There's More to Retirement than Just Numbers
Have you considered the emotional aspects of retirement and how to plan wisely? In today’s world, people are working well past the age of 65 before retiring. Some people who are in good health may not be ready to retire just yet because they like what they do, want to keep busy, or need the extra money.
If retirement isn’t in the cards just yet, it never hurts to begin preparing emotionally for the change that will occur in life when retirement does happen and a new phase of life begins. If retirement is knocking on your door, you may want to start preparing yourself emotionally for it now, because preparation goes beyond making sure you have enough income.
Dealing with Retirement
Retirement is an issue we all must face, but most of us don’t give significant thought as to how our life will change once we stop working. Because we often intermingle our identity with our work, we can be dealt quite a shock in determining “who we are” once we retire.
Instead of looking at this new phase of life with worry or fear, consider it a chance to explore hobbies and do things you have always dreamed about. We can learn how to better prepare for retirement emotionally by asking ourselves a few relevant questions about the subject, such as:
- How do you plan to live when you retire? Do you prefer a house, condo or apartment?
- Where do you want to live? Will it be near your children, or in another state? In the city, suburbs, or in a rural area? Do you prefer a warm or cool climate?
- Are you married or have a significant other that you live with? If so, how do they feel about your answers to the questions?
- How is your health and will you require assisted living?
- How much of your money do you plan to spend during your retirement and do you want an allotment set aside for your children?
If you are married, retirement will be a big adjustment for you and your spouse. Each person may have a different idea of their “dream retirement.” In addition, spending more time together can also put stress on a relationship, as you will need to adjust to each other’s new schedule.
If you are single, it doesn’t hurt to begin thinking about how you will want to spend your new freedom. Also, you might want to consider moving near friends or family members, or into a senior community in order to foster relationships and stay active. With so many questions that need to be addressed for the season of life after retirement, considering all of these areas before you retire can help you psychologically adjust better to the change.
What Determines Your identity?
To properly prepare for retirement, it’s important to recognize that it is a major life transition that will impact you on an emotional level. It helps to prepare yourself emotionally by re-thinking your identity and your place in the world.
Your self-image is important, and many people identify strongly with what they do and the relationships they keep. You may identify as an executive of a large corporation, physician, an attorney, or a business owner. Those identifications can fall away the moment you retire, which makes room for new growth in your personal development.
According to retired counseling psychology professor, Nancy Schlossberg, there are different ways to approach retirement and finding one’s new identity. These approaches include:
- Being a searcher: This is someone who looks into different activities and hobbies once they are retired, similar to how a high school graduate may try different things before settling on a college major. Searchers may seek out different volunteer opportunities, take on new projects, or try a new hobby.
- Becoming an adventurer: People who fall into this category upon retirement typically seek out an entirely new adventure. For instance, an architect may become an artist, or a dentist may become a baker. This type of person considers retirement as a way to make an exciting change in life.
- Being a continuer: Continuers take something they did as a career and adjust it to continue on through retirement. For example, a journalist might become an author or start a blog. In these roles, we maintain some form of our work-related identity but it manifests in a different way.
- Becoming an easy glider or retreater: Other identities post-retirement include easy gliders, people who don’t have a set schedule and may do something different each day, or retreaters, those who stay at home until they decide what path they want to take next.
Purpose and Retirement
Having an emotionally healthy retirement means acknowledging that you are transitioning into a new lifestyle, with new friends, experiences, and most likely a new identity. Retirement requires patience, adjustments, and consideration into your new purpose in life.
Don’t forget to be flexible, realistic, and patient with yourself when setting retirement goals and determining your new lifestyle. Also, don’t forget to take your health and physical activity into account when emotionally planning for retirement; maintaining your health as long as possible will allow you to do all of the things you want when you retire.
Lastly, when thinking about retirement, we cannot forget the financial aspect. As financial professionals, we are here to help you gain financial confidence and reach your retirement goals as you take on this important life transition. Please contact us for a complimentary consultation.
Emotional Side Of Retirement Planning
Barbara Shapiro- MSF- CFP- CMC- CDFA
Preparing Yourself Mentally For Retirement