Retirement blog is a golden oldie
There’s nothing fun about being called a geriatric. Golden-ager and senior citizen aren’t much better.
Bill Storie and Robin Trimingham realised that when they started a retirement blog in 2013.
“Maybe in some circumstances those words have a positive connotation, but there is also a lot of negativity that goes with them,” said Mr Storie, 67.
“We struggled and struggled to find a positive word.”
Finally, they invented their own word: ‘olderhood’.
“First you have childhood, then you have adulthood,” said Ms Trimingham, 52.
“Those are both positive active states of being and we wanted a continuation of that for a third phase of life when you leave work.”
When they started the blog in 2013 they expected it to appeal mainly to people in Bermuda. Instead, they gathered more than 70,000 subscribers worldwide.
“Once the basic needs of food and housing are covered, olderhood issues are pretty much universal,” said Ms Trimingham.
They’ve made video segments about olderhood for local television and have expanded into a club Olderhood International, which includes 9,000 members.
The blog was so successful the pair started a company, the Olderhood Group, offering an online retirement assessment tool and lifestyle coaching.
The initial idea for the blog was Mr Storie’s.
He retired in 2013 after a 40-year career as a chartered accountant. He started thinking about retirement issues after a difficult visit with a financial advisor.
Despite his long background in finance, he had trouble understanding the adviser’s rhetoric, and worse, the much younger man didn’t understand olderhood needs.
“The advice he was giving didn’t correlate to my expected lifestyle in retirement,” said Mr Storie.
“He understood the number-crunching, but he didn’t fully appreciate the lifestyle issues associated with a fixed income in retirement from an emotional perspective.
“Don’t tell me I need more money, tell me what I can do with the money I have got.
“I don’t expect the financial provider to address the emotional issues, but most retirees do want to know about them.”
Mr Storie left the pension meeting thinking if he, with his finance background, had difficulty understanding, what did the ordinary senior understand?
He thought of starting a blog, but didn’t really know how to go about it. When he met up with old friend Ms Trimingham, she offered to help him get started.
They are now partners on the project.
Ms Trimingham said they worked well together because Mr Storie knows what it is to be retired and she knows what it is to be at the preparation stage.
“We are walking the walk,” she said. “This has changed my whole life.”
She learnt that preparing for retirement isn’t just about financial planning, it’s also about figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life.
Ms Trimingham said one of the most common issues facing retirees is boredom.
“Until I retired I never thought of the week as being seven days long,” said Mr Storie.
“I thought of it as being five days long with two days off.”
Ms Trimingham said the switch to a seven-day way of thinking can be a shock.
“Up until the day of your retirement you are handing things off to other people, e-mails are coming in,” said Ms Trimingham.
“You have dinner and go to bed, and in the middle of the night your working life is gone.
“The next morning you are entirely in charge of your whole life.
“Before, your time was almost entirely structured by the dictates of work.
“Now, you have to come up with what you are going to do, plan it and carry it through.
“That catches an incredible number of people by surprise.”
She said when people are asked what they are going to do when they retire the most common answer is: “sleep in”.
“Or they say they want to go on a world tour or play golf,” said Ms Trimingham.
“That is not a life plan.
“That might be good for a couple of months, but after that, all of a sudden you get this feeling like, I need something more.”
She said while there is a wealth of expertise in the financial planning arena, there are few people talking about the other aspects of retirement.
“It is really important to save up for retirement,” she said.
“But who tells you to think about your family relationships, or what hobbies you want to pursue?
“What are productive ways you can spend your time and make a contribution that you would enjoy and help people?”
To help retirees answer these questions they wrote a book, The Third Journey, to be released in the autumn.
“A lot of this book is about navigating your first year and transitioning out of the workplace and into being fully retired,” said Ms Trimingham.
For more information see www.olderhood.com.
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