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Earlier this year, I had the great fortune to sit down with one of my long-time business partners, clients and friends, Michele Landess. We spoke about her experience with leading and managing teams in a large, complex financial services institution with challenging deadlines and a highly distributed workforce.  Now that Michele has retired (or “rewired” if you prefer), she was able to share many great insights and perspectives with the benefit of hindsight and introspection.

What follows are excerpts from our conversation.

Part 5: On Embracing Retirement

Q: Some people fear retirement. What advice would you give people who are going to retire in the next five to ten years to help them overcome those fears?

A:Well, I think the reason a lot of people fear retirement is that they’re afraid they aren’t going to have enough money; I think that’s probably the biggest reason.  I’m a planner – so what I did was determine how much money I thought I’d need to live on every year, by making a budget. I tracked my spending carefully, and I said this is what I’m going to need annually to live comfortably. Then I got with my certified financial planner, who worked up my numbers. He came back and said, you have enough!  And I was like, no, I can’t possibly have enough. So I worked another year, and then he said, youreallyhave enough. So I said OK!  And I retired, and it’s amazing, and if you can do it, do it. It’s the best thing. Enjoy, live your life, spend your money, don’t leave it for your kids!

Q:That’s what I tell my dad all the time – I’m fine, spend it while you can!

A:And do things with the people you love. That’s what I’m doing.

Q:That’s fantastic.  So it really comes down to planning, and it might have helped that you worked for so many years for a large bank, in the wealth management division, so you were definitely trained in the discipline of financial planning.

A: Yes, I think so. I always wanted to retire at a certain age, so I always had it in my mind how I would do it. Life happens, and not everybody can do it, so I’m very, very, very fortunate. As for other things people worry about, it might be am I going to be bored? Work gives you a sense of purpose and validation. But the truth is, I’m busier, or as busy, as I was before, doing the things that really I want to do. I haven’t met anybody who’s retired that said boy, I wish I was back at work. That just hasn’t happened.

Q: Thank you so much Michele for sharing your thoughts with me today, and I can’t wait to see you again in a few months and hear more about your adventures in retirement!

A:You’re very welcome – I hope this has been helpful and I look forward to our next visit!

We hope you enjoyed this interview as much as we did! In case you missed any installments, check out Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4

Michele Landess recently retired from one of the nation’s largest financial services institutions as Senior Vice President in the Wealth Management Division. In her tenure, Michele lead several large initiatives including the industries largest ever bank trust integration and most recently running a program of large transformation initiatives for the bank. Michele has always been known as a great leader and business strategist who commands respect from everyone she comes into contact with and has encouraged and supported the leadership development of her team — all while managing huge initiatives in a large, complex, highly matrixed organization.