Retire Fit, Fit and Fit: Interview with Author Howard Pell

Interview with Howard Pell by Hanan Awaad

Howard Pell's new book
Howard Pell’s new book

Howard Pell is the author of ‘Retire Fit, Fit and Fit: Become Financially, Physically and Emotionally Fit”. In his book, Howard offers his advice on retirement based on his and his wife’s experience. The book is full of relevant resources, forms and illustrations, in addition to many engaging stories.

Howard, thank you for being here today with me for this interview with Corporita. when we first met you told me the question “what are you? “ has a great significance and you told me all about your book. Why such question is important.

Yes, that’s a very good question and maybe I can preface it by saying ‘what was I?’. When you meet new people and you are not retired you are someone; you’re a doctor, a lawyer some professional, a CEO, a police officer… something like that. But when you retire you used to be a doctor or you used to be a lawyer or a police officer. And at one time I used to be a trainer for a software company here in Waterloo. Today I’m retired and rather than just say well I I’m retired, especially there are so many people these days who are retired. I was looking for a new way to define myself and so the way I’ve done that is through the things that I’m involved in today. For example, I’m an amateur filmmaker….  I’m a Rotarian and I spend a lot of my time working with my Rotary club and with the district at Rotary International and just recently I’ve become an author I I’m working on a second book now. So when I introduce myself to people I say well I’m these things now.

When I started reading the book, first I thought this book is not for me. I’m in my early 40s … I’m thinking of how to work not how to retire. But once I started to read the book I found that it’s really valuable and the sooner that you start thinking of the things mentioned in the book the better. Some of our audience might be in their 20s and 30s and 40s and 50s and they might think ‘they are talking about retirement … it’s not for me’ and this is the same attitude I had when I started reading the book and I discovered that actually, we need to read about and plan for retirement early. I like the way you started the book by defining retirement and how retirement means different things to different people. What does retirement mean to you?

Actually, I was hoping that target age group for this book would be people in their 40s and their 50s because by the time you’re in your 60s you would be already retiring and think it’s important that you plan early.

What retirement means to me is that I’m no longer working for money … yes,  I’m still working in essence that I’m doing things … I’m not just sitting around watching television or something like that … I’m really doing things like writing a book, creating a film but I’m not doing it for a salary, I’m not doing it for a financial gain … I’m doing it because I want to do it and I will say the same thing about just anyone who retires that perhaps your goals, your aspirations in your retirement might be to become a very good dancer, or work in your garden, or find a new sport or perhaps you think you’ve always wanted to play tennis and now you really going to play tennis. These are things that you’re going to do without any thought of any kind of financial gain, but you’re going to do them because you want to do them. All the deadlines that used to be set for me by my manager, by my customers by whomever,  now all of the deadlines are set by me.

So actually retirement means that you will become your own boss?

In essence yes and along with that of course comes the responsibility of really setting your own deadlines and being your own boss and not falling into the trap of really not doing anything.

Some people would say to me, and I’ve spoken with many people about their retirement even before the book and since the book, ‘you know when I retire I want to clean out the garage and I’m going to repair something in the backyard or the fence’ , that’s wonderful for the first few weeks, but once you’ve done that you’ve got 30 years possibly ahead of you that you’re going to be retired and you have to fill that time with something that you feel is productive, something that you feel is worthwhile.

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