Your Next Big Act After Retirement is Waiting for You

Your Next Big Act After Retirement is Waiting for You

Ronald Reagan retired from the silver screen, became a GE spokesman, retired from that job, became Governor of California, retired from that job, then became President.

Bill Gates built the world’s largest software maker, retired from that job, and created the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Today that foundation works to solve a variety of issues, from malaria to a lack of female educational opportunities.

Freddy Simon started “Freddy’s Steakburgers” after retiring from his sales job at age 77.

That one restaurant has grown into a nationwide chain of more than 510 stores.

South African Otto Thaning swam the English Channel at age 73.

And a meaningful second act isn’t just restricted to people you can find on Google.

Several of our clients have gone on to do completely new and amazing things after retirement, including one client who uses the business and leadership skills he acquired to lead and influence nonprofits in his community.

What do Ronald Reagan, Bill Gates, Freddy Simon, Otto Thaning, and our client mentioned above all have in common?

They refused to believe that life ended after retirement.

That might sound melodramatic, but we see it on a regular basis in our office. People genuinely struggle with the emotional and financial dynamics of retirement.

We talk to clients who:

  • Struggle to see how the sale of a business or a retirement fund translates into the type of lifestyle they are used to.
  • Struggle with questions like how long their nest egg will last, and how to continue to be generous or philanthropic without the security of their prior income stream.
  • Wrestle with the psychological shift from being a business owner or an executive to being “retired.”

The last point can be the most difficult. Often our clients can’t get past the idea that retirement is The End—in big, capital letters. The End of their productive life. The End of everything they’ve known. The End of being a leader.

Retirement isn’t the end.  It’s the beginning of your next big act.

Retirement is more than just financial math. It can be a tremendous test of our psychological resolve, and of our faith in everything from our financial planning to our purpose here on earth.

Without a doubt, retirement challenges us.

But the end?

Not hardly.

Ask Ronald Reagan if his life ended after he left Hollywood. Ask Freddy Simon if he had no purpose when he left sales and started making hamburgers. Ask Otto Thaning if all was lost when he stopped being a surgeon full-time, and decided to take up swimming.

Retirement isn’t the end.

It’s the beginning of your next big act.

It’s the chance to start a second business, or even become a business owner for the first time. It’s a chance to spend time with your grandchildren, time you may not have had with your children, and in the process experience the infinite reward of spending time with a child you love who isn’t your complete responsibility.

This gives you the freedom to feed them ice cream, wind them up, and send them home without suffering the consequences later.

It’s wonderful.

Retirement gives you the opportunity to live life with the benefit of past experience and wisdom.

Retirement is not the end.

It’s the beginning.

The beginning of your second act.

But retirement is no different than any other strategic challenge you tackled in your career. You need to plan. You need to assess your strengths and weaknesses, and get a sense of the gaps you have to fill. You need to run the numbers and identify the impact of retirement on your lifestyle – but that’s the easy part. Once that is settled, you can busy yourself with the meaningful work of defining your second act.

And the strategic planning process might seem scary, but it’s exciting. In his book Halftime: Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance, Bob Buford shows us that midlife and retirement are a chance to move from success to significance.

Ronald Reagan was a successful actor—and in his second act became a significant world figure.

Freddy Simon was a successful salesman—and in his second act became a significant entrepreneur.

Many of our clients are using the skills they’ve acquired throughout their career to work for causes that matter to them or crafting a philanthropic legacy that will outlive them and engage their heirs.

Now it’s your turn.

You’ve been successful.

Retirement is your opportunity to be significant.

So start planning for significance today.

James Matush, Jr., CFP®, MBA

James Matush, Jr., CFP®, MBA

James "Jim" Matush, CFP®, MBA, is the CEO and Founding Partner of Trinity Wealth Advisors, a leading wealth advisory firm serving affluent families in the St. Louis area. With 40+ years of experience in financial services, he offers his clients actionable plans to help them achieve their goals.