The 4 phases of retirement | Dr. Riley Moynes | TEDxSurrey

Published 2022-05-26
Imagine squeezing all the juice out of retirement! When interviewed on his research, Dr. Riley Moynes commented, “I wish I knew then what I know now about the psychological challenges that accompany retirement. It would have made things much clearer and easier.”

By interviewing hundreds of retirees, he has discovered a framework that can help make more sense of this challenging chapter of our lives…one that, for many, could last for 30 years or more.
If you’re retired, this talk will make things much clearer for you. If you’re not, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when that time comes. Riley has enjoyed a distinguished career spanning four decades in both public and private sectors.

In public education, he served as a teacher, Department Head, a Superintendent and a Director of Education. He also authored several textbooks including a History of Russia, and a World Religions text.

In the private sector, he was a Founding Partner of a national wealth management firm, author of a book entitled The Money Coach which enjoyed sales of over 200,000 copies in six editions, and co-author of several editions of Top Funds.

Since stepping back from day-to-day involvement in financial services, Riley researches and writes reader-friendly publications on topics of general interest, and presents Workshops across the country based on those publications.

One of his most recent books, The Four Phases of Retirement, became a Canadian best-seller within 12 months of publication, and is the basis of his TEDx Talk.

In the book, he explains how he waltzed through Phase One of retirement, struggled in Phase Two, tried a dozen ventures in Phase Three and now in Phase Four, assists others as they navigate their way through the psychological changes and challenges almost everyone faces in retirement. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

All Comments (21)
  • Julian mark
    Nice video!! Very engaging.
    Rich people have assets, which are inflation proof. On the other hand, earned income is vulnerable to inflation. That's why the rich get richer in inflationary environments. An example, wealthy person may own several homes, rental properties(Commercial/Residential), businesses, productive land, equities, bonds, etc. The average W2 employee gets taxed the highest rate, they own almost no productive assets.
    Great content. I plan to retire at 55 with $12MILLION USD in savings and a few passive income sources, I'm currently 38 and although I started investing this year I have high hopes for the future. Long-term investment is the best👌
  • Guia David
    Recessions are where millionaires are created, I feel for the older generation, but if you are you or middle age, you should do everything possible to double or triple your income.
  • Big Benn
    I retired at 50. I’m now 57. I found that phase one can be enjoyed for years as long as alcohol is carefully controlled or given up entirely.
    I quickly taught myself that my once ‘all consuming’ thirty year career was just a job that didn’t define me. It was something I did once and do no more. I loved it once but don’t miss it.
    Some of my friends try to ‘squeeze the most out of retirement’ and they end up chasing round like Alice’s white rabbit, never feeling like they’ve ‘done enough, seen enough, belonged to enough’. That attitude can haunt as much as it helps.
    What works for me is to let go of the need for power, status, and social acceptance, eat and drink in moderation, exercise in ways I enjoy, appreciate the little things, and keep waking up the following morning.
  • Excellent analysis and presentation. I'm 71 and retired at age 60. The retirement was a forced self-imposed event however, due to pending severe health. Pending due to a failing liver that would require a "slower" pace and careful monitoring. Eventually as the realization of my future became clearer I settled into phase I ( sort of) but phase II followed after the first 2 years. Tried phase III but had "limited success". Cooking however lingered and fell over into phase 4. Started a YouTube cooking channel with my wife and enjoy it immensely (The Insecure Chef). Seeing children and grandchildren with both groups occasionally asking advice, made it clear that I'm still of use to myself and my family. Be patient, it takes time but God willing phase 4 will pop up one morning.
    Oh, and by the way, received a liver transplant on Thanksgiving 2019 and feel better then ever. Good luck.
  • Carol Rodriguez
    I’ve been retired 14 years now and am still enjoying phase one of complete freedom.
  • Chris Kalberg
    Western society, particularly in the US, puts so much emphasis on 'doing' and 'producing' that it is no surprise some struggle with retirement and seek to confirm their self worth by 'doing something' even in retirement. I have been retired for about 5 years now and notice that with some retirees there seems to be a competition to show who is more active or doing more charity work, etc. Kinda the same as when they had their 9-5 jobs but just without performance plans. I do agree establishing a routine is beneficial in retirement. For me it is pretty much daily exercise, yoga (including mediation), trying to learn spanish, cooking, etc. and some volunteering on the side. There is a huge mental component to being OK without 'doing stuff' to prove your self worth. It is so great being able to do what you enjoy without the hassle of trying to squeeze it in around a 9-5. But I think I am most happy when someone asks me what do I do with all my free time and all I say is 'just being happy'.
  • Ajay Ajay
    After retiring "early" in 2005 .. I am retired for 17 years as I cross my "75th Year" .... milestone...
    Not sure which phase I am in or in possibly in ALL PHASES in different areas....
    I am very fortunate to have some musical talent (yes Freddie Mercury and I learnt music together as kids in 1956/57) and have "no problem" with my "spare time" .. as every music "session" chews up at least 2hrs .... About 3 years back I felt my singing days were over... as my voice weakened... I however, quite by accident, disovered it back again, when I started doing Brahmari (a Yoga breathing exercise) for another reason... and there I was... able to sing better than ever... including my youth... BELIEVE IT OR NOT...!!!
    Around this time , after having spent my "life" building Power Plants (yes.. 20,000MW+) in the US/Canada .... yes I am an Engineer.... I was apalled to learn the amount of Pollution, Death (9Million/yr) & Suffering (275Million DALY... Disability Adjusted Life Years) they are/were spreading.... and WANTED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT... as a form of "penance" for my past deeds.
    I compiled all my experience and knowledge and produced a series of videos (youtube channel zeropollution2050) .. which includes The Theme Song with my "re-incarnated" voice... (you WILL BE IMPRESSED when you realize a 74 year old is performing... and compare it against the original tune performed by a 30+ year kid named... John Lennon... in the 1970's.... so musicians donot give up...l ... and then THERE IS THE MESSAGE in the Videos that MANKIND CAN SAVE ITSELF FROM POLLUTION EASILY... USING SOLAR ENERGY ONLY... it is ALL in the Videos...
    In line with this, I have a cabin (for 10 years now) in the Himalayas at 6,000 ft elevation with a 100mile wide 20/20 (20 Peaks over 20,000ft) snow view .. that got completly hidden by Pollution two months earlier than before .. THIS YEAR... not good at all..!!! Even the mighty Himalayas were humbled by Pollution... but Weather/Climate was... perfect as usual...
    In addition... with Solar Electricity, Heating, Hot Water and Rainwater Harvesting (125,000Liter Pool/Tank), Septic Treatment & Recycling with Zero Discharge from the Site... I have NO Water/Eectricity/Septic Connection either ... This enables me to prove to my self that Mankind can meet its needs without destroying Man and/or the Earth... as part of my Phase I-IV+(??) of Retirement... as my fingers, wrist and vocal chords carry me further... so far...

    In the lap of the Himalayas... the abode of "The Gods"... as per our beliefs... and with a "lot of help" from a friend... The Internet...!!!
  • Patricia Edoley
    I'm almost 60 and I have been watching a lot of videos about retirement. This has been the best one yet! THANK YOU!
  • Bill vS
    I love this - excellent presentation. I consider myself to be very fortunate. I was able to retire at age 59, and I just turned 70. I've thoroughly enjoyed all of that retirement time. But it may be different for me. I'm extremely introverted, but for some reason often found myself in management positions. Parts of it I loved, e.g., being a resource for individuals and helping them reach their potential. But the rest was exhausting - meetings, being around some people trying to puff themselves up and impress others. I had no desire to try to do any of that.

    Then I retired. What a blessing! I live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, so I was able to resume my duties watching the clouds and monitoring the mountains - well, because somebody has to do it. I report weather events to the National Weather Service, keep track of the birds, deer, bears, mountain lions, and moose. I'm also blessed with a wonderful wife, two wonderful sons, and two rather exhausting grandsons (ages 4 and 1). I've also done a fair amount of editing of various types and taken apart quite a few old pocket watches (getting them back together is a different issue).

    Of course there are some downsides. I'm unable to play guitar and bass (I've played since I was 13) due to severe arthritis in my hands, and I'm no longer able to enjoy boating in the Great Lakes as I once did due to issues with balance - I'm not too eager to fall overboard.

    I have no problems with being alone (I'm never lonely) and "squeezing all the juice" out of the quiet and beauty that surrounds me. And I still keep in touch with friends from my younger days who are important to me. We just pick up our relationships where we left off.

    My family has always been more important than my career, and I think that's what helped me prepare for retirement (though it did not help my financial progression). I also developed many interests and hobbies outside of work. I certainly understand and know people who have had problems adjusting to such a major life change as retirement. But hang in there and listen to the excellent advice presented by Dr. Moynes - you'll get to Phase 4.

    PS - Apologies for the long post; the words just came flying out of my fingers...
  • Barbara
    Great presentation. I retired at 67 in 2019. I am in phase 4 and feel very complete. I worked on computers in various capacities throughout my career. Today I update my church website and fill-in for our church secretary when she has need. I also have grandchildren that I sometimes pick up from school or drop of for practices in various sports. Teach my grandson piano and baking (he loves to create in the kitchen) and I am content. I live in a beautiful gated community with lots of activities and I still get the "vacation" aspect of phase 1. I don't travel but it's never been an interest and in this day and age, I really have no desire to travel. I am content both alone and with family and friends. I feel very blessed.
  • Goyo
    Great overview! I'm between Phase 2 and 3 right now. One thing I think I can add: If you've been highly successful in your life and career prior to retirement, you did so because you struggled and overcame challenges. I didn't realize how the lack of a "struggle" would contribute to an emptiness I felt. It's not just keeping busy; that's not enough. We're used to struggling. So, to that end, I'm in Mexico learning Spanish and trying to improve at my favorite activity - spearfishing (with limited success; I'm "struggling"). On top of that, I quit sugar 2 weeks ago (that's harder than it sounds at first and easier than it sounds after a week). High achievers need to struggle; it's in our DNA. Finally, focus on your health. Go to doctors, exercise, eat better by learning to prepare healthy meals, avoid sugar, get a massage, learn yoga.... Health is the new wealth!
  • Scott Tarr
    I love his message to remain in service to others.
    I’m retired and currently in Puerto Rico teaching American Sign Language part-time to High School students, plus enjoying exercising at the beach and gardening at home.
    A great talk with an important message for self fulfillment and staying active.
  • edcal33166
    In addition to the presentation I’m enjoying reading the comments. Thoughtful, articulate, no misspellings, I don’t want to hit you over the head but here’s my experience. How satisfying it must be to be a Canadian.
  • Fraser Katz
    19+ years of phase I and still loving it!
  • Lou V
    I retired from being a NYC high school teacher at 60. I was healthy and had more money than I needed. I immediately jumped to phase four of my retirement plan by volunteering for the Coast Guard Auxiliary. For the past 7 years I have been flying coastal patrols and been crew on boat patrols. I also support land based recreational boating safety programs. Find a good organization you can stand behind and you will be able to make your own routine, build new relationships and continue your feeling of self worth. All while supporting you community!
  • Michele Ridenour
    I'm moving into phase 3, after 4 years of retirement. In 2019, at age 58, covid and corporate America pushed me into "early" retirement. I live on SSI $1,300/month, food stamps, and Medicaid. I'm happier than when I earned over $60k/year. I want a more meaningful and worthwhile life again, BUT only when I want to do it. I don't want commitment or schedules. I love being HOME.
  • qwincy q
    The worst part of retirement is that society basically considers you useless. That along with health issues that make venturing out a bit daunting leaves one stuck in phase two.
  • Dennis Gawera
    Retired for over six years now and my only down side is regretting how much of my life was wasted working for a living.
  • Mike Conklin
    I think I went straight to Phase 4 with volunteering within three weeks at the Jacksonville Humane Society walking dogs up to four days a week. Now I’m at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens twice a week. Take my two dogs to the dog park every day. Stay busy with my vegetable gardens. Hope I’m on the correct path. Great video.