The moment I knew Google had it all wrong.

🫘 Wait, what? You’re saying Google got something wrong? Spill the beans. Tell me more!

🫘 Okay, it’s simple. That aha-on-steroids moment came as I was walking out the door, by myself, headed one last time to my car in the familiar parking lot. I had just retired from my 30-year career. My financial plan was tucked under my arm. (Well, it wasn’t really under my arm, it was on my computer but you get the drift.)

Suddenly, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was no longer that person anymore, and I realized I didn’t have a clue who I was or what was next.

No one tells you that the money you’ve socked away in your investment portfolio or 401(k) is only one small piece of your life and lifestyle in the chapter after retirement.

Not Google, and (dare I say) not even the financial advisors you work with.

But frankly, it’s time the traditional way of planning for retirement got an overhaul.

Because thinking that retirement planning is all about accumulating wealth is like tending a garden by only watering the plants. While water is essential, ignoring soil health, sunlight, and pest control will hardly result in a flourishing garden. (Not that I would know, but I have paid attention to the gardener in our family over the years. Full disclosure.)

Similarly, a well-rounded retirement plan must consider and nurture all aspects of life.

I rarely quote AARP, because, well, I always thought that was an organization for old people (shhh, don’t tell them), and I’m not old.

But I’ve said for years that the traditional way of planning for retirement just doesn’t work for today’s woman because it doesn’t prepare us at all for the psychological aspects of transitioning to a new chapter.

So, when AARP said that “few people see retirement as a time when they’ll put their feet up and do nothing. Increasingly people expect to work past 65 or 67, even if their job is something completely different from what they’ve done their whole life,” I said, “finally someone gets it.” (But, did it really have to be AARP?)

It’s true. Today, many individuals view retirement not as an endpoint but as a gateway to new opportunities, continued productivity, and personal fulfillment.

Several factors are driving this shift in perspective.

👀 Increased life expectancy has altered the retirement landscape. With people living longer and healthier lives, the idea of spending decades in leisure raises questions about financial sustainability, personal fulfillment, and purpose. Oftentimes, that leads to seeking alternative forms of employment or pursuing entrepreneurial ventures.

👀 The nature of work itself has evolved. Rapid technological advancements and the rise of the gig economy have created diverse opportunities for older adults to engage in meaningful work where they can leverage their skills and expertise on their own terms.

👀 For many individuals, work provides a sense of purpose, identity, and social connection that is deeply fulfilling. Remaining active in the workforce in some capacity addresses these psychological aspects.

It wasn’t until I addressed these psychological aspects and the emotional roller coaster ride that came with stepping into a new chapter that I found my groove. Ignoring them just didn’t cut it. In fact, it was almost a disaster.

No, thank you. I want to be more like Jonathan Look, Jr. who said in a Forbes article, “I wanted to have an extraordinary life, not just contentment and an optimized portfolio. I wanted to jump headlong into my new found freedom and relish life like I never had before. I was not interested in transitioning to some comfortable, pre-planned, homogenized, homeowner association approved, milquetoast existence.”

Amen. Because I’m definitely not the “homeowner association approved, milquetoast existence” kind of gal. (In fact, my homeowner’s association doesn’t like me much because I told them their bylaws were outdated, non-compliant, and desperately in need of an overhaul. Talk about getting the good ole boys riled up!)

Anyone with me? Are you looking at retirement (or any life transition for that matter) as an opportunity for reinvention, growth, and continued contribution to society?

Be sure to grab my free guide to the 5 Retirement Planning Mistakes Women Make But Can Avoid.