Retire Slowly – Land the Plane

Over the past 18 months or so it seems we’ve heard a lot more about retirement. Some workers were forced into a sooner-than-planned retirement due to Covid furloughs and then layoffs. Others chose out of the workplace for a variety of personal reasons.

And, of course, the Great Resignation has gotten plenty of press and emphasized that the conversation isn’t 100% a financial one.

I started thinking more about my future retirement plans and goals over 10 years ago while watching a mentor of mine navigate the process.

He was a seasoned professional who had held leadership roles as a full-time employee at several large companies. His first step was to ‘retire’ from a large company to join a consulting company that could market his skills. It was okay if he didn’t always have work – in fact that was a part of his plan to wind down his working hours and begin to explore other interests. Eventually he only took on certain projects, and near the end of many years of transition he only worked for one specific client!

As I watched what he did, my visual for that type of retirement became “landing the plane.” Most of your career flight cruises along at around 36,000 feet (perhaps with pockets of turbulence!). Then, in an orderly fashion you begin a ‘gradual descent’ towards your goal…and land the plane.

Everyone’s situation is different, but perhaps you should spend some time over the holiday break envisioning what your retirement timeline might look like. 

And remember to include the plans for what you’ll do after you deplane and head through the terminal and out into the world at your destination!

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