Anticipating a third-age

Couple on bench overlooking the ocean

A few years ago I was asked to help a small NGO in Uganda to plan for its future leadership. Its founder was expecting to retire and neither he nor his colleagues had made a plan. The date had been approaching for over 60 years and it was taking everyone by surprise.

The third-age is that period we sometimes call retirement. Many find it as busy a time as their formal working lives – they just do different things. How we choose to engage with retirement will mark out how satisfied and fulfilled we will be. For small organisations, the retirement of a senior member of staff can mean the end of its life. So planning for the third-age is critical.

Unsurprisingly, retirement has been on my mind for a few years and together with my colleagues and Board members we have begun the process of planning for the future. Of course, I would like to think that I could go on forever. Being realistic I know that isn’t likely. Overseas travel will become less easy and travel insurance will become increasingly expensive.

Thinking ahead and making provision for our organisation’s vision and mission to continue is a pragmatic and sensible action. In larger organisations it happens because there is a plan. Smaller agencies may not have given the future much thought. Today has enough worries to fill all the time.

Planning ahead can be rewarding and fulfilling. Reviewing where we have been and looking for the way forward can reveal the things we have missed as we have gone along.

I still have a few years before the government offers me my pension. In the meantime I can plan wisely for myself and for my organisation.