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Affluent Christian Investor | August 20, 2017

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Retirees, The Best Years Are In Front Of Us

We are the only one that will keep us from doing what God calls us to do, and be who God calls us to be.

-Daniel Eissman, Idaho Supreme Court Justice and Vietnam Veteran

We live in a culture where people work hard and look forward to retiring.  When it is time to retire, you have done your part, so rest and relax and enjoy life.  You have earned it.  Life is then about doing all of the things you put off and looked forward to doing.

That isn’t necessarily wrong, but is there something better?  I prefer to think of transition instead of retirement.  And we may transition several times.

Productive Years Past 65

If you retire at age 60 with relatively good health, you could live another 30 years or more.  There is a lot of time to do a lot of things and make a significant contribution.  How old are your parents now if still with you?  If not, at what age did they pass away?  Many of us will live a good bit longer than our parents did, and with better health.

Have you heard someone say, “I am having a senior moment.”?  The implication is that since we are older, our minds are not as sharp as they used to be.  Is that true, or an assumption we are convinced is true?

Another cultural expectation is that 65 is retirement age.  If we can retire before that we’ve done really well.  If we retire after 65, we have failed in our quest to retire when we are “supposed” to retire.  Some companies force retirement by a certain age, and in some jobs physical ability is a factor.  Then it is time to transition to something else.   In other companies, the presumption is that older workers are not as sharp any more, and the company needs young fresh minds to flourish.

Letting Cultural Expectations Guide Us

Many of us have fallen victim to these cultural lies.  At the Halftime Institute, we call these limiting beliefs.  Mark Batterson in his book Wild Goose Chase calls them assumptions.  He says, “We end up in the cage of our own assumptions. And the more assumptions we make, the smaller our cage becomes.”  He later adds, “the more faith you have, the fewer assumptions you will make. Why? Because with God all things are possible.”

How old we are is mostly irrelevant to our ability to make a significant contribution.  Admittedly, someday we will lose our sharpness, but who says it is by a certain age for all of us, such as 65?

For most of us, our best years are in front of us.  It doesn’t matter our age.  Maybe we can’t move as fast and can’t do a full day’s work in the yard without totally exhausting ourselves, but physical limitations tied to age are not mental limitations.

Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, said in his blog, “nothing destroys our sense of purpose and health more than the modern notion of retirement. . . . we’ve now raised a few generations to look for fulfillment in the [lush and relaxing] pasture, not their work.”

It Is Never Too Late

As we get older, let’s be more purposeful about what we do.  If you are past 50 and not retired, it is time to begin thinking about transition.  Waiting until we leave our job/business and retire to begin thinking about what’s next can be more challenging.  It is too easy to move into the mental state of retirement, and  believe we are no longer able to be productive.  But don’t let that trap you either.  We are never too old to explore what God has next.

What do you want to do to make a difference?  What is God’s purpose for you?  If you love what you are doing now and feel God’s pleasure as He is using you, should you quit working?

What Have Others Done?

My Dad loved being an architect and God was using him.  When in his late 60s he told me he was thinking about retiring.  I asked why.  He loved his work, and had flexibility because he had developed a great team.  He wasn’t missing things he wanted to do because of work.  He decided to continue, slowing the pace some as he got older, but working until weeks before he passed away at 75.  He was fulfilled and had no regrets.

I met Jim Downing a few weeks ago.  He is 103, and just launched a new website to lead more people to Jesus.

I have a friend who has been a very successful corporate trainer.  At age 80 he was still in high demand, but recently decided to leave the corporate training field.  He is seeking God’s direction for what is next.

A Halftime Institute client in his 70s is a volunteer with the Salvation Army Adult Recovery Program.  He uses his skills and experience to literally change people’s lives after being released from prison.  He is energized by what he does and has more capacity and motivation, so he is looking at more opportunities to make a difference.

Moses was 80 when God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.  Billy Graham was active well into his 70s and 80s, but has now slowed his pace.  Bob Galvin, former CEO of Motorola, at age 83 started the Galvin Electricity Initiative, focused on modernizing the nation’s electricity grid.

Don’t Use the Word Retirement

Michael Hyatt suggests eliminating the word retirement from our vocabulary, and recommitting to work we love.  It could be work we get paid to do or volunteer work.  In my 60s I have transitioned to work I love.  I have more flexibility and no longer work the same hours.  If God is using me to make a difference, why quit?    Will I slow down more later?  Not until my energy dictates it.

Avoiding Regret

There is the risk of regret when too old to do something.  Struggling learning to snow ski makes me regret not learning when I was younger.  But looking ahead 20 years from now, I don’t want to regret failing to pursue things for which I had the passion and capability.

Billy Graham describes two paths in “retirement.”  We can “use it to indulge ourselves, or we can use it to make an impact on the lives of others. . . . Will we seek God’s plan for our retirement years . . . or . . .  drift aimlessly along, assuming our usefulness is over and spending the rest of our days trying to squeeze as much enjoyment as we can out of life?”  (Source: “Billy Graham on Nearing Home,” Do Well, August, 2013)

How To Finish Well

I coach a lot of people in “halftime” and beyond—some joke they are in the fourth quarter.  With 20, 30, 40 or more years ahead, the focus has shifted to finishing well.  If we know what is next and prepared to transition, that’s great.  But if we don’t, trial and error could be a painful, draining process.  In my next blog, entitled Finishing Well, I will talk about how to successfully transition into an adventurous life with purpose.

Our best years are in front of us.

We live in a culture where people work hard and look forward to retiring.  When it is time to retire, you have done your part, so rest and relax and enjoy life.  You have earned it.  Life is then about doing all of the things you put off and looked forward to doing.

That isn’t necessarily wrong, but is there something better?  I prefer to think of transition instead of retirement.  And we may transition several times.

Productive Years Past 65

If you retire at age 60 with relatively good health, you could live another 30 years or more.  There is a lot of time to do a lot of things and make a significant contribution.  How old are your parents now if still with you?  If not, at what age did they pass away?  Many of us will live a good bit longer than our parents did, and with better health.

Have you heard someone say, “I am having a senior moment.”?  The implication is that since we are older, our minds are not as sharp as they used to be.  Is that true, or an assumption we are convinced is true?

Another cultural expectation is that 65 is retirement age.  If we can retire before that we’ve done really well.  If we retire after 65, we have failed in our quest to retire when we are “supposed” to retire.  Some companies force retirement by a certain age, and in some jobs physical ability is a factor.  Then it is time to transition to something else.   In other companies, the presumption is that older workers are not as sharp any more, and the company needs young fresh minds to flourish.

Letting Cultural Expectations Guide Us

Many of us have fallen victim to these cultural lies.  At the Halftime Institute, we call these limiting beliefs.  Mark Batterson in his book Wild Goose Chase calls them assumptions.  He says, “We end up in the cage of our own assumptions. And the more assumptions we make, the smaller our cage becomes.”  He later adds, “the more faith you have, the fewer assumptions you will make. Why? Because with God all things are possible.”

How old we are is mostly irrelevant to our ability to make a significant contribution.  Admittedly, someday we will lose our sharpness, but who says it is by a certain age for all of us, such as 65?

For most of us, our best years are in front of us.  It doesn’t matter our age.  Maybe we can’t move as fast and can’t do a full day’s work in the yard without totally exhausting ourselves, but physical limitations tied to age are not mental limitations.

Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, said in his blog, “nothing destroys our sense of purpose and health more than the modern notion of retirement. . . . we’ve now raised a few generations to look for fulfillment in the [lush and relaxing] pasture, not their work.”

It Is Never Too Late

As we get older, let’s be more purposeful about what we do.  If you are past 50 and not retired, it is time to begin thinking about transition.  Waiting until we leave our job/business and retire to begin thinking about what’s next can be more challenging.  It is too easy to move into the mental state of retirement, and  believe we are no longer able to be productive.  But don’t let that trap you either.  We are never too old to explore what God has next.

What do you want to do to make a difference?  What is God’s purpose for you?  If you love what you are doing now and feel God’s pleasure as He is using you, should you quit working?

What Have Others Done?

My Dad loved being an architect and God was using him.  When in his late 60s he told me he was thinking about retiring.  I asked why.  He loved his work, and had flexibility because he had developed a great team.  He wasn’t missing things he wanted to do because of work.  He decided to continue, slowing the pace some as he got older, but working until weeks before he passed away at 75.  He was fulfilled and had no regrets.

I met Jim Downing a few weeks ago.  He is 103, and just launched a new website to lead more people to Jesus.

I have a friend who has been a very successful corporate trainer.  At age 80 he was still in high demand, but recently decided to leave the corporate training field.  He is seeking God’s direction for what is next.

A Halftime Institute client in his 70s is a volunteer with the Salvation Army Adult Recovery Program.  He uses his skills and experience to literally change people’s lives after being released from prison.  He is energized by what he does and has more capacity and motivation, so he is looking at more opportunities to make a difference.

Moses was 80 when God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.  Billy Graham was active well into his 70s and 80s, but has now slowed his pace.  Bob Galvin, former CEO of Motorola, at age 83 started the Galvin Electricity Initiative, focused on modernizing the nation’s electricity grid.

Don’t Use the Word Retirement

Michael Hyatt suggests eliminating the word retirement from our vocabulary, and recommitting to work we love.  It could be work we get paid to do or volunteer work.  In my 60s I have transitioned to work I love.  I have more flexibility and no longer work the same hours.  If God is using me to make a difference, why quit?    Will I slow down more later?  Not until my energy dictates it.

Avoiding Regret

There is the risk of regret when too old to do something.  Struggling learning to snow ski makes me regret not learning when I was younger.  But looking ahead 20 years from now, I don’t want to regret failing to pursue things for which I had the passion and capability.

Billy Graham describes two paths in “retirement.”  We can “use it to indulge ourselves, or we can use it to make an impact on the lives of others. . . . Will we seek God’s plan for our retirement years . . . or . . .  drift aimlessly along, assuming our usefulness is over and spending the rest of our days trying to squeeze as much enjoyment as we can out of life?”  (Source: “Billy Graham on Nearing Home,” Do Well, August, 2013)

How To Finish Well

I coach a lot of people in “halftime” and beyond—some joke they are in the fourth quarter.  With 20, 30, 40 or more years ahead, the focus has shifted to finishing well.  If we know what is next and prepared to transition, that’s great.  But if we don’t, trial and error could be a painful, draining process.  In my next blog, entitled Finishing Well, I will talk about how to successfully transition into an adventurous life with purpose.

Our best years are in front of us.

 

 

 

Originally published on Whole Life Generosity.

 

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