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A New Vision For Retirement Parties

A New Vision For Retirement Parties

By Mike Drak

For the record, because of the way my 36-year career ended, I feel uncomfortable when attending retirement parties.

I was forced out, which as many of you know is never fun. But truthfully, I was happy about it because I needed to leave, and what they did just accelerated my departure date with the added bonus of a severance check in my pocket.

A retirement party is supposed to be a celebration of reaching some finish line, but I didn’t feel that way because I had no intention of retiring. I was leaving for something else, something better, and because of that I didn’t really enjoy the party.

Everyone kept asking me the same question “What are you going to do?” and they didn’t seem to understand when I said that I was going to do some other type of work that was more to my liking. It felt like I was talking, but no one was hearing me … as if I were breaking some rule or tradition by not retiring like everyone else.

Recently, I attended my friend’s retirement party and all of my old memories started to flood my mind. I felt sad, which was wrong because I was there to celebrate an old friend but I didn’t want to celebrate him surviving and making it to some finish line. I wanted to celebrate his future, now that he had his freedom back.

Every retiree should know what they are retiring too. They need to think about this transition for a long time and create a transition plan that will guarantee them a lot of happiness in the years ahead. It’s the payoff for all those hard years of work and sacrifices.

I would love to have the guest of honor get on stage and instead of talking about the past, tell us about their future plans for their next stage of life. If they don’t know what to say and end up mumbling something about spending more time with the grand kids they should delay their retirement (if the choice is theirs) until they can clearly articulate what they plan to do. Employers owe it to their employees to provide this type of planning and devote resources to it so these people can get off to a good start.

That is why we are working hard on our new transition guide to help people plan well and avoid a lot of retirement stress.

I think we should rename retirement parties “Bon Voyage” parties, now that is a party I would enjoy!

This post was originally published on Victory Lap Retirement and reprinted with permission.

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Mike Drak

Author, Retirement Coach and Public Speaker at Victory Lap Retirement
Mike Drak is a thirty-eight year veteran of the financial services and lives with his wife Melina in Toronto, Canada. Mike is the Author of the best-selling book Victory Lap Retirement and also an award winning blogger, retirement coach and public speaker. Mike has also appeared on BNN, CBC Radio and iHeart radio.