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Retirement as a canoe trip

Did you know people spend more time planning a two-week vacation than they do on a 25-year retirement plan?” asks Donna McCaw, author of the new book, ‘It’s your Time – Information and Exercises To Get You Ready For a Great Retirement.’ McCaw, who retired eight years ago after a career in education, is a speaker and workshop presenter on retirement readiness and retirement planning for women.
“When you retire you have to figure out who you are,” said McCaw, an Elora resident. “Our identities change, we are no longer defined by our jobs and our relationships at home change as well.”

McCaw said people planning to retire or have recently retired have to renegotiate the relationships they have with their partners.

WORKING TOWARDS LEISURE The key to a relaxing retirement is a good plan, which goes beyond finances, says author Donna McCaw.

“You have to figure out what you mean to each other and how to spend more time with each other since you both will be in the house at the same time.”

The book covers many facets of retirement, not just the financial burden that other books on the topic deal with.

McCaw writes about the emotional issues people may have moving from the work world to the world of retirement.

“Retiring without a plan is just like Wile E. Coyote when he runs off the edge of the cliff – you have no idea what life will be like.”

For McCaw, retirees must focus on how their lives are changing. No longer being a part of the social network at their former place of employment can be a difficult transition.

“You have to ask ‘who am I know? What am I going to be this time? How am I contributing to society?’”said McCaw. “Through the book, you learn how other retirees re-vocate, relocate and re-generate.”

According to McCaw there are three stages of retirement: Go Go, Slow Go, No Go.

“When someone retires they are full of energy, they go on vacations, start gardening, doing house repairs, it’s a very active stage,” said McCaw. “As they age they slow down and sometimes don’t feel like going out as much and sooner or later they are no longer active because of health issues or immobility.”

The wildcard is a person’s health, which determines how successful their retirement will be. The book covers the top health issues affecting both men and women and how to prevent or manage them and how to deal with the financial considerations of healthcare.

“It’s all about finding the right balance in your life.”

McCaw recommends retirees do some research for themselves including reading other books and websites.

“You have to take responsibility for your own retirement. You need to see the picture: just like a jigsaw puzzle box, you have to know where you are going to lay all your pieces.”

McCaw said that her book is a simple, practical, accessible and interactive guide to retirement. Successful retirees approach their retirement the way an experienced outdoors person plans a safe yet exciting canoe trip. Like that canoeist, retirees should over-prepare and then go with the flow.

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