Have a positive attitude towards your future
Your ability to ‘roll with the punches’ will dictate how you approach most areas of your future life.
There are life changes that you can expect in retirement;, both positive and challenging. In fact, sociologists have identified at least six separate “life transitions” that will affect most people as they move through their retirement life (which is why we say that retirement isn’t one long life phase).
Perhaps the greatest transition of all is the one that you see each time you look in a mirror and see yourself change .
It is easy to forget that “getting older” is a physical issue, not a mental one. . As Satchel Page once asked, “How old would you be…if you didn’t know how old you are?” When you think of the word ‘retirement’, what vision comes to mind?
Is retirement a work issue for you, or maybe a financial and investment plan?
Far too many pre retirees make the mistake of thinking that the financial plan and the retirement plan are the same thing–that the life part will take care of itself. This stage of your life deserves a more holistic look and plan than simply assuming that you are beginning a thirty-year long weekend.
What do you want your life to look like? What changes do you anticipate along the way? How will you get the most out of each and every day? Those are important questions as you contemplate your move into this next phase of your life.
- Pre-retirement: Planning Time
During the working years, retirement can appear to be both an oncoming burden and a distant paradise. Workers know that this stage of their lives is coming, and do everything they can to save for it, but often give little thought to what they will actually do once they reach the goal – the current demands that are placed upon them leave them little time to ponder this issue.
- The Big Day: Smiles, Handshakes, Farewells
By far the shortest stage in the retirement process is the actual cessation of employment itself. This is often marked by some sort of dinner, party or other celebration and has become a rite of passage for many, especially for those with distinguished careers. In some respects, this event is comparable to the ceremony that marks the beginning of a marriage.
- Honeymoon Phase: I’m Free!
Of course, honeymoons follow more than just weddings. Once the retirement celebrations are over, a period often follows when retirees get to do all the things that they wanted to do once they stopped working, such as travel, indulge in hobbies, visit relatives and so forth.
This phase has no set time frame and will vary depending upon how much honeymoon activity the retiree has planned.
- Disenchantment: So This Is It?
This phase parallels the stage in marriage when the emotional high of the wedding has worn off and the couple now has to get down to the business of building a life together.
After looking forward to this stage for so long, many retirees must deal with a feeling of letdown, similar to that of newlyweds once the honeymoon is over.
Retirement isn’t a permanent vacation after all; it also can bring loneliness, boredom, feelings of uselessness and disillusionment.
5. Reorientation: Building a New Identity
Fortunately, the letdown phase of retirement doesn’t last forever.
Just as married couples eventually learn how to live together, retirees begin to familiarize themselves with the landscape of their new circumstances and navigate their lives accordingly.
This is easily the most difficult stage in the emotional retirement process and takes both time and conscious effort to accomplish.
- Routine: Moving On
Finally, a new daily schedule is created, new marital ground rules for time together versus time alone are established and a new identity has been at least partially created.
Eventually, the new landscape becomes familiar territory, and retirees can enjoy this phase of their lives with a new sense of purpose.
The Bottom Line
Life planning is an important key to successful retirement.
Workers who have given serious time and thought to what they will do after they retire will generally experience a smoother transition than those who haven’t.
Dreams and goals that cannot be achieved with a single trip or project may translate into long-term, part-time employment or volunteer work. But it is never too soon to begin mapping out the course of the rest of your life.
As with all emotional processes that can be broken down into separate phases, it is not necessary to completely achieve one phase before beginning another (except, of course, for the actual cessation of employment).
But virtually all retirees will experience some form of this process after they stop working. Their ability to navigate these uncharted waters will ultimately determine how they live the last phase of their lives.
Retirement doesn’t happen only once. It’s an ongoing process that can easily last 30 years, and so it’s important to plan and prepare for every stage.
From the early days of retirement, when excitement and spending are high, to the later years of retirement, when you are slowing down and seeing your spending reduced dramatically, you will have to treat yourself and your investments differently, which is why planning for all stages of retirement is so important.
Read more: Journey Through The 6 Stages Of Retirement
The Latter Years
From 85 and up, your life in retirement will change pretty dramatically. Accept it or not, your energy will be a lot less, your health will worsen, and you may not be able to get around like you used to.
At this point, the cost of living drops dramatically because you won’t be going out as often, spending money on travel or keeping your gas tank filled up.
During the final stage of retirement, you will want to start thinking about your legacy, and if you have any heirs, what you want to leave to them.
You should also have a plan about how you will be cared for if your health suffers to the point you can no longer take care of yourself. You may need the help of family and friends to make important financial decision as your cognitive skills will be on the decline.
During the final stage of retirement, it’s important to focus on yourself, which means tending to your health, enjoying your loved ones and keeping a check on spending for unexpected costs.
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