Quite a few people have asked me – why did you set up Fifty Plus Harties?
So here goes…
I was lucky enough to be able to retire at 55 and move from Johannesburg to Hartbeesport.
My background in Risk Management, Insurance and Business Coaching certainly allowed me to plan for this major change in my life and as usual I researched a number of the issues that I considered important at the time. The key element was around the longer term financial aspects and my future living environment – what I perhaps didn’t appreciate was the major adjustment that was needed to move from working in a key corporate role to “working from home” !
Setting up a Coaching and Consulting company was one of my goals and this was more or less up and running with my first contract signed when I retired in August 2013. FutureRisk was named deliberately to look at working with and coaching people for their future, I am grateful for the opportunities I have had throughout my working life and I wanted to be able to “give back” and share some of my learnings and experiences with others to help them grow. Realising that working on basic Risk and Insurance projects that really didn’t excite me was one “aha” moment, I also had to get over the need to chase income and re-think what my purpose might be as my 60th year approaches.
It became more apparent as I settled into life in the Harties area and “semi-retirement” how important your friends and networks are to your wellbeing! From my business contacts over 42 years in the corporate world to my “new” friends in our local community, it has been refreshing how many people have stayed in contact and continue to do so. Networking does require some effort though – most times when I am in Johannesburg for meetings or coaching I arrange to meet up with colleagues and friends and catch up with them and their news and locally I am actively involved in events and community projects. All of my FutureRisk work has been through referrals which has been fabulous – the couple of small adverts I placed did not achieve any business leads which was a good learning from my perspective and my foray into marketing and social media will hopefully improve this.
As I went into year three after “retiring” I must admit I was rather despondent – my volunteering for two years on a local Community Board was interesting but I felt I had learned enough and it was time to move on… the challenge was what did I want to do? As a Coach, I had all the tools and knowledge to get moving in a new direction but I seemed to have “lost my mojo”.
It was time to ask for help… there was no need to go it alone… it was time to understand what was working for me and what no longer excited me… I had to find someone who understood where I was at and who could help me to re-direct my thoughts.
Lynda Smith from Refirement Network has been a friend since I moved to Harties – we have chatted on a number of occasions about community work and she is also a Coach, so we talk the same language. I joined one of Lynda’s Refirement courses which she arranges for qualified coaches, focused on retirement coaching. My intention was to learn more about coaching for pre and post retirement so I could expand my coaching knowledge however I found that the issues discussed were very applicable to me personally and the course gave me more insight into possible options for my future.
The “longevity risk” is something I have been researching, specifically around the financial, healthcare and homecare aspects and I have been working on a model around Personal Risk Management – combining my risk, insurance and coaching background into a new process specifically for individuals and families. In discussion with Lynda, I started my research and unpacked some of the elements around what pre and post retirement people in the local Harties area might need. After three months of interviews, discussions and research about the area, I presented my findings to Lynda. We reviewed and considered all of the potential aspects and my personal take away was that I wanted to focus on an information and communication hub for the Harties Community and the concept of “Fifty Plus Harties” was born.
As I write this article, the Closed Facebook Group page is up and running with regular posts. The Facebook business page has been set up and will be used for marketing and advertising as necessary once the web site is up and running and we have a Twitter account – @50PlusHarties.
The intention of this entity is to connect and communicate with individuals and small businesses in the Harties area and to focus on longevity, healthy and proactive aging for our community, it is also about my own learning – how to update and post directly onto a web-site, how to advertise on Facebook and Twitter and through this learning how to help others wanting to set up, improve or run businesses in the Harties area.
Our web designer continues to work on the web site which will be the hub for Fifty Plus Harties, we have done some testing on the web site and will continue to improve the site as the entity progresses. As much as I can put all the effort into the web site, Facebook and Twitter postings and future research within the Harties area, it will be up to the community and members to support and grow this concept – I hope you will join me on this fabulous journey to create something new for our community!