Phased Retirement: The Three Paths

Part of the beauty behind a phased approach to retirement is that you can craft it to meet your own needs. You may want to shift from full-time work to part-time consulting, or lend your talents to a non-profit or to the energy of a startup.

But how do you focus your thoughts and find the best fit for your interests and desired commitment level?

In order to find the right option, you’ll have to craft a message about what you’re looking for – and then share it with people.

You don’t have to have the perfect answer right away, and you don’t have to detail out every area of interest you might want to explore.  Have a few key ideas that you can share with others and refine over time.

People are typically willing to help you if they can, but they aren’t going to figure out your future for you.

So, tell them that you’re considering three different, but related paths.  Using the “3 paths” approach is an effective way to shape and share your interests – and get more help!

For example, if you’re a seasoned professional determining what’s next for your career, you could share the following during a networking meeting or casual coffee appointment:

“I’m considering 3 paths for my next career phase. I’m interested in a senior marketing role with a larger, progressive company, and ideally, I’d like a full-time position.  But I’d also consider interim or consulting roles where I could get exposure to a firm and really help make a difference from a marketing perspective. Finally, the third path would be to lead the marketing function for a start-up…in that scenario it may also include overall digital leadership.”

Of course, you can change ‘marketing’ and the substance of the 3 paths to suit your experience and interests.

But the key is that this helps you refine your message and your thinking.  It allows you to focus your desires – but allow for multiple ways to realize them.

Not only does this help you clarify your thoughts, it provides distinct ways for people to assist you:

  • They can help with their clarifying questions about the 3 possible paths.  Each time you meet with someone, you get a chance to test and refine your message via their unique perspective.
  • They can help by connecting you with others.  In the scenario above, they may not know of any companies looking for a full-time or interim Marketing leader – but they may be able to connect you with a leader at a startup.

The 3 paths approach gives your connections 3 different ways to potentially help.

You don’t have to tell anyone that it’s your ‘phased retirement plan’ – but you’ll know it is.

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