Inspenonline Retirement Summit

Inspenonline Retirement Summit: Adeolu Adewumi-Zer Offers Tips On Cultivating Fulfilling Future After Career

Inspenonline Retirement Summit

OpenLife Nigeria reports that Adeolu Adewumi-Zer, Casava Insurance Board Advisor and Strategic Planning consultant, during a keynote address at the 2024 Inspenonline Retirement Summit & Unveiling of Insurfeel Initiative, at Radisson Hotel in Lagos on April 25, 2024, offered tips on planning for retirement and cultivating a vision for a fulfilling future that extends beyond one’s career.

The key note address is reproduced below unedited


Promoting Retirement Without Tears Through Insurance and Pension


It was late January, and I was in Stellenbosch, a small town near Cape Town in South Africa when I first received Chuks’ WhatsApp message about this summit. I must admit, I initially hoped that he’d forgotten that I was no longer working in the insurance industry, and that the message was just an oversight.

However, once we finally spoke the following week upon my return to Lagos, I found myself excited and encouraged by his vision for this summit, and happily agreed to support.

With that, I thank you, Chuks, for your invite and kind introduction, I thank Fatai Lawal for chairing this event, and I welcome all our distinguished guests, industry experts, and my fellow attendees—I see many familiar faces among you.

It’s a true honor to be delivering the keynote today at Inspenonline’s first-ever Retirement Summit.

As a US-qualified pension actuary and a former retirement and international benefits consultant with additionally over a decade of experience in the insurance industry, I’ve seen firsthand the challenges and opportunities that people face as they approach retirement.

Additionally, I’m passionate about empowering people to live their best life, even and especially into their golden years.

But my perspective extends beyond the professional realm. As the daughter of an aging parent who himself went through a significant career transition later in life, I also understand the emotional and personal aspects of navigating this exciting new chapter.

This summit’s focus on “Promoting Retirement Without Tears Through Insurance and Pension” resonates deeply with me because it acknowledges the multifaceted nature of retirement planning.

It’s not just about the numbers in your bank account; nor is it about which pension payment option or insurance products you’ve chosen; it’s about crafting a fulfilling future that transcends your work identity. I commend Chuks for bringing this critical topic to the forefront.

I mentioned an aging parent—my dad Professor Michael Adewumi grew up in a rural, impoverished area of Nigeria, specifically Ile-Ife in Osun State, where I was born.

His dad, my grandfather, a peasant farmer with very little formal education, dreamt of a better life for his seven children, especially in terms of education. Despite limited means, my grandfather was determined to ensure all his children received proper education.

While societal pressures led most of my uncles and aunties to eventually forgo even secondary education, my dad, child #4 and fueled by his father’s unwavering dream and his own growing passion for learning, persevered and managed to be the first to attend secondary school, despite a forced two-year long break due to lack of funds.

So, my dad, fueled by his father’s dream and his own dedication, thrived in academia. Rather than heading as he expected to a teacher training college, he went on to study at University of Ibadan, arguably the best university in Nigeria at the time, on a Federal Government scholarship.

His finishing as the top student in the University’s College of Engineering, led to a faculty member-in-training offer, which led to a scholarship to study for his PhD in the USA, where, to cut the long story short, he became a respected professor of Petroleum & Natural Gas Engineering at Penn State University in the States, a pinnacle achievement in his chosen field.

His professional life revolved around research, teaching, and mentoring students. For decades, this provided him with a powerful sense of identity and purpose, especially as he later and reluctantly moved into administration to finally become the Vice Provost for Global Programs, a position he held for over a decade, cementing his reputation as not just an academic, but as an international educator.

Unfortunately, in 2018, just as he celebrated 33 years at Penn State, the sudden loss of my mom rocked that sense of purpose, and, instead, a sense of unease began to settle in. The daily routines, intellectual stimulation, and social connections of his academic life no longer provided the sense of identity he was used to.

A life-changing event at a later stage of one’s career is one common, although overlooked, challenge faced by many retirees – the transition from a structured, work-centered life to an open and unstructured future can be daunting.

But thankfully my dad’s story doesn’t end there.

An opportunity had presented itself, and I, having dragged my dad kicking and screaming to stay with us in Nairobi to recover a bit from this personal tragedy, encouraged him to consider how he could redefine himself and find new sources of fulfillment in a new organization, a new role, an entirely new city.

Our many late-night conversations sparked a period of introspection and exploration for my dad.

He began to reflect on his long-held passion for education, especially global education, to change the world. And finally, he made the decision to retire after 33 years and six months from the institution that had shaped his adulthood and move to another city to become the Provost and Chief Academic Officer for IES Abroad, where he is serving hundreds of universities, colleges, and their students, instead of just one.

The key takeaway is that my dad embraced personal transformation and took on a novel challenge as a new avenue for growth, purpose, and social connection.

Planning for retirement and/or new chapters goes beyond just financial security; it’s about cultivating a vision for a fulfilling future that extends beyond one’s career.

This summit focuses on “Unleashing Resilience” – a concept that perfectly embodies my father’s story and the message I want to share with you today. Many of you, like my dad, may have overcome numerous challenges, and dedicated yourselves to building successful careers.

But as you approach retirement, consider: What will define you beyond your work? Who and how will you continue to influence for good?

This is what I call unleashing resilience. It’s about adapting, growing, and finding new ways to thrive even after we step away from our traditional careers.

The experts who will follow me today will delve into the financial nitty-gritty. But before we get there, let’s explore what a truly fulfilling retirement might look like for each of us.

The Importance of Personal Transformation in Retirement Planning

As we saw with my dad’s story, retirement can be a time of unexpected change. While he achieved immense professional success, the loss of my mom forced him to confront a new reality – one where his work-centered identity no longer provided the same sense of purpose.

My dad’s experience highlights a common challenge faced by many retirees: navigating an identity shift and crafting a fulfilling future within an open-ended framework.

But what if, instead of feeling adrift, you could use this period as an opportunity to redefine yourself? Imagine crafting a fulfilling future that extends beyond your career, filled with activities and connections that bring you joy and purpose. The good news is, with a little initiative, you can!

We will now explore strategies for navigating this identity shift, building new social networks, and taking concrete steps to design a vibrant and fulfilling retirement.

We’ll delve into ways to rediscover your passions, explore new skills, and connect with like-minded individuals who share your interests. By starting to build your new life now, you can ensure a smooth and enriching transition into this exciting next chapter.

Shifting identity:

Let’s be honest, most of us have been so laser-focused on our careers, we practically are our jobs. So, it’s natural to feel a bit like a fish out of water when you first retire. Don’t worry, it’s not that you’ve forgotten how to function as a human being (hopefully!), it’s just that you need to find your new groove.

Studies show many retirees experience a kind of identity crisis in the early years of retirement. They miss the structure, the daily challenges, and the sense of accomplishment that work provided.

But here’s the good news: Retirement isn’t the end of your journey; it’s a chance to rewrite your purpose! Think about the skills you’ve honed throughout your career – leadership, problem-solving, communication – these are valuable assets beyond the typical workplace. Let’s broaden our horizons and craft a game plan to use our skills for a personal mission.

How will you continue to make a positive impact? Let’s explore five examples:

Example #1.
You can deepen your existing passions by:

• Going creative:

Did you always dream of authoring a book but never had the time? Retirement is the perfect opportunity to take a creative writing course, join a writing group, and finally unleash your inner author. This applies to any creative passion – painting, music, photography – the possibilities are endless.

• Sharing knowledge:

Imagine sharing your hard-earned knowledge and experience with the next generation. Volunteer as a mentor for young professionals in your field or get involved with organizations that connect seasoned professionals with aspiring entrepreneurs.

• Getting active:

Were you the weekend warrior who secretly wished for more time to run, swim or bike? Or maybe just some breathing room to learn golf or tennis? Now’s your chance! You can even join cycling, golf, or running clubs that travel, and possibly combine two passions in one.

Example #2.
You can reimagine learning by:

• Exploring online: With so much learning available online, it’s so easy to take advantage of free or discounted courses offered at universities or community colleges all over the world, or even via online platforms like Coursera and Udemy.

You can explore philosophy, delve into history, or finally master a new language – all for the sheer joy of learning. Learning a new skill is not only stimulating but also a fantastic way to meet new people with similar interests.

• Developing new skills: Always wanted to learn to code but felt intimidated? Or do you, like my dad, think that, since you’re an engineer, it should be super easy to become a prompt engineer for an AI company? There are online coding bootcamps specifically designed for adults, where you can explore all the cool AI tools that have been coming out over the past year.

Example #3.
Contribute to your community by:

• Volunteering: Find a cause you care about and dedicate your time and talents to your community. This could be anything from helping at a local church or mosque, to working with underprivileged children, or even promoting environmental causes.

• Leading the community: Consider running for a local government (or traditional!) seat or joining a community board. This allows you to use your leadership skills and experience to directly engage your community and make a positive change.

• Serving on a Board: Many non-profit organizations rely heavily on the expertise of board members to provide strategic guidance and governance. Leverage your leadership skills and industry knowledge to contribute to a cause close to your heart, like education, healthcare, or women’s empowerment.

Example #4.

Pursue entrepreneurial ventures by:

• Starting a small business:

Always had a brilliant business idea tucked away? Retirement provides the freedom to turn that idea into a reality. Research the market, develop a business plan, and tap into your network of former colleagues to launch your own venture.

• Freelancing:

Offer your professional skills as a freelancer. This could be anything from writing and editing to web design or even social media management.

There are numerous online platforms that connect freelancers with clients, allowing you to work on projects you choose and set your own schedule.

• Consulting:

Similarly, you can offer your consulting services on a part-time basis. This allows you to stay engaged in your field while also enjoying the flexibility and freedom of retirement.

And, finally, Example #5. Reconnect with loved ones by:

• Traveling:

Retirement is the perfect time for those long-awaited family vacations and opens doors to opportunities that you might not have had time for before.

Join tour groups, explore destinations with friends and family, plan that overseas adventure you always dreamed of, consider volunteering abroad or even explore much closer to home. Traveling exposes you to new cultures, broadens your horizons, and can lead to unexpected friendships along the way.

• Hanging with the younger generation:

Volunteer together at a local school, farm your village plot, or learn a new skill together (Fortnight, anyone?). Sharing experiences creates lasting memories and strengthens family bonds.

Building new networks:

As we explore new passions and interests, it’s also important to build new social connections with people who share our enthusiasm. Strong social networks are not just about fun and companionship; they can also provide invaluable support and a sense of belonging in this new chapter of life.

So, let’s now consider your current social circle. How many of those connections revolve around work? How many of your close friends are colleagues? Imagine how isolated retirement could be if those are your primary relationships.

Retirement is a fantastic opportunity to build new friendships and communities based on shared interests, not just shared office space. Some research even suggests that strong social connections are just as important for your health and well-being as financial security in retirement.

Taking early action:

The key to a smooth transition is to start thinking about this well before your retirement date. Don’t wait until your last day to scramble and figure out what you want the next chapter to look like. Give yourself time to explore possibilities, experiment with new activities, and build a fulfilling retirement vision.

Here’s a fun exercise to get you started NOW:

Imagine your ideal retirement week (c’mon, go ahead): Grab a pen and paper and spend some time visualizing your perfect retirement week.

What activities would fill your days? Who would you spend time with? Where would you be? This exercise will help you identify your priorities and start brainstorming ways to make them a reality.

Actionable Tips:

When you have more time, here are some practical steps you can take this weekend to start your personal transformation journey:

● Explore your passions:

Inspenonline Retirement Summit: Adeolu Adewumi-Zer Offers Tips On Cultivating Fulfilling Future After Career
From left: Ms. Adeolu Adewumi-Zer receiving an appreciation award from former Managing Director Sanlam Nigeria, Val Ojumah at the event

What have you always wanted to try but never had the time? Make a list of your hobbies and interests, no matter how big or small. Is there a musical instrument you’ve always wanted to learn?

A foreign language you’d like to master? Now’s the time to dust off those old dreams and start exploring them. Take a class, join a club, or find a mentor who can help you develop your skills.

● Volunteer your skills:

There are countless organizations that could benefit from your experience and expertise. Think about your strengths and talents. Do you have a background in accounting?

Perhaps you could volunteer at a local non-profit to help them manage their finances. Are you enthusiastic about young people? Consider volunteering at a local school. Volunteering is a win-win situation. You get to give back to your community, meet new people who share your interests, and stay mentally stimulated.

● Expand your social circle:

Retirement is a fantastic opportunity to build new friendships and communities based on shared interests. Step outside your comfort zone and explore new activities. Join a social club focused on something you’re interested in, take a continuing education course to meet new people with similar learning goals, or reconnect with old friends you haven’t had time for in years.

Social media groups can also be a wonderful way to find communities based on shared hobbies or interests. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and introduce yourself to others.

Remember, retirement is a chance to reinvent yourself. By starting to build your new life now, filled with activities and connections that bring you joy and purpose, you can ensure a smooth and fulfilling transition into this exciting next chapter.

Don’t wait until retirement day to start exploring your options – embrace the opportunity to discover new passions, build meaningful relationships, and design a future that brings you more fulfillment than you ever imagined.

Start today by taking one small step – join a club, volunteer for a cause you care about, or simply dust off an old hobby. Your next chapter awaits, filled with endless possibilities and the promise of a truly fulfilling life!

The Synergy Between Personal and Financial Planning

Having explored the exciting possibilities for personal transformation, let’s now address the proverbial elephant in the room. While this summit focuses on the exciting realm of personal transformation in retirement, we can’t ignore the critical role that financial security plays.

After all, the freedom to pursue your passions and contribute to your community is significantly enhanced by a solid financial foundation. Here’s where the magic happens – the synergy between personal and financial planning.

Financial Security Breeds Freedom and Peace of Mind

Imagine waking up each morning without the constant stress of bills, knowing you have the resources to cover your basic needs and then some.

This peace of mind frees you to truly seize the opportunities your golden years present: exploring new passions, traveling the world, volunteering for a cause you care about, or simply relaxing and relishing your newfound freedom. Financial security empowers you to make choices based on your desires, not just your bank account.

Financial security doesn’t mean extravagant wealth; it means having the resources to cover your essential needs and then some. This “cushion” allows you to chase your passions without the constant worry of financial repercussions.

Did you always dream of learning to paint, but worried about the cost of classes and supplies? Have you longed to travel the world, but felt chained to your desk job?

Beyond the freedom to explore, financial security brings a deep sense of peace of mind. Knowing you have a secure financial foundation allows you to focus on what truly matters in your golden years – spending time with loved ones, contributing to your community, or simply enjoying the fruits of your labor.

You can volunteer for a cause you care about without the pressure of needing a paying job. You can help your grandchildren with their education or support a family member in need without financial anxieties clouding your judgment.

Financial security doesn’t eliminate all challenges, but it shifts the power dynamic. Instead of being restricted by financial limitations, you have the freedom to make choices based on your desires and aspirations.

Do you want to work part-time for social interaction or pursue a creative project full-time? The choice is yours! Financial security empowers you to design a retirement that aligns with your values and brings you true fulfillment.

Ultimately, financial security is the cornerstone of a happy and fulfilling retirement. It removes the financial worries that can cloud your golden years and allows you to focus on what truly matters – living your best life.

Let me not steal their thunder, but our discussants to follow will very aptly explore how you can achieve this type of financial security and unlock the incredible possibilities that await you in retirement.

Financial Planning Fuels Your Passions, Not Limits Them

So how do we translate this vision of a fulfilling retirement into a concrete financial plan? Remember that vision board exercise from earlier? Financial planning isn’t about putting a damper on those dreams; it’s about transforming them from vibrant fantasies to tangible realities.

A well-crafted financial plan ensures you have the resources to, not only retire comfortably, but maybe even buy a little land and finally cultivate that vegetable garden you’ve always wanted, or travel to learn the ancient weaving techniques used to make our beautiful Aso-Ebi fabrics.

Or maybe you envisioned yourself taking pottery classes, your hands molding clay into beautiful creations.

A well-crafted financial plan ensures you have the resources to enroll in those classes, invest in a pottery wheel and necessary supplies, and even explore the world-renowned ceramic studios in Tuscany you’ve always admired.

Perhaps your vision involved volunteering your time with endangered elephants in Nairobi. Financial security allows you to afford travel costs, any program fees, and even some spending money for those unforgettable Elephant Orphanage souvenirs.

Key Takeaway

The key takeaway here is that financial planning empowers you. It allows you to pursue the passions and activities that bring you the most joy and fulfillment in retirement, without the constant worry of financial constraints. And remember, the earlier you start, the easier it will be to achieve that plan.

Creating a Holistic Retirement Strategy: Vision, Planning, and Professional Guidance

Financial planning isn’t about restricting your dreams; it’s about making them a reality. That’s why it’s crucial to consider your personal aspirations alongside your financial goals when creating your retirement strategy. Here’s how to achieve this beautiful harmony:

1. Start with Your Vision: Before you dive into numbers and spreadsheets, take some time for introspection. Imagine your ideal retirement lifestyle. What activities do you want to pursue? Where do you want to live? Who do you want to spend your time with? A sharp vision will function as a guiding star for your financial planning decisions.

2. Translate Your Vision into Numbers: Once you have a vision, it’s time to translate it into concrete terms. Estimate the costs associated with your desired lifestyle choices. This will help you figure out how much you need to save and invest for a secure and fulfilling retirement.

Consider factors like housing costs (whether you plan to downsize or travel often), healthcare expenses, and the cost of pursuing your hobbies and passions. Don’t forget to factor in potential inflation over your retirement timeline.

3. Seek Professional Guidance: Financial planning can be complex, with ever-changing market conditions and various investment vehicles to consider. Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a qualified financial advisor, like many of the esteemed experts we have here today.

A professional can help you develop a personalized plan that aligns with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and of course, your personal aspirations for a fulfilling retirement. Think of them as your personal financial roadmap, guiding you through the sometimes-treacherous terrain of financial planning and ensuring you reach the summit of your retirement dreams.

Remember, financial planning is a journey, not a destination. As your life circumstances and retirement vision evolve, so should your financial strategy too. Regularly review your plan, adjust as needed, and most importantly, embrace financial planning as a tool that empowers you to create the fulfilling retirement you deserve.

It’s not a ball and chain, but the key that unlocks the door to a world of possibilities in your golden years. Most importantly, start planning today to ensure a future filled with freedom, purpose, and the joy of pursuing your passions.


As I conclude, I want you to remember that retirement isn’t an ending, it’s a magnificent new beginning – a chance to unleash your resilience and craft a fulfilling future that transcends the confines of your workplace. This summit, by addressing both financial security and personal transformation, is equipping you with the tools and knowledge to navigate this exciting transition smoothly. But this is just the first step.

Don’t be passive participants in your own retirement! Raise your voice, ask questions, and engage with the experts here today. Network with your fellow future retirees – share your experiences and learn from each other.

Use the resources provided at this summit, and the knowledge you gain from these discussions, to create a personalized retirement plan that ignites your passions and fuels your dreams. Together, we can redefine retirement, making it a time not just for financial security, but also for purpose, passion, and lifelong exploration.

Financial security is crucial, of course. But true fulfillment comes from a life rich in purpose, connection, and continuous growth. Embrace personal transformation as you plan for the future. Explore your passions, reconnect with loved ones, and consider ways to contribute your skills and knowledge to the world.

The tools and knowledge you gain here are the building blocks for your personalized retirement roadmap. But remember, a map is just a starting point – the real adventure lies in venturing beyond the marked paths.

Don’t be afraid to dream big! Consider your deepest passions, the values that have guided you throughout your career, and the kind of life you truly want to create in this new chapter. Retirement isn’t simply about the numbers in your bank account; it’s about crafting a life overflowing with purpose and fulfillment, a life that transcends the boundaries of your former career.

Imagine yourselves not just retiring without tears but embarking on a transformative journey fueled by your passions and fueled by the knowledge you’ve gained here today.

Picture yourselves learning to make Adire in Abeokuta, volunteering at the Muson Centre, exploring the vibrant history of your own hometown, or pursuing that creative project you’ve always dreamt of.

Think big, dream boldly, and embrace the limitless possibilities that await you in this exciting new chapter. Let’s work together to ensure everyone has the resources to not only retire comfortably, but also to unleash their inner light and illuminate the world with their knowledge, skills, and experience.

So today, I challenge each of you to take one small step towards your dream retirement. Talk to a financial advisor, research a new hobby class, or reconnect with an old friend. Your next chapter starts now!

And I leave you with this plea: retire from your job, but never retire from your passions; the greatest adventures await you in this next chapter.

Thank you!

Ms. Adeolu Adewumi-Zer
Founder & Managing Director
ZER Consulting Africa Ltd


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