Work till you are 65 then stop work and live off your pension?

This traditional view of retirement no longer exists for many.  Lifestyles and legislation have changed it. More people take or face early retirement, either through choice or redundancy, with an opportunity to change their lifestyle at an earlier age.

Many of us are healthier and are living longer, providing more choice and more opportunity for people to do things they’ve always wanted to do; to live their life the way they want.

Technology has meant that people can vary their pattern of work. Working from home or almost anywhere in the world gives flexibility on hours and where you can be based.

And portfolio lifestyles have become more regular, with self-employed people taking on a variety of projects or contracts to suit their requirements.

We can work if we want, when we want and where we want.

This is good news for many – or it should be. But, it can also bring worries and concerns. Maybe you don’t have a plan and worry how you will fill your time to ensure you don’t get bored? Perhaps you don’t have any hobbies or things you particularly want to do? Maybe you are concerned that you will suddenly have no routine, company or a purpose to your days? Perhaps you are worried how you will afford it?

These concerns are real – and can be alleviated.

More and more people are taking on a life that involves a combination or work, family, travel, health, charity or community projects. Where work plays a part, either to provide funds for other things or because someone genuinely likes that they are doing. But, work can play a smaller and smaller role at an earlier point in life.

It’s how life has changed for me over the last 5-6 years. At that stage The Red Rubber Ball Company was my life – coaching clients who wanted to improve things in their current role or develop skills for promotion or a new role. I set up The Red Rubber Ball Foundation, so we could help kids in Kenya and get involved in other community projects.

As this has grown, the balance is spent on things I don’t get paid for. And that’s fine because it was my choice and its what I want to do. It fits the lifestyle we want and allows me the flexibility to do other things – like volunteering at the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, climbing Kilimanjaro, working with kids in Namibia.

I coach clients around two to three days a week; work on Foundation charity projects 2 days a week and take regular holidays.

This isn’t the life for everyone – but it’s the one that Deb and I want. It hasn’t come about by accident, but because we have taken small steps to make it happen.

And it can be the same for anyone approaching or considering retirement. You may be able to do many of the things you want, if you put your mind to it.

I simply follow four principles:

CHOICEIts my life so my responsibility
PASSION (or PURPOSE)The things I’m interested in; that I care about
VISION The things I want to be, do and have
ACTIONThe steps I take

If I can, anyone can.