• Nigel Pacey

Prepare for your Third Life

The Third Age is an emerging life stage, running roughly from ages 50 to 75, made possible by our longer life expectancy. In essence it grants us a life bonus of 30 years not available to previous generations. Rich in possibilities and potential, this Third Life involves the creating creation of new roles and identity, a search for new meaning and profound change.

Many people are still reaching retirement from full-time employment having worked for over 40 years and the only preparation they have undertaken for their later years is to try to make sure they have a large enough pension.

Increasingly, people are beginning to realise the opportunities that their Third Life brings and are starting to make decisions about what they want to do with their lives, not just when they retire but also during their fifties and early sixties. Very often this involves a change in career, retraining or becoming self-employed rather than carrying on with whatever they have been doing.

Think of our Third Life as a trip to a foreign land. There are different approaches we can take to preparation for the journey. Some people prefer to do little preparation and take whatever comes when they get there. Some people like to plan meticulously so that they know what they will do and where they will go before they leave home. Some take the view that it makes sense to plan their trip but they like to have the flexibility to be able to change plans according to what they find when they arrive.

In preparation we might learn some of the language, ensure we have had the right jabs, understand the culture and lifestyle, take some local currency, find out what foods are eaten, identify places to visit, research the weather and decide what clothes to take. The extent to which we will enjoy our trip will to some extent be dependent on our preparation and also our mindset in terms of our expectations and ability to be flexible. We will also be helped if we have a decent guide book to the region we are visiting.

The same is true of our Third Life. If we don’t plan, we may find that we arrive at retirement having missed out on the opportunities that were available to us or, that we are not in a position to have as fulfilling a life as possible because we did not take the necessary action in advance to enable it to happen.

So, as well as thinking about our finances and legal issues, we also would benefit from thinking about what we want to do about work, our relationships with those around us, our health and wellbeing, our mental and spiritual life, our social life and leisure activities, where we will live and our ongoing personal development. For many people, the meaning and purpose of their life is strongly tied to their career and the key to a fulfilling Third Life is how and where we find meaning outside of our career.

The My Life My Retirement Third Life Audit takes an overview of all these areas of life and helps people to be able to see where they have prepared effectively and where they would benefit from spending some time thinking about what else they need to do to be ready.

It is the starting point for your own guide book to make sure you know where you are going, how to get there and that you have everything you need in your backpack or suitcase.

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