Retirement has probably been on your mind since your very first paycheck (or at least it should have been). And for a good reason—a successful and enjoyable retirement requires a substantial amount of wealth and careful planning.
Preparing for retirement from an emotional perspective, however, doesn’t get as much time and thought. Similar to entering the workforce, getting married, or having a child, retirement is a major life event and the start of a new life chapter. It’s marked by a change in identity, new emotions, different routines, and shifts in responsibilities and relationships.
As you near retirement, it’s wise to be meticulous about your finances and ensure you’re on track to live the retirement life you want, but try not to neglect the emotional preparations as well. Retirement is too special to feel anything but satisfied and fulfilled.
Emotional Stages of Retirement
The psychology of retirement has been studied extensively. There are believed to be typical emotional stages of retirement that individuals experience.
Some of these stages include:
- Preparation. This stage involves anticipating your upcoming retirement, perhaps filled with thoughts of excitement. You’re ready to be relieved of your career responsibilities and looking forward to the freedom that comes with retirement.
- Honeymoon Period. This stage is pretty self-explanatory—you’ve officially left the workforce and are enjoying your freedom! Perhaps you’re vacationing, catching up with friends, or dusting off old hobbies. You’re slowly and happily working through all the things on the “retirement bucket list” you made during your final working years.
- The Let-Down. What goes up…. must come down. Unfortunately, the honeymoon phase doesn’t last until your final breath. After a while, you start to settle into the day-to-day of retirement life, which can bring a whole new host of emotions such as boredom, loss of identity, or purposelessness.
- Reshuffling. This phase involves pursuing new interests and hobbies, ones that you may not have originally planned. These new activities are often more sustainable than the big trips and exciting things you accomplished at the very beginning of your retirement. This stage is filled with tremendous personal growth and opportunities, ideally leading to contentment.
- Moving forward. As you settle into your new stage of life, you can slowly feel more confident about your new retirement identity and move forward.
These are general emotional stages of retirement that many people have experienced. Depending on your social support, preparation, health, and other factors, you may or may not experience these stages (or at least not in this order).
The best way to prepare for retirement is to carefully consider what you want out of your golden years.
How to Prepare Emotionally for Retirement
Preparing emotionally for retirement takes time, reflection, and effort. Everyone’s retirement experience will look and feel different—embrace your unique opportunities and desires.
Starting your preparations early will help you navigate the many emotions you’ll likely face in retirement. In your retirement preparation stage, consider the following:
- Envision your retirement day-to-day.
- Brainstorm new activities and hobbies.
- Invest in relationships.
- Discover your identity apart from your job.
1. Envision your retirement day-to-day
Your everyday routine (after your honeymoon period filled with particularly high levels of excitement and new experiences) should be carefully envisioned.
What do you want your day to look like? Do you want structure and routine? Do you have an exercise program you’d like to follow? Will you meal plan and prep or just go with the flow? If applicable, how will your partner fit into your schedule?
The beauty of retirement is that you can create and follow your own schedule. Perhaps you’ll still want to wake up early and be productive or maybe you’d prefer starting your day later. There’s no right or wrong routine, it’s completely customized to your preferences!
You’ll also want to consider where you’ll want to live, which can bring a whole new host of emotions and changes. Do you want to downsize to a condo or townhome? Continue living in the home you raised your family in? Retire to the mountains or beach? You’ll need to consider how your retirement location will impact your family relationships, too.
2. Brainstorm new activities and hobbies
In your retirement, you’ll want to strike a balance between relaxing and also being productive. Many people don’t do well going from full-time work to absolutely nothing—our human nature inclines us to be productive and purposeful.
Think about stimulating activities both for your mind and body. Your mind can be stimulated through reading, taking a class, volunteering, teaching others, playing games, writing, and engaging in rich conversations. You can take care of your body by joining a local gym or community center and taking a group class, walking with friends, gardening, and dancing.
There are a plethora of options for retirees to keep their minds sharp and their bodies active—explore what interests you most!
3. Invest in relationships
Before you officially retire, take stock of your relationships and prioritize whom you’d like to spend energy and time on. Maybe it’s your partner, close friends, children, grandchildren, or neighbors.
If your current relationships are mostly tied to your current position, you’ll especially want to look outside of your work circle for close friends you can spend time with during retirement.
As you invest in relationships, it’s important to remember to be present and curious about the lives of others. Your life experiences and lessons can tremendously impact the next generation—think about who you want to share your wisdom and advice with.
4. Discover your identity apart from your job
When you spend the majority of your time in a role, it’s understandable that your identity feels intertwined with your job title. As you emotionally prepare for retirement, think about who you are (and who you want to be) outside of your career.
Local citizen, community activist, mentor, grandparent, church member, spouse, role model, gardener, coach, philanthropist…the possibilities are endless! Consider how you want to be described and characterized in your golden years.
Prepare Financially (And Emotionally) For Retirement with Five Pine Wealth
A purposeful life after retirement is entirely possible. One of the best ways to prepare emotionally for retirement is to first be financially ready.
Having your nest egg in order can significantly reduce stress and anxiety as you enter your retirement period. It frees you up to enjoy your life, discover new hobbies, engage in different opportunities, travel, and spend quality time with your loved ones.
To see how we can help you prepare for retirement, check out our website or give us a call at 877.333.1015. We can’t wait to connect with you!