in retirement here.

The last lingering question is whether we will be healthy in retirement.

And healthy must include the following factors: physical, emotional and spiritual.

What you see pictured above is a Wahoo Kickr Snap. I use it in my pain cave which I describe in this video:

A pain cave is where a person goes to suffer. On a bike. Using online training apps from places like the Sufferfest and Zwift.

This is how I choose to maintain my physical fitness. And it really does not matter what form of physical activity. Being healthy, particularly as we age, is all about movement. Keep moving. Walking. Running. Cycling. Skating. Whatever inspires you to keep moving.

Although not as convenient in a motorhome, I will be setting up a similar pain cave for my regular workouts. Hopefully, we will be in good weather most of the time and I will be able to ride outside.

To be healthy from a physical perspective means regular exercise and good nutrition. Both are completely under our control. The onset of a critical illness is often outside our control.

My life expectancy is 81 years. And, if I make it past age 65, I have better than 50% chance of making it to 80.

The best strategy is to keep as active as possible right up until the very end. And retirement provides all sorts of opportunities to keep active.

The emotional side is my development opportunity. Ensuring that I have a purpose and mission in my retirement years will be a critical component to emotional health. As will social interactions and relationships. I am not as concerned about the latter as we have met so many wonderful people in our travels with our motorcoach.

Lorraine and I enjoy a strong faith and we will continue to develop ourselves in our retirement years.

What I am learning for this part of retirement?

  • Keep physically and mentally active
  • Stay connected with family, friends and community
  • Keep eating a healthy diet
  • Volunteer to help maintain health and social contacts
  • Set new goals and maintain a sense of purpose
  • Plan for the weeks and months ahead to give yourself targets and things to look forward to