Evelyn Hannon: Aging Disgracefully


Have You Thought About the Type of Retirement You Want?

After You Retire, Then What?

Have You Thought About the Type of Retirement You Want?

A few years back I was invited to the Yukon by the Canadian Tourism Commission to moderate a panel of bloggers. At that event I was introduced as ‘The Grandmother of Women’s Travel’ for the work I’ve done on behalf of female travelers.

After the event, a blogger from Beijing came running up to me, huffing and puffing and asked: "Are you really Evelyn Hannon?"

"Yes," I answered.

"Can I have a photo with you," he asked, barely able to catch his breath.

"Of course," I said.

After we were done, I asked why it was so important for him to have this picture.

He looked at me, smiled...and said: "Because I heard you were the oldest blogger in the world."

Actually, he was close to being right. I’m a single, self-supporting woman travel writer, approaching my 76th birthday. Today, as a healthy, still energetic journalist, it remains easy for me to stay in the work force, but yet, I’m realistic. I do know that the day will come when I will have to (perhaps even want to) face my retirement. It’s interesting (and a bit scary) for me to think beyond this career that I love. How will I spend my post retirement years? What type of lifestyle do I want? Where do my priorities lie? 

When I was in my 50s and traveling the world doing writing assignments, I had a clear vision of semi-retirement at 60. My children would already be adults, living their own lives and I’d begin living my dream of being a local in the major cities of the world. Vivid scenarios of this lifestyle danced in my head. I could see some years spent working in an off-beat job in Paris, teaching English as a second language in Barcelona, or maybe even taking cooking classes in Israel. Such were my sweet imaginings waiting to come to fruition!

Ha, ha, ha. Silly me. In my sixties, my first grandchild was born and then three more followed. Poof! My retirement ideas of moving abroad went up in smoke. It would have taken wild horses to separate me from those new babies. Now I was thinking ahead to their birthday parties, taking them on trips, spoiling them silly and babysitting when their parents needed me.

Today, fifteen years later, my reality is different once again. My grandchildren no longer need me in the same way. They are busy with their own friends and most of their spare time is taken up with school work and extra-curricular activities. Thank goodness, really! Their energy level is far greater than mine. In fact, my female pals and I joke that soon we're all going to share a big house and hire gorgeous young men to take care of our shopping, cooking and cleaning needs. Joking aside (whether you are 35, 45, or 75), all of us need to sit down and think hard about our retirement priorities.

Helpful Tools to help plan the retirement of your dreams

How you’ll spend your TIME, rather than your MONEY is the focus of the Retirement Designers reality series hosted by RBC’s resident Retirement Designer, Bill Hill. This video shows the surprising results when one Canadian couple nearing their own retirement opens up to each other about what they really want to do once they leave the work force. Check it out. Like my own plans over the years, some of your dreams might need a reality check and some finer financial tuning. See it here:

After watching the video, try out RBC's fun, interactive tool to help figure out your personal lifestyle goals, what will keep you active, engaged and (most important of all) enthusiastic about getting out of bed every morning. There are also retirement tips and ideas offered by experts, and a helpful downloadable checklist. Even if you can't read it all today, bookmark it for the next time you begin fretting about the subject.

Let’s face it. Not one of us has a say in what life has in store for us. However, with careful preparation we can do our darndest to live long and to make our retirement years as chock full of life as possible.