The Challenges of Retiring from a High-Powered Job

Each year, thousands of executives retire from long and successful corporate careers. But few are prepared for the journey they are about to embark on. Based on conversations with dozens of highly respected former chief executives, the authors identified seven common mistakes, ranging from not preparing far enough in advance to thinking you can rely on your existing professional network to not realizing that behaviors that worked for you as an executive can work against you in retirement.

It was mid-summer 2020, and Ginni Rometty, the chairman and CEO of IBM, had six months remaining on her nearly 40-year career with the company. Her longtime mentor, the revered former CEO of IBM, Lou Gerstner, had reached out to request a meeting. “He wanted to see how my retirement planning was coming along. Truth be told, I hadn’t begun to think about it. I was still running the company full time and had not been able to set aside the time,” Rometty told us.


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