Title Card - Retirement

What Do I Want My Retirement To Look Like?

It’s generally accepted that having a plan is far better than not having one, and when it comes to your future, it’s certainly no different. Many of us live day-to-day, seeing where it takes us and living life in the moment, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you must also be forward thinking at least some of the time. Understanding where you want to go will help immensely to fill in the pieces in the middle. You won’t necessarily get all of them, that will come with time, but you will at least have a few milestones to hit along the way if you have something you are shooting for.

Personally, I have always envisioned my retirement to come after I have saved up enough to live comfortably, or set myself up with a good pension to allow me to use it and my savings in conjunction. I also want to retire having accomplished something tangible, feeling as though I have made a visible difference in the world no matter where I end up. Retirement for me should feel as though I have put in the solid effort I needed to get to where I can feel comfortable saying I can work with what I have for the rest of my life, and also making a mark on the world, even in my own small way.

Well, that’s great and all, but now I have to question how I get there. Obviously these are very vague ideas of what I want to accomplish, but how do I achieve it? For a number of years, I strived to work for the Canadian government, as it felt like my workplace of choice for all my needs. At the time of this post, it pays well, gives a good pension and great benefits, and gives you a guaranteed salary raise every year if you haven’t reached the highest pay level in your classification. Working for the federal government, it’s easier to see the impact that your position is making as you look at the publicly-available chains of command. It also offers great job security, something I highly value with the great uncertainty in the job market these days.

I was very fortunate to get my start at Canada Revenue Agency in an entry-level position, and thereby kickstarting my career as a federal employee. But this journey is far from over. I still have many steps along the way to reaching my retirement goal, and there are many potential paths I could take to reach it. Constantly learning and improving my skills are key to advancement in the federal sector, gleaning new knowledge that could be used to help you find the next stepping stone in your career. As with anything, I must be assertive and search for the positions I want proactively to find what I want where I need it, and keep my contacts close to build bridges to other departments.

What about you? What’s your retirement memo to yourself? Think about where you want to go and how you want to feel when you finally exit the workforce for good and make plans on how you would like to get there. There’s no time like the present, and remember: your plans shouldn’t be solid! Things change all the time, including your priorities, and it’s generally a good idea to revisit the exercise every now and then to see if you are still on track with the path you wanted.

It’s your career, all you have to do is take the wheel and drive it.