The Privilege to Grow Old
Rewind the Week – 11 July 2014

Crabby Old Lady and Retirement Coaches

Did you know that 11,000 people in the United States retire from the workforce every day? Crabby Old Lady doesn't know if that's true but it's what people who call themselves retirement coaches tell her.

Whether the number is real or not, there are way too many new retirees not to be taken advantage of. There's money to made from these folks and the recently invented career of retirement coach is doing its best to pick up some of the loose change – a lot more than you would think people would pay.

Crabby Old Lady has recently been receiving offers from retirement coaches to write guest posts for TimeGoesBy that will help her readers (that's you) become “fulfilled and find meaning” in their later years.

It's about needing a “trusted guide,” these emails tell Crabby, who will “generate options” because “transitioning out of the workforce" can be confusing, wrote one coach whose services help her clients into a “welcoming retirement.”

Does it surprise you to know that you don't need to move to Florida or Arizona to be happy when you retire? You would think that's a no brainer. Nevertheless, that's one coach's lead insight. (Maybe he's a real estate agent in real life.)

One warned that during counseling, which can last as long as 18 months, “you have to be very patient, understand the complex changes, and make no long-term commitments for a while.”

Just like like AA. Or, anyway, that's what it sounds like to Crabby for what appears to her to be a non-existent problem.

Keep in mind that this isn't financial information from a licensed advisor. This is – well, Crabby's not sure what it is.

Retirement coaches are not psychiatrists or psychologists. In fact, anyone can be a retirement coach.

No training is required, no licensing. There is at least one certification program that for $1200 will supply 10 one-hour webinars and issue a certificate but that's just another money-making scheme. Plenty of retirement coaches claim no special training or certification.

Even so, the gig pays well. Charges of $100 an hour are not uncommon and one coach's website lists $650 for three hours of coaching via telephone. Back in 2012, Patricia Marx reported in The New Yorker that retirement coaching can cost up to $150,000.

It sounds like a scam to Crabby Old Lady and leaves her wondering who would pay for such twaddle.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Maureen Browning: Our Mothers


So "retirement coaching" is now a thing?


Reminds me of the fake taxi drivers who try to snag tourists in airport terminals.

"Yo, welcome to retirement! Can I take your bag?"

"No, what you can do is take off before I kick your dumb ass to Mars."

"Wait, you need me to show you the way."

"No, you need to get lost."


As P.T. Barnum said,"There's a sucker born every minute."

But at the same time, you have to give 'em credit; if you shake the money tree hard enough, a lot of loose change will fall.

By the way, would you like to buy a bridge? Let me tell you about it, on the way to Brooklyn.

The federal government provides free financial counseling seminars and free transition counseling seminars to its retirees. You can take them 10 years before your planned retirement or at year of retirement. I took the seminars twice and found them most useful. They are given by trained people in the field.

Retirement coaches are probably yesterday's life coaches in many cases. The fact that they aren't trained or have standards of any kind in the industry is enough reason to stay away in my opinion.

Good golly, Miss Molly... My husband and I retired many years ago without a coach. I suppose we didn't even read the rule book.. Wonder how many we broke. Hehe!

I bet a nickel these so called experts are all under 50 years old.

Maybe what those people who think they have to have a coach when they retire need to ask themselves is "why am I retiring in the first place".

We Americans love that kind of stuff---Remember "What Color is Your Parachute"? or "Who Moved My Cheese" are just two that jump into my head.

We have books and seminars and courses for all kinds of things-- social, business so I guess retirement is fair game.

Hokey and clever with simple solutions for us all.

So far, to me the best part of retirement has been to move beyond the "what now" floundering - on my own steam. After decades of directed striving, learning who I am in the absence of Must Do That More Of That Better has been a real joy. One I owe to no coach.

I put this in the same category as Life Coaches..if you don't know your own mind by the time you retire, noone can help you!!

Retirement coaches! Just another racket.

Following a despicable family trauma, and 7 years of working for pay, I ran away from home.

At that point I was 45 yrs. old. Then 2.5 years of college was a key to learning, that was pivotal.

From that self-confident space I knew that I could do and be anything I chose.

The thought of living in an RV and traveling wherever I wanted entered my mind. While I had no, nada, zip, zero regular income of any variety, I KNEW, beyond a shadow of doubt, that I COULD and WOULD make the RV lifestyle my own and enjoy every moment!

That was 30+ years ago! An RV
is still my only desired home.

Becoming a Full Time RV'er was the 2nd best thing I have
done for myself! The first was running away from home and
going to college!



Perhaps there are some people who do (or would) actually benefit from such coaching. However, it's a bit insulting to the intelligence of those of us who never thought that we might need help retiring.

The company from which I retired was having layoffs during the few years preceding my retirement. To reduce the number of layoffs those whose (age)+ (years of service) came to 80 or more were offered a sweet deal to retire. Three of the five people in our organization who were in positions like mine, plus our boss, plus his boss were among the many who accepted the offer. Special retirement seminars were offered to those who accepted the offer.

I wasn't ready to retire. Eighteen months later, on my drive into work one morning, I decided that the time had come. I told my (new) boss who told her (new) boss, and I informed my direct reports - by 11:00am - that I would be retiring in 15 weeks. It was an incredibly pleasant 15 weeks during which we transferred all of my projects and people and during which I caught up on stuff and advised those who took over my projects.

Now, I average about 20 hours per week doing volunteer work and cannot understand a friend of about 50 years' standing who spends her time keeping a spotless house and reading.

We each have to invent our own retirement, I guess.

I'm speechless!!! I never thought a person would need someone else to teach them how to live. If they haven't figured that out by the time they retire I doubt if there is any help for them.

This cracked me up. My sister just retired as principal of a large elementary school. I offered to be her retirement coach for $99.99 a month - but she must sign a contract for at least a year... duh.

Well, there's the old saying, "A fool and his money are soon parted." But seriously, part of the fun of living is making it up as you go along. I wouldn't want someone telling me what to do. Now, I wouldn't mind sharing my explorations and general craziness with someone, but that's what friends are for. No need for a coach.

I raised a family and worked a full time job while doing so. Now I am supposed to need someone to tell me how to do whatever the hell I please. I don't think so!

Some people need help navigating major life transitions, some don't. Any member of the helping professions should not "tell you how to live", or "tell me what to do".

While I agree that some of the prices you quote are staggeringly high, given the unwise, ill-informed decisions- financial and otherwise- I have seen some newly-retired persons make, a few hundred dollars spent on expert cunselling might be a good investment.

I think the ranks of these "coaches," retirement and otherwise, are filled with those whose mindsets, and/or egos, tell them that the people around them are stupider than they are, and thus it is their sacred duty to rescue them.

Many of the same questions and issues about retirement coaches also apply to the deliberately confusing world of "certified financial planners." Helaine Olen, author of Pound Foolish, wrote an excellent essay for the Guardian, "Whose side is your financial adviser on, anyway?" and so has Jill Schlesinger, former Editor-at-Large for CBS, in a recent column, "Financial Literacy Month Fiasco" Finally, the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement provides excellent info about financial advisors:

My wife was my retirement coach. Her advice? "Get up off your butt and find something to do!" Worked for me.

Our church once hired a "coach" for a lenten program. It was drivel from the word go. I asked her where she got her training. "From a coaching school."

Your notes today are so much fun. I agree with them, no coach needed here for either of us. I have and do now know two folks that couldn't retire. They are missing a lot of fun and balance in life.

Retirement is heaven. Yes, I travel and I read gobs. I also volunteer at our local American Cancer Society Discovery shop. I'm their Wednesday book lady and the full time Facebook person. Just this week, I received a note from my Alma Mater. Would I like to volunteer at their new Veterans Center? This is something that's needed. As a veteran, this is also something I might do. Retirement opens some wonderful doors.

I quite agree with Ronni's post and the many excellent comments about "retirement coaches" whose training is questionable at best.

Fortunately, there is much accurate and essential information on various government websites. For example, long before retiring, it is essential to check out the Social Security Office's website for information about the timing of retirement from your job and the amount of your Social Security check.

Scam, indeed.

To Elizabeth, who ran away from home at 45 - That sounds like a fascinating story. Good for you. I would love to hear more.

I found myself shaking my head and muttering "only in America" but when I look at the self-help books, they are written by people who have latched on to American ideas/scams and promoting them in Europe.

I would say though that there is a need for some kind of counselling service for those whose personas are completely wrapped up in their working lives and without that, they lose their sense of identity. For some, they fall into a deep depression, others take to the bottle. Otherwise competent, high achieving people become or feel useless after the initial euphoria of retirement. I have seen it happen.

I say "counselling service" but I don't think that's the right expression either. I'm thinking of older, creative groups who could help those floundering find meaning in their retirement, and not for money either.

We have a lady in our acquaintance who likes to think of herself as a guru for others' lives. Yet, I'm not very impressed with the way she lives her own so I sure haven't gone to any of her trainings. Here's the thing, if I want to 'coached,' 'trained,' or 'consulted,' I want someone whose life is worth emulating.

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