Denis is a Professional Certified Coach helping individuals build clarity and confidence, discover new paths and move forward with key life transitions. He specializes in retirement transitions and its unique challenges in preparing for the non-financial aspects of this major life “shift”.
After a business career spanning over 33 years in various financial services organizations where he held senior leadership positions, Denis leverages his own personal transition experience and training to help others answer the same question he had: “what’s next for me”?
He holds a BS in Accounting from the City University of NY as well as multiple professional designations (CMA, ChFC, Six Sigma Black Belt).
His Professional Coaching Certifications include:
My Thinking about Retirement needed an adjustment!
About 13 years ago, I created, in my mind, a picture of what it would be like to stop working – commonly referred to as “retirement”. I convinced myself that I would find great pleasure in not having to get up early, commute long distances and, as a result, would have more time for relaxation and doing whatever I wanted. The vision of what my days would be like, was a source of concern as I realized that the activities’ I thought about would occupy so little of my time, and I might become bored and irrelevant. I needed to think this through much more thoroughly. So, while I was still working, I decided to slow down and give myself some space to understand how I really wanted to spend my “time”. After ~6 months, I started a “phased approach” toward my transition, being comfortable that I could always stop and reverse at any point.
A Phased Retirement /Life Transition
I asked my management if I could adjust my current work week by not having to be present in the traditional office setting 5 days a week – I would telecommute 1 day and during the summer I would experiment a little by taking one day a week off. I understood that not everyone can do this and neither did I, until I asked. This adjustment gave me the mental space to reflect and really think about how I wanted to spend my time, while getting me energized and engaged. It was a true turning point and re-enforced the power of reflection.
I started reading books, speaking to people who had recently retired and others who were thinking about the same thing I was: "what's next?" A personal assessment about how ready I was for retirement vs. my expectations of this next stage really opened my mind as to what constituted the parts of a happy retirement. For me, it was not about stopping something, but rather about pursuing fulfillment in multiple ways that I had not considered.
Moving off the Career Treadmill to the Next Phase
After a 33-year main career and a lot of planning (both financially and non-financially) as well as buy-in from family, I decided (at age 58) that I was ready to get off that main career “treadmill”.
During this time, I recall advice from a recent retiree: “Be careful about stepping off the career treadmill too quickly as we have become so used to that fast pace – it will be an adjustment".
Replacing, in part, what I was leaving behind from work became important to me. Also, my personal readiness assessment helped me understand that the "identity" my job gave me was important to me. I was not surprised – as many of my friends/colleagues experienced the same thing.
My Retirement Journey..
My initial thinking about retirement needed an adjustment. I had a lot of things to work on including how work, family, health all “fit” into my life. As to work - it had to be productive and fulfilling work that I would enjoy. And it had to be on my terms.
Since that day, the past 10 years have been exciting and fulfilling on multiple fronts and I have evolved as a person. How so?
Along the journey I have experienced life as a full-time “Lean” process consultant, became a certified professional Results Trained Coach and earned two other transition/retirement certifications, helped numerous people on their retirement/transition journey as a coach, co-wrote articles on coaching for a finance magazine, co-founded a coaching company focusing on retirement transitions, served as CFO for a non-profit, joined a non-profit Board, started a successful annual scholarship campaign to help high school students in NYC, co-hosted over 100 episodes of a very successful podcast focusing on retirement, learned how to build a website, practice core yoga daily, learned and play pickle ball where I met a lot of new friends, cycle and hike regularly and helped care for four grandsons.
This is how I have invested a lot of my time. I like to call them my “doing things” and they are all meaningful to me which I believe is key. However, I have discovered that “who I am” and what drives me mattered more.
I have discovered what gives me positive energy and what detracts from that.
Today I have some common “anchors” (My “go to” activities that are the “must have’s” in my life). They are family/friends and health/exercise.
I discovered that it's positive to think of retirement as not just one thing – but a combination of meaningful activities that fit who I am as a person.
I found preparing for “life” in retirement as important as if you were planning to take a new job.
I examined my purpose and discovered how it resonates across multiple areas of my life – and, most importantly, that purpose needs to be nurtured by actions.
I believe that good coaching follows a strong process coupled with curiosity and the ability to give others space to think about what's possible. I believe in others' potential to adjust, move forward, and discover their own “anchors” to define a great and more meaningful retirement life.
I am grateful that I can share these with others to help them with their own retirement transition.