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Navigating the Years Before Retirement: 5 Tips for Staying Focused, Relevant, and Sane

By Deborah Voll October 03, 2023 Lifestyle

Retirement is a significant milestone in life; a time to reap the rewards of your hard work and embark on new adventures. But for women over 60, who are just a couple of years away from retirement, it can be challenging to stay focused on their current jobs and personal passions. The allure of retirement can be so strong that it distracts from the present.

I recently worked with a couple of clients who needed some coaching in this area so I thought this may be a relevant article for many of you! Perhaps your eye is so focused on the prize that you are missing out on the present! Below I will be sharing five valuable tips to help you navigate this journey successfully, ensuring you stay relevant at work, provide value, and keep your sanity intact.

Embrace Lifelong Learning

  • Reflect: What skills or knowledge areas do you feel are lacking in your current role?
  • Question: What courses or workshops can you enroll in to acquire these skills?
  • Consider: Are there any industry trends or advancements you should stay updated on?

One of the most effective ways to stay relevant at work and maintain your passion is through continuous learning. The world is constantly evolving, and new technologies and methodologies emerge every day. Stay ahead of the curve by seeking out opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills.

Consider taking online courses, attending workshops, or joining professional organizations. This commitment to lifelong learning not only boosts your confidence but also makes you an asset to your workplace.

Mentorship and Networking

  • Reflect: Who in your workplace could benefit from your guidance and experience?
  • Question: How can you initiate a mentorship relationship with a colleague or junior employee?
  • Consider: What industry events or networking opportunities are available to expand your professional connections?

Your years of experience are invaluable, and you can share your wisdom with the next generation. Seek out opportunities to mentor younger colleagues, providing guidance and support. Mentorship not only benefits others but also helps you stay engaged and motivated at work.

Additionally, networking is crucial. Attend industry events, connect with peers, and build relationships that can lead to new opportunities and collaborations.

Set Short-Term Goals

  • Reflect: What specific achievements or milestones would make you feel proud in the next few months?
  • Question: How can you break down your long-term retirement plan into smaller, manageable steps?
  • Consider: Are there any projects or initiatives at work that align with your short-term goals?

While retirement is a long-term goal, it’s essential to have short-term goals that keep you motivated and focused on the present. Break down your remaining time at work into smaller, achievable milestones.

These goals can be related to projects you want to complete, skills you want to acquire, or even personal achievements like improving your work-life balance. Achieving these mini-goals will give you a sense of accomplishment and help you maintain your commitment to your job.

Rediscover Your Passions

  • Reflect: What hobbies or interests have you neglected due to work commitments?
  • Question: How can you incorporate these passions into your daily or weekly routine?
  • Consider: Are there any volunteer opportunities related to your interests that you can explore?

As you approach retirement, it’s essential to strike a balance between work and personal life. Don’t wait until retirement to rediscover your passions and hobbies. Make time for the activities you love outside of work.

Whether it’s painting, gardening, volunteering, or any other interest, these pursuits can provide a sense of fulfillment and keep you grounded during the countdown to retirement. Your personal passions are an integral part of who you are, and nurturing them will help you maintain your sanity.

Seek Professional Guidance

  • Reflect: How do you feel about your current financial preparedness for retirement?
  • Question: Have you consulted with a financial advisor to create a retirement plan?
  • Consider: Are there any emotional concerns or anxieties about retirement that you haven’t addressed with a therapist or counselor?

It’s entirely normal to experience mixed emotions as retirement approaches. If you find it challenging to stay focused and balanced during this transition, consider seeking professional guidance. A financial advisor can help you create a retirement plan, ensuring you are financially prepared. Moreover, a coach can provide emotional support and strategies for managing the stress and anxiety that may come with this life change.

Remember, retirement is a destination, but the journey leading up to it is just as important. Embrace it with enthusiasm and purpose, and you’ll find fulfillment in every step of the way.

Are you facing this journey right now? I would love to have you share in the comments what is keeping you engaged and motivated! Perhaps you can lend some tips for those reading! I have created a free worksheet that will help you on the journey to Navigating the Countdown to Retirement!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How far are you on your journey to retirement? Do you have goals that you are following or planning to follow? How do you suppose you will stay relevant as a retired woman?

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I keep putting off specifics for retirement. I am financially sound. I rent now and can move anywhere, but where? My children are in 3 different time zones and I’m not ready to close in on them. I have this daydream that I’ll give my work key back, climb in my car and drive to my new life. Somewhere.


I also enter art awards, and when I wasn’t studying, I hosted young people from overseas in our house. I like having younger energy around. I am not sure what sort of volunteer work I would take up, if I was to do that. I try and go for walks a few mornings a week before work. I suppose I’d like to join some kind of active group when I retire (cycling, walking, swimming etc) although seems pretty hit and miss as to whether I would find like souls… Anyone had success with joining groups after retirement?

Last edited 7 months ago by Ingrid
Deborah Voll

Ingrid, I’ve suggested that my coaching clients go on and put their interests and location in the search engine to see what type of groups are available. I’ve connected with a bread-baking group in Seattle! It was enjoyable and we eventually evolved into baking bread for the food bank during the pandemic! Give it a try!


I’m at this point now. My son left home this year for university So i’m an empty nester this year. Combine that with being 61 and so thinking about retirement. I decided I’m too young to just imagine a life of traveling (been there, done that), gardening and walking groups. So I’ve gone back to study an MBA (while working) at a top university. It’s a lot of work but at this stage in life, it’s gratifying to see how much knowledge I have acquired and to share it with other students. There are lots of group assignments/presentations. It really has given me a whole lease of life! Of course it is very expensive, but seeing as I did a lot of travel in my 20s, this feels like a much more exciting use of my money than cruises or trips to Europe etc. I’m really enjoying the interactions with other students. My final year thesis will focus on succession planning. I don’t know what I will do once the business is successfully transferred, but I do feel that the university study is equipping me with new eyes on the world and a whole new level of confidence!it probably is fair to say that I have been worried about how to stay relevant when retired, but I kind of don’t have that worry anymore.

Last edited 7 months ago by Ingrid
Deborah Voll

Ingrid, Congratulations on your new chapter of University studies! That is fantastic! That’s a big commitment of time, money, and resources. Sounds like it is giving you the fulfillment you are looking for right now! I always say, “Take that first step. You never know where it will lead”. You are on an exciting journey!


Thanks Deborah! Yeah, I gave myself permission to quit after one or two papers if I felt like it. I don’t know where it will lead. Hopefully to having more confidence, broadened interests, new friends, fresh outlooks. Yes, hopefully also to an improved business and maybe a business excellence award. I’d be happy with those outcomes.
Maybe a new path after exiting the business? Maybe to serving on a board again? Maybe to writing a book? Maybe to business coaching? I don’t know! Maybe I’ll just feel like taking up gardening and walking groups!! LOL

Last edited 7 months ago by Ingrid
Eva Centeno

As a certified retirement coach who works with many clients entering or are in this new phase of life I can say it definitively takes planning. Working with a financial advisor to plan your ROI is one thing but working with a retirement coach and planning your ROL ( return on life is another. Take the time to figure out your next journey in life so you can continue to grow and flourish!

Catherine Vance

Retirement is just the next whistlestop on our journey. Retirement itself is a new stretch of
the journey! My colleagues (when I see them, which is less and less) say, “I thought you were retiring.” I respond, “Retirement is a process, not an event.”


Hi Catherine, I wonder if you could please consider elaborating on this? I suppose I think of retirement as an event, I.e.working one day, retired the next. Are you meaning that you are gradually reducing your working hours?

Deborah Voll

Catherine, I love your mindset “Retirement is a process and not an event”. With the clients I serve we experience different seasons in retirement. Once the “honeymoon” is over, I am often contacted for assistance on that next step. Everyone’s path is different and sounds like things are working well for you!

The Author

Deborah Voll is a Professional Life & Career Coach who knows from her own experience that “it’s never too late to have the life you want.” Deborah helps you break through the barriers so you can reach your goals. Reach out for a clarity call or check out her Passion and Purpose Workbook.

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