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

I believe a huge part of this conversation depends on the context, and I see the context of the book is North American, but in some cultures, for example, inheritance is already predetermined who will get what. And even what will happen to the body or something like this. Also, for example, organ donation in some countries is not legalized yet, still there are other conditions and you have to educate yourself.

It’s so important to have these conversations and I could suggest that certainly for the financial side of things talk with a lawyer and most lawyers I know are willing to give you maybe half an hour of free time. Just at the very beginning, when you meet with a lawyer, don’t ask about making a will … all lawyers can make a will and they will all counsel you on how to make a will. Ask them what their experience has been with families where someone did not have a will? Ask them about those experiences. They will offer you horror stories you can’t believe that people would change, how when the mother and father passed away the children fought so bitterly that till this day years later they won’t speak to each other.

 At the end this is your decision to make, if it’s your will it’s your decision. And people have to honour that decision. And that’s why it’s called a will because it’s your will

When should a person start thinking about their retirement? I told you when I started reading the book I read the book because I was preparing for this interview. But later I thought I think it’s time I’m 42 and my husband is 52. But again, maybe this is the right time for me but not to someone else. In general, are there general rules or a best practice?

I started to write this book, all the books that I read in my approach to my retirement talked about the financial aspect. Yes, there are some books that really do talk a little bit about physical fitness.

There are no books that I found that talked about all three fitness’s. Now, most books will tell you that for the financial aspect you should start early. You start saving your money or take an RRSP or a TFSA and you start saving your money early. You might need to buy a life insurance if you have children  … they advise you on this sort of thing. Very few talk about the physical fitness. So if you are going to start saving perhaps in your late 20s or early 30s to start saving for your retirement. And it seems like a long way away you’re thinking. Oh my gosh! I’m 30 years old or I’m 28 years old and I’m not going to retire till I’m 60 or 65 that’s so far away. But you know that with the magic of compound interest is going to accumulate.

But there’s no compound interest for your physical fitness, so what do you want to do? You’re going to be physically fit now and you’re going to get into that habit of being physically fit whether it’s playing sports, whether it’s just going to the gym, whether it’s running marathons … whatever it might be, but if you start now whether you’re 20 years old or 30 or 40 or 50 and we all hear the stories about someone who retired and then they started running and now they running marathons like crazy. That is few and far between.

So we want to know that we are going to be physically fit. To do this start at an early age. As for your emotional fitness, the day that I retired or the day that you retire, the last day of work, you wake up on the next day and you say hey I don’t have to go to work today, now what I’m I going to do?

Emotional fitness is very important.
Emotional fitness is very important.

If you haven’t planned this out, well ,again maybe you going to clean the garage or you going to plant the flower bed or something like that, if you start planning your retirement, your emotional fitness two years, three years, five years before you retire say in your late 40s or your 50s you say, there’s a lot of things that I want to do and I really don’t have the time to do them today, now you can say ok I’m going to go dancing one hour each week, we are going to take a lesson one hour a week … and then by the time you retire you’ve got a number of these different activities you’re doing maybe one hour a week or two hours a week then the day that you retire all of a sudden you’ve got all this time so all these activities you’ve being doing you just going to continue doing them except now you’re going to do them more often, more frequently.

So you can dance two hours a week or three hours a week, you could devote more time to a service club, for example, you could play tennis more often, you could go golfing or bowling or whatever it might be … but you’ve already got a plan in place. I spoke with this one woman and she said six months after she retired she sort of realized that it was 11 o’clock in the morning … she was sitting in front of the television watching some silly show wearing her pyjamas and she realized that she’s been doing that for six months and she immediately found herself a part time job.

The tricky part about retirement these days is that it’s a system built on the traditional work 9 to 5. Now we have so many other models of career options and contemporary career models, like freelancers, part-timers, joining a virtual team where you work for other companies in other countries. So how this will affect our perception of retirement and planning for retirement?

Yeah, very good question. Like you said if people are working part time or if you’re going to have multiple careers in their lifetime .. take that also with the fact that I’ve read this somewhere that children born today will live until they are 110 or a 120 years old. So they probably won’t even financially be ready to retire until they are perhaps 80. For them to save the money or to invest the money, so there are all kinds of different options to think about.

Old age comes with all sorts of physical challenges and some people lead hectic lifestyles and approach their retirement years with baggage’s of health problems so if you‘re in this situation and you have not plan early enough… how to plan for your physical fitness and wellbeing?

Yes, well someone that I spoke with about this very topic said to me that some people do not win the health lottery and it seems almost true in a way that so many people seem to have won the health lottery they are healthy, they are fit. So it seems to be the luck of the draw I mean obviously you want to be looking after yourself, exercising, eating the right foods, don’t smoke, don’t drink too much, but each of us is different. So when you’re planning your physical fitness you have to consider all this. For myself I wanted to do as much as I possibly could, I was very fortunate in that I hired a fitness coach. And she was very good. She said to me “tell me what hurts, where do you have pain, what are the things that hurt you more” and she went through and she tested me on a variety of things: what can I do, what can’t I do and then she tailored the exercises around those things that I couldn’t do. So I would suggest that at least in the beginning if you’ve never done any exercises or it’s being a long time you can hire a coach for three months or six months and I know it’s expensive but it is so worth it. That coach will again look at the good things you can do, what are the things you can’t do and they are going to teach you, they are going to show you the equipment in the gym,  which a lot of it can be dangerous.

Originally posted 2017-06-21 17:07:16.

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