Interview with Get It Hartbeespoort

Don’t retire- refire

Lynda Smith from Hartbeespoort believes retirement is not the end of your life. It can be the beginning of something new and exciting, something that gives you purpose to get up.

Lynda is so passionate about the 50+ generation and retaining their knowledge and set of skills after they retire, that she has started a network to motivate the Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) to keep on working and adding value to society.

Lynda’s Refirement Network in South Africa focuses on refiring – harnessing the energy, passion, skills and commitment of those people with vast amounts of experience and expertise, to make a difference in society.

“I believe that modern life affords us many options to traditional retirement that can provide financial reward, intellectual stimulation, flexibility and freedom, emotional fulfilment and overall well-being during your mature years.

My aim is to educate the 50+ generation to plan and pursue various alternatives to traditional retirement – including coaching, volunteer work, starting a second career, starting your own business and learning new skills,” says Lynda.

Lynda started the Refirement Network in 2007 to help organisations and individuals 50+ to understand the opportunities and challenges that the future holds for this demographic group.

“This is the first generation to be given an extra season of life beyond their first career and before old age arrives. Planning for this extra season is what Refirement does through communication, workshops, coaching, education, entrepreneurship, and community.”

Another factor is that over 90% of people do not have enough money saved for a long retirement. “Working longer may be the best insurance policy,” she says.

But this 50+ businesswoman is not only concerned with retirement; she is also closely involved with early childhood education and was the CEO of BrainBoosters for the past five years.

Lynda’s career changed direction when her first child was born. “ I became fascinated with early childhood development and this became my new career direction. I started selling educational toys from home and a few years later set up an educational toy business.

I am passionate about how important education in those early years of a child’s life is.”

She then joined the direct sales division of Smile Education Systems and  helped grow the My School programme with Woolworths. She has also worked with the Tomorrow Today team, helping companies understand how the world is changing and the challenges and opportunities of working in the 21st century.

“I am a life stage career person. I’m working cradle to grave,” she laughs.

Lynda has a passionate love for people. She is a master networker, innovator and big-picture thinker.

“I am a social entrepreneur and passionate about finding solutions. I offer a new sunrise rather than a sunset for people over 50. I want to educate and help grow a skills bank and to influence at least 10% of the South African over 50 population to take on a second career in their area of skill, experience and passion. We have many challenges in education, health and business and can find many inter-generational solutions to help grow our economy.”

Her advice for finding your purpose when retirement arrives is to decide what your passion is, where your skills lie and where there is a need. “Technology has changed the world as we knew it. We need to understand where the opportunities are. For instance, an empty-nest-mom can become a shadow mom for a young working mother, or if she does not need the money, she can volunteer at a child centre or school. We all need money and meaning in our lives. My work gives me this purpose.”

Another important aspect of retirement is friends and a social life, she believes. “It is extremely important for older people to have friends. My friends have become my family.”

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