It’s widely believed that knowledge is power in business and life, and experience is priceless. That’s why many people I’ve observed nearing retirement age look to mentorship as a way to stay connected to their professions and pass on their lifetime of learnings to the next generation.
But how often have we been stuck trying to make some form of technology work, have we heard the flippant comment, ‘just ask a 12-year-old’? My recent conversation with a client prompted me to write down some thoughts.
It made me think, what if the conventional mentorship model was flipped? Could it also benefit older workers who don’t want to fall behind the technological and social innovations that are quickly changing our world?
Working with young people could also enhance the proverbial “young at heart” effect that helps retirees live purposefully in the second half of their lives.
There are three reasons I can think of why finding a younger mentor, preferably one who has already entered the world of work (and is not 12!), could keep you sharp and boost the return on your life at the later stages of your career and into retirement.
1 – See the cutting edge.
There’s a generation of digital natives behind you who have grown up with a different relationship to technology than any previous generation. No matter how diligently you’ve tried to stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, younger people are already looking further ahead.
Let a younger mentor help you learn to use the latest tools and wrap your head around emerging technologies, theories, and philosophies. In turn, you’ll be able to bring your seasoned perspective to the table and apply what you’re learning in ways your mentor might not think of.
That’s a recipe for innovation that could make your mentorship relationship more valuable and your retirement more rewarding.
2 – Make change an empowering habit.
I have observed that pensioners with the most challenging time transitioning into retirement often struggle with any change in their lives. Without the familiar comforts and challenges of their careers, these folks experience a crisis of identity that they may never fully move past.
Learning from a younger mentor can push you out of your comfort zone and broaden your perspective. Each new idea or experience you open yourself up to will make the next one you encounter less scary.
And a willingness to face challenges, conquer them, and learn from losses will serve you well in other aspects of your retirement as well, whether you’re trying to build a healthier exercise routine or navigating new tech (ostensibly to make your life easier!) at home with your partner.
3 – Prepare for your next adventure.
Retirement used to mean you turn 65 and stop working. But today’s retirees who stay healthy, active, and curious are entering a period of their lives where they have so many ways to enrich themselves and the world around them.
So, how could you use everything you learn from a younger mentor in retirement? How could you grow, surprise yourself, have more meaningful experiences, and give back?
Could you take on a part-time job as a professional consultant? You could become a teacher or a volunteer. You might take on younger or older mentees from different backgrounds who will continue to enrich and diversify your retirement network.
Or, you could start the company where you always dreamed of working and hire yourself as the CEO. Your younger mentor could provide valuable insights on diversity hiring initiatives, culture building, choosing a tech stack, harnessing AI, and next-gen marketing that could accelerate your new firm to the head of the pack.
Working with a younger mentor is just one way to expand your vision of what’s possible in retirement.
We have a suite of interactive Financial Planning tools that can help you (and your partner) create a new weekly schedule, learn from others’ successes and mistakes, and live the best life possible with the money you have.
I’d love to hear your views on the topic.