With the Super Bowl a recent memory and Peyton Manning being the winning quarterback, the topic of retirement is front and center on every news media outlet in the country. John Elway said something that really struck me. Obviously we remember John Elway as a Hall of Fame quarterback who went out on top with a Super Bowl Trophy and MVP award. He recently said (and I am paraphrasing), “What we feel (the Broncos) makes no difference, it’s Peyton who has to make this decision. 99% of the decision is pretty easy. It’s the 1% of actually taking the step that is the difficult part and may be more difficult than the other 99% combined.” I remember John sobbing at his press conference when he retired from the NFL as a player. I suspect it was because he loved what he did for a living and didn’t know what the future held or what he was going to do to prove his worth and show his value. Now we see John as a General Manager of a Super Bowl winning team, still doing something he loves.
Looking back, his journey is similar to many baby boomers nearing retirement today. The decision is sometimes hard because we don’t know what we’ll do, what will fill our days and help us feel we are contributing to society. Maybe we really don’t want to retire but other pressures such as corporate leaders, health, family, or society are pressuring us to do so. We want to transition in to something but are unsure of what that will look like and what we’ll do without a paycheck coming through the door. More than a retirement it has become a transition in to doing the things we want to do.
John Elway found his second career centered around something he loves. Many boomers are doing the same thing such as; volunteering at their church or favorite charity, starting their own business doing something they’ve always loved, baking, woodworking, spending more time with grandkids or great grandkids, traveling and even going back to school to learn a new career.
Taking that leap in to retirement is a difficult thing to do. Very few of us are going to cry at our retirement party but, nonetheless, moving on is a hard. As you plan for retirement ask yourself, “What is important to me that I would love to do?” I think it will help taking that last 1% step much easier.