My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humour/sarcasm. You've been warned. Please note the blog posts are time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation or law.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Retirement or Refirement?

In February, I wrote a six-part series titled "How Much Money do I Need to Retire? Heck if I Know or Anyone Else Does!" The series focused on how much money you really need to retire, and the various economic factors that can impact your retirement nest egg. The series concentrated mainly on the financial side of retirement, and neglected the emotional side of retirement. If you did not read this series and are interested, click here.

I thought it might be interesting to have someone who specializes in retirement and life transitions to provide their expertise on the emotional aspect of retirement, and I am pleased to introduce a guest post by Betty Hansen, whose company Crossroads Planning Group Inc. deals with retirement, succession and estate planning. Betty is going to provide two guest posts: today's post which will focus on the emotional side of retirement and a second post next week which will focus on why entrepreneurs become emotional wrecks once they retire :)

Retirement or Refirement? 

By Betty Hansen

There’s a new word out there and I like it. Refirement. The next stage of life has been referred to as Refirement not Retirement. Let’s rejuvenate ourselves with both external and internal enthusiasm for the world around us instead of having our world controlled by the concept of retirement.

There is a negative suggestion of being tired in retirement. Let’s retire the word retirement.

Refirement…. To teach, surprise and give. This is what refirement should be all about.

I have a friend who was looking forward to retirement for years and now that it is here - it’s a letdown. I hear no enthusiasm in her voice when I should be hearing all sorts of excitement about what she’s doing, what she’s going to do as well as what she’s going to learn. Nothing.

What happened? Did the anticipation of retirement overshadow the reality of retirement? I think so.

I’ve also heard “I’m not doing anything – I’m retired”. Great! There has to be something to get you up in the morning. There may be physical and/or mental conditions that will prevent many activities but we have brains and we can use those brains, in many cases, to create stimulating activities no matter what the state of our physical or mental health.

The bottom line is that we are responsible for our own happiness, our own enjoyment of life and for what we create as our legacy – and I’m not talking money here! Don’t misunderstand, money can certainly smooth the path to what we want to do, but we have to decide initially what it is that is going to create a vital and vibrant future for us.

If the notion of a formal stopping point called retirement is removed and consideration is given to how to mix work, play and family, the outlook can be changed from deciding that one is “past it” to “how can the next stage of life be refired?”

So what do we do now? I believe that we have to go back to our roots and decide what we want to do with the rest of our lives. This can be a very simple or a very complex process, but either way it will include evaluating the skills, knowledge and experience that you have and incorporating them into your dreams for the future.

You’re still the same person that you were before you retired and as a teenager full of dreams and ideas. The vital and vibrant future that can be created as an encore can surpass the success that was enjoyed prior to retirement. Realize that it is never too late to do the things you always thought you would like to do.

Everyone is unique and the biggest contribution to making this world a better place may very well come in the refirement phase of life. There are plenty of options for people who want to contribute to society in some way utilizing their enthusiasm for creativity and compassion as well as making every day an adventure.

When they reach retirement many people age rapidly; losing their drive, motivation and purpose. Conversations focus on the past, weather and aches and pains.

Consider the phrase “What about me?”. Depending on how it is said it can be “I’m feeling sorry for myself” or it can be articulating the intention to “refire”.

In the book “What makes Olga Run?” by Bruce Grierson, the author makes the following observation:

“To have a mission in life, something to get you up, some valuable role to play: that is a huge part of ageing gracefully. The Japanese have a word for it - ikigai (eekee-guy). Rough translation: the belief that ones’ life is worth living. Studies have found that those who have ikigai live longer”. This is an enlightening and entertaining book that everyone over the age of 40 should read!

Happy Refirement!

Betty’s company, Crossroads Planning Group Inc., helps familes transition their business from one generation to the next while encouraging family harmony. Betty believes that communication is the foundation of effective retirement, succession and estate planning. Please feel free to contact her directly at 519.269.9634 or by email at More information is available on Betty’s company website,

The blogs posted on The Blunt Bean Counter provide information of a general nature. These posts should not be considered specific advice; as each reader's personal financial situation is unique and fact specific. Please contact a professional advisor prior to implementing or acting upon any of the information contained in one of the blogs.

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