How to Plan For Your Second Act

Photo of a senior person contemplating the future

By Rienzie P Biolena, RFP®, CWM®

For most of us Filipinos, we look forward to retirement as that time when we would stop working, take things slow, and just enjoy the fruits of our years of hard work. Retirement life for most would consist mainly of being domesticated in the house, being active in socio-civic organizations, or might be tending their own farm, travelling, and treating their grandchildren as often as possible.

But for some, retirement is just a mandatory act wherein they relinquish their day job — given their way, they still would want to continue working or be involved in the field of expertise or passion. If you are one of those people, then here are the steps and tips you would want to undertake in having your second act:

Step 1 Imagine how you would want your retirement life to be.

Everything starts with a vision. Whether you’re nearing retirement life or just contemplating it, it would be best if you have an idea of how you see your senior citizen years to be. Would it be spent in the countryside? Does it mean having your own farm? Or does it mean being active still in managing the family business? Would you still be taking an active role in your industry, albeit in a different capacity? How long would you be in such a role?

Having that desired vision of your retirement life would determine your post-retirement career and its level of extent. For some people, they don’t even seem to retire. Think John Gokongwei of JG Summit, Socorro Ramos of National Bookstore, Ambassador Jose Cuisia, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, and a host of other notable personalities who are still active in their businesses and industry even past the mandatory retirement age.

Step 2 Determine your level of financial needs.

This is important. In Japan, the senior citizens are now active more than ever to seek a post-retirement career due to financial considerations. Their level of pension and benefits are not enough to sustain their needs through their retirement years, and so they seek extra work just to make ends meet.

Whether you receive a lump-sum payment or are receiving regular pension, inflation during retirement is still your number one enemy, so it would make sense to factor-in your retirement sources and needs and if they still match. Should your retirement pay be more than necessary to afford you a very comfortable lifestyle, then financial considerations would not be so much of a problem. But if there is a huge gap between them, then taking up a post-retirement work can definitely bridge that gap.

If you are gearing up for having your own business, you might incur some debt or spend part of your retirement pay as a capital to set-up the business. But be very careful and bear in mind that your retirement pay is all that you have — should the business go down, your retirement money goes down the drain as well.

Step 3 Rummage through your contacts, old and new.

For all your 40 or so years of working, connecting and meeting people, having tons of contacts naturally goes with it. You have accumulated a lot of network through the years, why not use them? There are some you can renew or reconnect your ties with, someone who can help you with your business or your passion. With all your knowledge, skills and wisdom, you may even have a consultancy firm set-up, or they can be your initial customers or distribution network. In an ever-increasing interconnected world leveraging on your network will make your post-retirement act come to fruition easily.

Step 4 Find out your passions.

There might be things that you may have wanted to do before but had no time to pursue because of work and family responsibilities. Now that you have less responsibilities in work and family—which means you practically have all the time in the world all by yourself—you can pursue them more freely. You may get involved with charity or community service, or pursue a hobby and turn it into a moneymaking machine.

A former boss of mine pursued her passion of painting after retirement. For some, they go into consultancy work or teach because they want to share what they have learned all the years and pass them on to the younger generation.

Step 5 Continue with your expertise.

If you’re good at it, then continue it. Become a subject matter expert. You can pass on and teach, become a lecturer or a consultant, or be a member of a Board of Director in the industry that you have been involved with. With all the years of experience, mistakes and lessons learned, your insights would be most valuable and carry a lot of weight, and your knowledge passed on would not just be mere so, but a legacy to the younger generation.

I have known former bankers who are now in the different boards of investment committees or schools, or lecturers in financial programs or who have been doing consultancy work, offering their expertise to the same industry. Moreover, one retired professor I know has built her own pre-school in her home and continued her legacy there.

Retirement does not necessarily mean an end to something, but rather, it can just be a transition to a more productive and lasting purpose in life.


Rienzie P Biolena, RFP ®, CWM ® is one of the first Registered Financial Planners and a pioneering Chartered Wealth Manager® in the country. He is a Senior Financial Advisor in a leading asset management company, a former banker, a freelance writer in the local and international magazines and a resource speaker on personal finance.

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