Updated: Tuesday, 30 Mar 2010, 10:01 AM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 30 Mar 2010, 10:01 AM EDT
Below is a transcript of the recent 'Retirement: How to Survive and Thrive' online chat conducted March 24th on WAVY.COM.
Brooks KXAN: Hi, and welcome to our chat on retirement. We'll be starting in about 13 minutes.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Hello!
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: I am Nancy K. Schlossberg--I am fascinated with transitions and especially the retirement transition.
Brooks KXAN: Hi there, panelists!!!! Let's get started! i'd like to introduce our panel today...
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: I look forward to our conversation. nancy
Brooks KXAN: Dr. Schlossberg is an expert on retirement and aging issues. And Melissa is our moderator and work/life coach who founded Work/Life Austin.
Welcome, both of you!
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Thank you!
Brooks KXAN: I'd like to ask Melissa to kick things off today with a few thoughts on retirement - specifically, what kinds of issues it brings up for people in their lives. Then we'll ask Dr. Schlossberg to give some of her opening thoughts. THen we'll take questions.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: From the personal perspective, it's one of those things that must be planned for, but which is also best viewed as an experiment. So many things will change and ought to be thought about - identity, social interaction, how one finds meaning, marriage relationships, community connection.
Twitter ideas4retirees: Retirement Will Kill You!!!! http://bit.ly/bBUkri
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: I agree with Melissa. I see retirement as a series of transitions. Most people focus on their financial portfolios. I am concerned about their psychological portfolios. As one man said to me, "I knew I had enough money. I did not realize that I really had to find a new life, a new structure for my life."
Brooks KXAN: Occasionally I"ll publish comments with little icons next to them - those are from Twitter, and they're just showing the buzz out there about the topic.
Brooks KXAN: My friend's dad just retired after 35+ years working for the government - FAA - and right before it happened, he told us he was terrified.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Probably the people who make the transition most successfully are the ones who put some thought into it in advance. And, even with that, people ought to be patient with themselves. Frequently what looks great from the outside, turns out to be a bit different in reality.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: The person who twittered, "Retirement will kill you." raises an interesting point. Retirement will kill you if it means doing nothing. But if it is seen as a transition which presents opportunities to follow different paths, then it is an energizer--not a killer.
Brooks KXAN: Now he's complaining that his wife is talking back to him after all these years :) I figure it's because he's aroudn the house all the time. She retired a while back, and is loving it.
[Comment From Young momYoung mom: ] I am in my early 30s and am definitely worried about having enough retirement - already. Dr. Schlossberg, what is the estimated amount a person retiring in approx. 30 years should have saved to retire 'comfortably'?
Twitter Annuity_Settle: Saving For Retirement: Make the Maximum Contribution to Your Retirement Plan & Retire Secure http://is.gd/aWKEd
Are you ready for retirement?
( 17% )
( 33% )
Not even close
( 50% )
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: I cannot answer your question about money. I am a counseling psychologist and not a financial expert. It is important to discuss this with a financial person. I found that it takes more than you think.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Fear is not uncommon, and for many good reasons.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: I would like to share the various paths I found that people follow:
There is the Continuer--keep doing what you did but modify it;
There is the Adventurer--doing something entirely different;
There is the Searcher--looking for his/her nitche;
There is the Easy Glider--taking each day as it comes;
There is the Involved Spectator
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] I was forced into retirement at an early age and had to figure out how to survive off of my SSI check which was a big difference from my pay check. . .how do I plan for the future?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Young Mom - what you need for retirement depends on things like your standard of living, the cost of living, etc. There's not a one-size fits all answer. It is best to do some financial planning with a professional to get a handle on what you might need.
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] I think the toughest adustent for me was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my time. I became very depressed.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Early retiree-- forced into a transition is never easy. It makes us feel out of control. But if you can see it as an opportunity to pursue new paths, it will be easier. nancy
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: early retiree - is work an option or not?
Brooks KXAN: Young mom - i'm looking up some resources for you right now ..
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Have you ready any books on retirement planning?
When will you retire?
In the next 5 to 10 years
( 33% )
In the next 20 years
( 50% )
I was supposed to retire a long time ago
( 0% )
No plans to retire.
( 17% )
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] Work at this time is not an option because doing 40 hours a week was making me sick. I was in the hospital a lot and I was involuntarily terminated.
Brooks KXAN: Nancy has actually written some books on the subject of retirement transitions - i'll add links here in a second while she discusses what they're about.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: I think there are some good resources for you, and one is to visit your community college or university. Most have career centers and can help with some career counseling.
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] I have chosen to do advocacy work. It helps my mental health a lot and it gets me out of the house. With this type of work, I can go when my body says I can and not go when it does not want to go.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Early Retiree -- Work was making you sick? Would all forms of work be likely to do that given your health situation, or was it specific to your field? I understand what you're saying - that it's not an option right now. But, just wondering....
Brooks KXAN: Revitalizing Retirement, 2009
Brooks KXAN: Here's an About.com resource guide for financial retirement planning
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Ok, I would be happy to mention my books. Let me first explain how I happened to write books on retirement. I wrote books on transitions in general. Then I retired and found I was having difficulty adjusting. So then I started interviewing people and ended up writing two books on retirement. You can check them out on my web, www.transitionsthroughlife.com
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Early Retiree - advocacy work/volunteer work are great things to do. Not only does it give you some purpose, it provides structure, social interaction, and probably helps you stay current.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Melissa is correct. Your Psychological Portfolio includes your Identity, your Relationships, and your Purpose. Those need to be strengthened.
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] Melissa, I think it was the demand. I have a dual diagnosis. . .sickle cell (ss) and multiple sclerosis. I also fight with depression. I hope to work again in the future but right now, I have to work on getting back to "healthy". . .
[Comment From BellaBella: ] Hi all, I could really use some help with retirement advice.
[Comment From Retird GovtRetird Govt: ] We sold our where we lived and put it in savings. It is enough to cover our house we purchased a few yrs ago in Tx. Should we use that money to pay our house we now live in retirement.
Brooks KXAN: Just to be clear, our experts today are more on the transitions than on financial, but we ahve researchers here at KXAn whoa re helping you find some great resources for that.
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] Dr. Schlossberg, I will check out your books. Thanks for the advice.
Twitter davidwsumner: RT @SFANART “THERE’S NO RETIREMENT FOR AN ARTIST, IT’S YOUR WAY OF LIVING SO THERE’S NO END TO IT.” - Henry Moore
Twitter podsender: Tap Retirement Funds To Buy A Home?:- http://u.nu/3skv7
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Early Retiree - then I'd say you are likely on a good track. Staying engaged in the world without getting overwhelmed is the balance you seek at this point. If you don't feel you've got it right, then pay attention to what feels askew for you and brainstorm for yourself about what you can do about it.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: You make an excellent point. If your work is your life--you are a writer or an artist--there is no retirement.
Brooks KXAN: Reitrd Govt - here's a source for you on that.. Linked above.
[Comment From rick garciarick garcia: ] have you heard of a government plan called "Guaranteed Retirement Account" or Universal 401k?
[Comment From BellaBella: ] Oh, okay, thanks for letting me know! But I will have some trouble definitely with the transition. I'm a hard-working mom with a full-time job.
Brooks KXAN: Then stay with us, Bella!!! We've got a couple of experts right here.
Brooks KXAN: Rick - checking on that for ya...
Brooks KXAN: Experts? Have you heard of anything like that?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Bella - what sort of things are you grappling with?
[Comment From BellaBella: ] Thanks, Brooks. This chat should definitely help me figure things out!
Brooks KXAN: Rick -
Here's the AARP on the subject - comparisons of both the things you're mentioning ...
It's a good chart, I'd recommend.
[Comment From BellaBella: ] Well, I'm a little worried about the transition. For example, will I have enough money? Should I stay in the house I'm in or move to a smaller apartment for one? Very confusing stuff, eh?
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: One woman told me that she used to help organizations write mission statements. She is retired and realizes she needs a mission statement for herself.
How do you view retirement?
Looking forward to it!!
( 63% )
( 13% )
Wondering if I'll ever get there.
( 25% )
Twitter onlineitalia: News: Gisele goes into "retirement" http://online-italia.com/2010/03/24/gisele-goes-into-retirement/
Brooks KXAN: (If Gisele can do it, you can!)
Brooks KXAN: <----- nerd alert - lightening things up. Carry on!
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Rick - I've heard of those concepts, but my impression is that they were policy proposals and are not current reality. Not an expert on financial aspects of retirement, though...
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Bella,
You need to meet with a financial person and also think about which path you want to pursue. Do you want to adventure and do something new? Maybe set up an internship for yourself.
Twitter marilynmilligan: Finally remembered my password! A month into retirement & I’ve forgotten lots already :-)
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: What do you mean about you have forgotten things? Can you share a little more.
Brooks KXAN: Melissa and Nancy - how would one go about writing a Mission Statement for Themselves?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Bella - yes, those questions are confusing. It's what financial advisors should be able to help you figure out.
Brooks KXAN: That comment about forgetting things is from Twitter - so i can publish her stuff, but she can't see our comments. Sorry I forgot to mention that part! :)
Brooks KXAN: They're for carrying on the conversation, more than anything.
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] Thanks Melissa. I will.
[Comment From BellaBella: ] Well, Nancy, I've always stayed on the safe side so maybe I SHOULD take an adventure; do a little something for myself. I always always always put my kiddies first, but after I retire (terrified!) I should always have time put away for something fun and adventurous!
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Brooks - great question. There's a book, called "The Path" that has a process for individuals. It has a number of exercises that lead to the creation of a mission statement.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Mission statement--What do you want to do in the next few years? What is your mission in life? One reporter told me his mission in retirement was to have an art show and to begin seeing himself as an artist. One retired government employee said his mission was to help people. Actually, I wrote about him in my first book, Retire Smart, Retire Happy. He decided (much to the shock of his friends) to become a message therapist. He had a mission to help people that way.
What is your mission?
Brooks KXAN: Nancy's author page on Amazon.com
She has some great books on this subject.
[Comment From hotman485hotman485: ] My wife and I just got divorced. We had been working on a retirement fund together for the past fifteen years and now I'm at a loss. Can anyone help me?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: A mission statement for an individual is very much like one for an organization - it's about crystallizing your core motivations and values into a motivating sentence that can help guide your actions and decisions.
Brooks KXAN: Here's an About.com resource guid on that, Hotman
Brooks KXAN: It's called Dividing Retirement Assets in Divorce. Speaks exactly to your issue.
[Comment From hotman485hotman485: ] Thanks, Brooks. I knew I could count on you.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Thanks. My interviews with many people for both Retire Smart, Retire Happy and Revitalizing Retirement, showed the resiliency and creativity of people in transition. You might feel stuck, but reading about people, looking at books like the one Melissa suggested, seeing a couch, starting a support group--all of those things can help.
Brooks KXAN: Hey! My pleasure.
[Comment From hotman485hotman485: ] Brooksy, thanks again. pleasure talking to you.
Brooks KXAN: :) Right back atcha! good luck, man.
[Comment From hotman485hotman485: ] Thanks, babe.
[Comment From imatalossimataloss: ] Retirement? S.O.S!
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: One of the most important things I found was finding your connector. One man who retired at 70 was married to a younger woman. The first day after retirement, his wife went to work, his kids went to school and there he was with his mother-in-law. He called a woman who had written columns for the local paper and said, Help. She connected him with a forest ranger where he worked for the summer. She then hired him. You never know what is around the corner.
Brooks KXAN: WHILE YOU'RE HERE - next week we'll be discussing FINANCIAL PLANNING aroudn retirement with a financial expert who can help you answer the money questions you're grappling with.
So come back next week for those. Stay here today for head-related stuff :)
Brooks KXAN: Why do you suppose people might wait until retirement to pursue those things? I mean, aside from money issues?
Or is it only money issues?
[Comment From rick garciarick garcia: ] okay thanks, just afraid with the current fiscal situation that the government might decide to take control of our retirement options. The Guaranteed Retirement Account basically forces you to participate by taking away the current incentives to save in a retirement account. Like employer matched contributions.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: I have written about the Planning conundrum. We are told to plan ahead yet people resist planning. Melissa, what are your insights on this?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Rick - last I heard those proposals being discussed was a few years ago...
Brooks KXAN: Rick, we're bringing on a financial expert next week, same time same place, to discuss money issues surroudning this> they'll be able ot answer those questions.
[Comment From imatalossimataloss: ] Retirement? S.O.S. I'm terrified!
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: What is terrifying you? Can you articulate your fears?
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] I found that even in saving for retirement, I had to use all my money to pay medicl bills. This scares me because I know I will not have a cushion when I get older.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: People do resist planning ahead, it seems because the future includes so many unknowns and unknowns create fear, and we'd rather just keep on living than pay attention to what causes us the discomfort of fear. Yet, looking ahead, questioning, and planning is the exact thing to do to reduce the fear. Some people just don't realize it. Or still want to avoid it because it can be uncomfortable (which feels hard).
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] I am terrified that I will have to depend on other people for the rest of my life and never have anything of my own. . .that is terrifying
[Comment From patpat: ] How can I find work after retiremen? I have to much time on my hands and not enough money
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Your concerns are financial and next week's program might help. Use this time to EXPLORE ways to survive in financially troubled times and ways to figure out how to do what you would love to do.
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] I try to look on the bright side and say that advocacy work is doing it for me. . .well, it is keeping me sane but I still have bils like student loans, car payment and credit card bills. . .that is terrifying!
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Early retiree - that would be terrifying. And, may not be the truth. You may be able to create other options, other realities for yourself. Focusing on these ideas will help your frame of mind and ability to create.
[Comment From Randy campbellRandy campbell: ] Looking at retiring in early 2011. What scares me is health care cost?
[Comment From hotman485hotman485: ] I'm back now, sorry.
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] Thanks Dr. Schlossberg.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Pat, One woman I know, a single mom, went to work at a grocery chain as a cashier. She plans to get into middle and top management but knew she had to start at the bottom. Sometimes you have to take "For Now Jobs" until you find something better.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Pat - think first about what sort of activities bring you satisfaction.
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] thanks Melissa. . .i need to create a mission statement for myself. I like that idea!
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: About being terrified. It is about options. If you can see the options out there, if you can be convinced that there are opportunities for you, you will be less terrified. Looking at the chapter in Revitalizing Retirement on paths, reading the book Melissa suggested on Paths--these will help you realize there is a future for you.
[Comment From patpat: ] I tried to get a cahiers job, but I am overqualified and can not get the simplest jobs.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: early retiree - a mission statement might be a good idea. Keep in mind that your current situation is temporary, not permanent. Update your mission later when you have made it through this incredibly tough patch of life.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: The woman I am talking about knew she was overqualified. But she kept going back and finally they took her to see if she would fit into their management program. It is hard to keep trying, but remember, successes fail but keep trying. You might consider writing a journal of your experiences--maybe call it "Too Qualified."
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] Thanks Melissa, I do have to focus on what is important right now. I know in my heart that with God on my side, I will be ok. I will take your advice though and stop worrying and get pass this time in my life as I hope it will only be temporary!
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: A general question--As you look around, can you identify anyone who seems to be a happy retiree?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Pat - think about how you naturally want to spend your time - is it in the garden, or fixing cars, or reading books, is it focused on a cause, or what... Then brainstorm opportunities to do more of whatever those things are. If you don't need to work for money, then look for volunteer opportunities in one or two of your favorite arenas.
Brooks KXAN: My mother-in-law. She's happy as a clam.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: What are the ingredients that make her happy?
Brooks KXAN: She likes to spend time with her grandkid and chidren, watch movies, cook great food, work in the yard, go visit her sister in law in Oklahoma.
Brooks KXAN: She and her husband go out of town a lot, actually - mor e now that he's retired, too.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Early Retiree - as I wrote to you I couldn't help but think that your current mission is recreating your health and mental well being.... managing your finances and your engagement in the world during this time are elements that will build your well being, but your current ability to solve those things is likely to be less than it will be in the future.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: She is an Easy Glider--enjoying life with no agenda. Everyone has different needs and some need to continue working, others need to try new things, others need to keep searching. Once you settle on your path -- for the time being--you will feel more comfortable with your life.
The most important thing is to identify your passion and pursue it either as a worker or volunteer.
Brooks KXAN: I spoke with someone recently who thought she was that way - an Easy Glider type - when she retired. Then foudn out differently and is now freaking out.
Is there any way to tell in advance how you're going to handle it? Clues?
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: We have not discussed identity and that is major. Many are uncomfortable when they no longer have their "tag." We so often identify ourselves by our work titles that in retirement we struggle to find our identity.
Brooks KXAN: LOl nancy great minds
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Brooks, There is no way to totally predict whether the original path you choose after retirement is the one that fits forever. People change, their needs change and they move on to something else. The one thing I think is certain--we will all be searchers at one time or another.
I have been a continuer--still writing and lecturing. But someday I will need to search for a new path in retirement.
Brooks KXAN: So ther eare Gliders, Continuers, Searchers. What else? This is interesting.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Brooks - That can be really hard. It's why I suggest that people think of the beginning year(s) of retirement as a series of small experiments. It seems many people assume they'll just be really happy having the opportunity to glide, but the reality is that they need something different out of life. It's hard for many to anticipate their own reactions while they are working full time. I kind of think it's similar to being a young adult again - a phase of life where one needs to experiment to learn what works for you.
Brooks KXAN: or, can you elaborate on what those are? (aside from gliders, which you've already talked about...)
Brooks KXAN: "a series of small experiments" i like that idea a lot.
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] You are right Dr. Schlossberg. I think that is what got me more depressed when I was terminated was that I did not have a job rather than concentrating on the good things that can come from being "retired". It is time to redefine myself.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: In addition to Easy Gliders, Continuers, Searchers, there are adventurers--doing something entirely different, involved spectators (like a news junky who used to wall the halls of congress--still involved but as a spectator) and then there are the retreaters--
Brooks KXAN: That's it!!! That's what i'll be doing! Giving tours of the Capital as a former news junkie who spent most of her career covering politics! :) And you think I'm kidding, but I might have just had a fantastic idea here. Must not forget that.
Brooks KXAN: retreaters..?
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Early retiree--It can take time to redefine yourself. So give yourself time; try different things. I did it with cards--what would I put on a card and how would that change each 6 months.
Brooks KXAN: Why do you suppose so many people redefine themselves AFTER retirement?
Brooks KXAN: Is it money related? I asked this earlier but not sure i caught the answer.
For the rest of you, we have 8 minutes left in this fascinating chat!
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Retreaters are those who are depressed and cannot get moving. Sometimes it is healthy to retreat but other times we need to get a connector to help us get back in the world.
[Comment From rick garciarick garcia: ] don't know if anyone has mentioned it, but some co-workers have talked of leaving the U.S. and retiring in a foreign country, where their money will go farther.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Moving is an option but those who move are better off doing it on a trial basis before making it permanent. My first research study on transitions was about geographical moving. It sounds like fun and easy but it can be very disrupting.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Brooks - many people are pretty satisfied with the work life they created and don't feel a need to redefine until retirement age. But a lot of folks make mid career shifts. There is plenty of redefining going on at all ages. It's just that retirement is such a clear demarcation line, and major transition that everyone goes through unless they work continuously.
Brooks KXAN: Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende, Mex., are FILLED with ex-pat retirees. I've considered that myself, but it'll depend on how my extended family is doing. I relaly like having them close.
Brooks KXAN: makes sense melissa
Brooks KXAN: FIVE MINUTES LEFT. Last minute questions anyone?
While you're thinking about that, remind you that we'll have a financial expert on retirement issues joining us NEXT WEEK right here - same time same place - so we can look at the flip side of this issue.
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: A final comment on retirement--Why retirement, in fact any transition, is so challenging is that it changes your roles, routines, relationships and assumptions about yourself and your world. It is about getting a new life--new roles, relationships, routines and assumptions. That takes time. Be kind to yourself.
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] Thank you all for your time and answers. Have a great day!
[Comment From KDMKDM: ] I'm retiring at the end of next month (36 days) with a sizable lump sum retiremtn, so I'm convinced, with the right investments, money won't be a problem at least for the next few years. What I wonder most about is what is the right investments to make? 401K, Roth IRA, Stock, Gold? Considering the ever growing natioinal debt, will the US dollar be as viable in a few years as it is now?
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Rick - money will go further, and it's a new life adventure. I have a friend who retired to Mexico and now works harder as a volunteer for an orphanage than she may have worked in her paid career. She has transformed the place and the lives of those children.
Brooks KXAN: KDM - your question is a great one, but better reserved for next week when our money experts join us. This week is mostly about the emotional issues surrounding retirement.
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Early Retiree - I'll be rooting for you!
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Loved being on the show.
Brooks KXAN: But make srue you join us next week same time same place, because our expert will DEFINTELY be able to answer those questions.
[Comment From davdav: ] Thank you for your comments
Brooks KXAN: Nancy and Melissa both, I SO appreciate the fascinating discussion today!!!! Do you want to give any final thoughts while I wrap up?
[Comment From early retireeearly retiree: ] Thanks Melissa.
Brooks KXAN: The rest of you, best of luck to you - join us next week for the flip side of the retirement issue - MONEY - and thank you so much for all your great questions and comments today!!
Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg: Just that life is full of Plan B's, new opportunities, surprises. Exploring your future is daunting but also exciting
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: I think one of our themes has been suggesting that people plan ahead as much as possible; it reduces fear. And, then accept the reality of the rollercoaster of life and treat retirement as a series of small experiments that are about being satisfied and enjoying life!
[Comment From rick garciarick garcia: ] thanks everyone1
Melissa Schenker, Work/Life: Till next week!
Brooks KXAN: Great thoughts, experts! Have a wonderful afternoon, thanks for everything, and we'lls ee you soon.
Commenters, enjoy your life! Enjoy your week! And enjoy retirement :)
Brooks KXAN: Over and out.
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