Once you’ve earned the freedom to retire, what will you do next? What are your plans for retirement? How will you approach preparing to retire so that one day you’ll be happily retired? Well, Don Ezra thinks that the word retirement is obsolete. He believes it’s high time that we reframe how we think about it. In Don’s view what we used to call retirement, is today the beginning of a new second life. He calls it Life Two – life after full-time work. In fact, multiple surveys indicate that the vast majority of people want to continue to work past what used to be seen as the “normal retirement age.” For many people the desire to work longer is not primarily financially driven. For some it’s about purpose. When work is a calling in retirement, it’s wise to be thinking about how you’ll be creating a second career – and a second life.
Achieving the freedom to retire is not easy. Neither is creating a new second life. It takes a different level of planning and preparing to retire to do that well, both financially and emotionally. Don has written one of the best books on retirement planning: Life Two. Based on Don’s experience, the keys to sound retirement planning lie in education and introspection. And it’s not theoretical for Don. He does not refer to himself with references to his previous titles in an impressive and distinguished career. He’s simply ‘happily retired.’ He describes his experience in transitioning to this second life in retirement as planting a new tree, different from tree he grew in his years of full-time work.
If you want to learn more about how to retire happy, you’ll want to listen to our conversation with Don Ezra.
We discuss with Don:
In Life One, Don Ezra was Co-Chairman , Global Consulting at Russell Investments. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Washington DC-based Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), and as Chairman of its Research Committee. In 2004, he was awarded the EBRI’s Lillywhite Award “for extraordinary lifetime contributions to Americans’ economic security.” Don is the author of Life Two: How to Get and Enjoy What Used to Be Called Retirement, Happiness: the Best is Yet to Come and several books on pensions and the financial side of retirement. Don joins us from Toronto.
On Life Two:
“That’s when I realized that if you think of this as Life Two, Life One is our grown up working life. So Life Two is what follows. And for most of us, it’s going to be long enough. It’s going to be healthy enough to be a life that we can enjoy. It’s not just an end to Life One, it’s a life in its own right. And so, forget the old concept of retirement. In fact, let’s retire the word. So, I think of Life Two as the best part of life. I think of Life One in fact is just being a very long prologue that finally gives way to the real show – when enjoyment and happiness and fulfillment peak.”
On Freedom & Stress
“It’s not until we retire or at least stop working full time that we have both the time and the money to truly enjoy all of life. And that gives us freedom. So, I think of Life Two as a full life. I think of it as a mature life rather than an immature one. I think of it is a happy life rather than a stressful one. That’s how I try to reframe retirement and, and given that I go back to the point I was making that it’s ironic – dreading retirement makes us unhappy and anxious at work and that’s because we don’t know what it’ll be like. We just know it will be a change, possibly a big change from what we’ve become very used to. And we are just scared to think about it.”
Don Ezra’s Book – Life Two: How to get to and enjoy what used to be called retirement on Amazon
Life Two: What we used to call ‘retirement’ Financial Times July 2019
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