The first wave of Hong Kong's ageing baby boomers is reaching the potentially rocky shores of retirement, where many now wrestle with adjusting to life beyond work. Philanthropist and former air courier tycoon Chung Po-yang ('Po Chung'), 65, who retired from the corporate world in 2001, is determined to help them discover new meaning and purpose. 'When you retire you say, 'Great, I just got off the train. I've got 30 more years to live. Now is the time to drink all the good wine I've collected, eat all the good food, go to see all the places I've always wanted to see',' said Mr Chung, who remains chairman emeritus of DHL Express (HK), one of the world's largest air courier firms. 'But then 18 months later you say, 'Is this all there is to life?' At about 55 to 60 you have already been there and done that, so you ask the question, 'What's next? Now that I can be anything I want to be, what do I want to be?' Sound familiar?' Mr Chung speaks of 'rewiring' instead of 'retiring'. Over the past two years, he has developed a 'life design and management' seminar he personally conducts for small groups of presidents and chief executive officers at the threshold of retirement. Subtitled 'the science of life management and the art of living', the seminar is about 'moving from success to significance'. Participants include friends and peers who have done so well in business they never need to work for money again. According to the 2007 Asia-Pacific Wealth Report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, Hong Kong has more than 31,300 individuals between 56 and 70 years old with net financial assets of US$1 million or more, including 'ultra-wealthy' individuals with US$30 million or more. Mr Chung is equally concerned about what happens to baby boomers further down the wealth pyramid as they approach retirement. There are 767,000 people aged 55 to 64 in Hong Kong, or 11 per cent of the population, according to Census and Statistics Department estimates. In about 12 years, that is projected to peak at about 1.25 million (16.2 per cent) as society ages. Hong Kong was psychologically ill-prepared for such a surge in retirees, said Dr Samuel Ho Mun-yin, an associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Hong Kong. 'There is preparation for life and even for death, but not for retirement,' he said. 'Hong Kong is especially problematic because in Chinese culture people are overly focused on work.' Dr Ho, who specialises in clinical work with bereavement and other psychological transitions, said some corporate high-fliers were vulnerable to a 'grief response' upon retirement which would show up as depression, anxiety and a yearning for what they had lost. He cited Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, who recently gave up his day-to-day role, as a model for other leaders transitioning to retirement. He said it was vital for people to engage in what they enjoyed at least 10 years before retirement. However, pure pleasure would not last. 'You need to find something meaningful for sustainable happiness,' Dr Ho said. For Mr Chung, life has three distinct phases, or 'ages': learning to make a good living, making a good living and living a good life. 'The whole of society has invested in the first age, from kindergarten to university,' he said. 'When we go out to work the company, and sometimes our parents, also invest in the second age, when we upgrade ourselves with an MBA or an executive MBA. But nobody takes care of the transition from the second age to the third age.' To help fill this gap, Mr Chung opened an office last month in Wan Chai for what he calls the 'good life initiative'. Run on a philanthropic basis, it will enable him to run more seminars for retirement-age high-fliers. Mr Chung also plans to offer training and teaching materials to professional life coaches so they may provide similar support to ageing baby boomers across a broader spectrum, which he sees as a good business opportunity for them. A personal insight that his own life had been 'an entrepreneurial journey' led Mr Chung to combine his ideas on entrepreneurship with his thoughts on redesigning life. 'I started applying the principles, theories and tools of business to managing life.' He asks his seminar participants to make an inventory of their emotions - the good and the bad - then to consider what makes them happy and how to incorporate more of that into their lives. 'What I did was nothing new but it was amalgamating or integrating other people's ideas into a package,' said Mr Chung. He also promotes concepts not normally associated with the profit-driven corporate world, such as 'psychic income'. 'Most of our life we only think of business as those activities that bring in the dough, bring in the money. But actually we do all kinds of things that don't bring in money. It may be exchanging favours just for fun, or helping people with advice. And for the things that don't make money, what are the incentives we get, what do we bring in? I call it psychic income, what you feel good about.' There was a need for a good life initiative to support retirees long before the baby boomers came along, said Mr Chung. Now, however, far greater numbers were starting to 'feel the pain' of adjusting to retirement - and more was at stake for the future. 'The baby boomers are the richest generation in history. They have all the entrepreneurial skills, all the leadership skills, all the organisational skills and they have a lot of energy because they retire early,' said Mr Chung. 'If we don't trap this, if we don't ride this wave, the surfboard will not get up on the next wave. What we want to do is get these people to build rafts, big ships, or just to push a log into the water and get to the other side and then leave these vehicles for people coming behind.' Mr Chung's idea is to involve retirees 'at the very top of the pyramid' so they can become 'sages and mentors' for the next generation. He believes that, in the process of finding new purpose for themselves, they can develop social enterprises, products and services that provide job opportunities for those further down the pyramid. Mr Chung personally mentors budding entrepreneurs at the University of Hong Kong's Centre for Asian Entrepreneurship and Business Values. He provided seed money to establish the centre three years ago and teaches part of an MBA course there modelled on his ideas on entrepreneurship. Professor Richard Wong Yue-chim, who is deputy vice-chancellor and professor of economics at the university, said it was easy for Mr Chung, with his extensive business network, to recruit 20 to 30 veteran entrepreneurs as mentors. 'If each successful entrepreneur can help groom two to three young entrepreneurs per year, the number can be anywhere between 40 and 90 per year,' said Professor Wong. 'Once the multiplying effect of spreading the correct 'DNA' starts to kick in, the culture of entrepreneurialism can be developed in Hong Kong.' Retired business leaders and entrepreneurs are also in demand by Mr Chung as 'sages' for another philanthropic venture, the Creative Initiatives Foundation. It supports social enterprises and non-government organisations in Hong Kong with workshops and resources to help them be more innovative in solving social problems. Since 1999, Mr Chung has given HK$6 million in grants to some 50 organisations through the foundation.