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Canadian workplaces recently have been hit with a wave of retirements so massive that some have tagged it with the gray tsunami. So how do we know when to stop working?

We admire those who go out at the top of their game. But, there are many who stay too long after their best before time to pack it in to do something else that they would enjoy. Some feel that if they retire
they will die. With the end of compulsory retirement in Canada, the decision went from a fixed date (65) to a major life style choice. Many answers are financially based. When you have saved 25 times your anticipated annual expenditures. The ideal time to retire is when the unfinished business in your life begins to feel more important than the work you are doing. A time to finally self actualize your bucket list

I have to admit that I failed retirement after being employed by the Thames Valley Board of Education
for 30 years. The life of leisure lasted one very long boring week. The first thing I did was to try and organize my wifeís kitchen pantry when she went shopping for groceries. I carefully placed all of the tins of Salmon/ Tuna etc and made an inventory list on the pantry door better for Ella to keep track of. Ella came home from shopping and told me to get the hell out of her kitchen and find something else to do. . Many years later I am still enjoying my education/career program and writing a column each week.

Iíve learned some lessons about what not to do. But more important I figured out what to do. Life has three stages. The first is learning. The second is earning a living. The third is returning. But if you focus on retirement as a time of returning and giving something back to society it can transform your life.

Retirement isnít the end. It can be a beginning. For the past twenty years I have had the opportunity to counsel some very nice people aged 16-66. If you want to stay young interact with people who can
make you laugh and be involved. Your gray hair/experience is an affirmation that your advice can be of help.

For those of you that yearn for the freedom fifty- five there are the good and bad aspects of retiring. If
you are a Canadian male you will live on average until age eighty compared to the females who pass away at eighty-five.

Many men find themselves bored, vulnerable and depressed in their retirement years. After six months
or even three long years they are still asking themselves asking: "what are they going to do to-morrow"? Men feel a sense of loss because their life has been closely tied to their careers.

My daughter ,Sarah, encouraged me to sell the farm, close the practice and move to Toronto or Collingwood. After due deliberation I decided to not move; I did not want to lose my self.

A lot of people think that after all of the stress of their working lives they shouldnít have any stress after they retire. There is a word for a stress-free state and it is not retirement. Itís death. Study after study shows that complete retirement may mean an early trip to the grave. Many male executives who simply go off into the setting sun are dead before their due time.

The Institute of Economic Affairs stats shows that: "retirement increases the probability of suffering from clinical depression by forty percent."

Do the math and plan your retirement wisely for the next twenty-five to thirty years. Tick tock goes the clock. Compare the new life of leisure to your previous days of working eight hours, sleeping eight hours leaving eight hours for fun.

It used to be fifteen minutes for a coffee break and now the whole damn day can be one never ending boring mornings at Tim Hortonís in the village.

George Eastman founder and C. E. O. of Eastman Kodak left a suicide note the day he retired: " My
work is done. Why wait?"

Statistics from the U. S- based Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows the highest increase in suicide is in men age fifty-five and over.

While retirement isnít always the trigger, experts say the change in lifestyle can be a cause for depression.

There is life/ happiness after your previous career if one does some planning by balancing leisure, learning, volunteering or a change of careers. It is possible to mix and match working, learning, relaxing and trying new things.

Recently the glossy educational brochures having been arriving in my mailbox. Fanshawe Collegeís handbook "Continuing your Education with the enticing question: Want to learn new skills? To lean more check out their web site www.fanshawe.ca/training.

Not to be outdone The University of Western Ontario has a Continuing Studies at Western.http://www.uwo.ca/studieshttp://www.alumni.uwo.ca Their web site is wcs.uwo.ca .


Homepage - Western Alumni
Alumna makes magic at Universal theme parks; Mustangs Football honours 2018 Wall of Champions Inductees ; Western's JUNO Connections; Filmmakerís ĎRomanticí effort finding indie success

The Society for Learning in Retirement has an enticing interactive program for people interested in a variety of interesting subjects. Their web site is www. slrlondon.ca

There is lots to discover; the brain is like unto a muscle: you use it or you lose it.

Okay, you do not want to be involved with learning. How about getting out and about and volunteering. "Meals on Wheels" delivering warm lunches to people in the village you will find appreciation and a
sense of helping those who are shut-ins. Believe it or not you are wanted and can in your own way
make a difference in your community.

Ask yourself every day if you are happy. Henny Youngman used to joke that: " What good is happiness? You canít buy money with it."

If you are fortunate to have your health and you are not ready for the nursing home make a plan and get involved with something that you have a passion for.

Please drop me an e mail if you are contemplating retirement. I may

be able to help in the transition.

lenlesser@hotmail.com .

Len Lesser Consulting

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com