By Megan Giles, Retirement Transition Consultant. First published by Adelady (link: www.adelady.com)
Your mother is an amazing woman. When you were little she had the answers to everything – there was no one in the world who could possibly know as much as her. Perhaps only your dad… Have you noticed though, that as you’ve become older, the roles have gradually started to reverse. Sometimes you know a little bit more than her, or when it comes to technology you might know a lot more!
So what do you do when your mum starts talking about retirement, a stage in life which for many appears to be unchartered territory. There might be a little anxiousness as she starts asking herself, ‘What should retirement look like’, what I am supposed to do’?
For many people they have saved and invested well and plan an exciting overseas holiday to kick off their retirement, but don’t necessarily ask the question, ‘So then what…?’ What happens after you return, unpack the suitcases and souvenirs, and share some photos? What fills your time and enables you to continue to lead a meaningful life?
How can you help your mum to navigate the transition successfully?
Here are five ways that you can support the amazing lady in your life (your mum) as she steps into retirement:
1. Encourage her to seek good financial advice
- Well-informed and robust financial planning is critical to having the best chance of achieving financial security and a lifestyle one chooses in the years ahead.
- Seeing a financial planner is particularly important if your mum is not clear on her financial situation or is concerned about it. This will help to give her peace of mind and/or take focused steps to make the changes required.
2. Talk to her about her dreams and encourage her to take action on them
- Your mum has likely spent the past 20 years plus putting the needs of others first. Talk to her about the things that she loves to do and the things that she used to love doing.
- Common worries when starting a new activity or class are – ‘Am I too old to be trying something new’, ‘How will I know what to do in the class’, ‘What if I can’t keep up’. Help her to take the first step and sign up because sometimes we all need a little prodding.
3. Encourage communication between your parents (or your mum and her partner)
- It’s something we’re all guilty of, we ‘nag’ our partner at times when what we really mean is ‘I’m scared or anxious right now and I need some more support from you’. Encourage your mum to have a conversation with her partner about how they’d like to spend time in retirement and what they need from each other to ensure their plans and goals are aligned.
- I have spoken with women who retire and shortly after they want to re-enter the workforce because spending so much time around their partner drives them crazy. Maintaining a sense of independence is vital – get your parents to talk about the things that are important they do together as well as separately.
- This may only seem like a small thing but it can make a huge difference – encourage them to re-negotiate the household responsibilities. Just as working arrangements change, so should ‘who does what’ around the home to ensure no-one feels they carry an unfair burden.
4. Celebrate life thus far and the amazing things your mum has achieved
- Stepping into retirement is a huge change regardless of whether the person is excited or daunted so take the time to reflect on what your mum has achieved during her career and life more broadly. Ask her what milestones or achievements she is most proud of. You never know – one of them might be you!
- This is often a great confidence boost and can provide your mum with a positive foundation on which to consider options and build plans for future
5. Be patient and be supportive
- Just as you have likely weaved in and out of different jobs and industries, your mum will take some time to find her groove and figure out how she enjoys spending her time and what gives her a sense of satisfaction.
- Help her with technology. Staying connected and relevant is something that is really important to many women in retirement and so even if she’s never going to regularly use snapchat or perhaps will only ever follow Neil Diamond and the Beatles on Twitter (do I know someone like this??), create an account and give her a demo so she knows what all of the fuss is about and can be a part of the conversation.
And just remember – this might be you one day!
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like to read Being your own person in retirement and What should retirement look like for women over 60.
In planning for a holiday we always think “we need to go there” and “we should see that” but when Day One of our holiday arrives, we draw a blank…What were all of those things we were going to enjoy? In the busyness of life they’ve slipped our mind.
Don’t let this happen to your retirement. Download the My Retirement Planner and start capturing those ideas and inspiration so that you’re ready to step into retirement with gusto!