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Retirement

Retirement

Emotional Preparation is Just as Important as Financial Preparation!

Baby Boomers Are Retiring

  • The largest generation (80 million) is preparing to leave the workforce.
  • Boomers' beliefs about retirement will be somewhat different from those of their parents'. Their life circumstances may raise concerns about future finances...
    • They may still be financially responsible for educating college age children, or
    • Taking care of aging parents, who are living longer.
  • The "Perennial Searchers" for an identity through meaningful work and achievement, Boomers may be looking to "retool" and find meaningful part-time work, after retirement.
  • Their challenge will be to find balance so that work is not the only means of defining who they are.
  • People are living longer, therefore Boomers are facing 20, 30 or 40 more years of life after retirement.

When The Age Clock Strikes 50

We are suddenly bombarded with reminders that retirement is around the corner...

Retirement

Our Reaction to these reminders about our encroaching retirement may span the "feeling" continuum from...

  • Fear
  • Denial (not yet!)
  • Anxiety (what must I do?)
  • Curiosity (what will life be like?)
  • Excitement
  • Anticipation (Ahh...)

Emotional Responses to Retirement

Retirement is thought to be a Developmental Life Stage. (Other developmental life stages are Marriage, Birth of Children, Adolescence, & Leaving Home for the First Time.) Emotional responses to developmental stages and transitions are quite normal. These Life Stage Changes can't be circumvented...we must adjust to changes and re-orient our lives to incorporate the changes.

Those Emotional Responses and our ability to cope with the changes that come with retirement will depend on a number of variables:

  • How flexible or rigid are you when change is necessary.
  • How much support or isolation exists in your life.
  • Is there a sense of well-being or is your self-regard/self-image negative?
  • Do you feel a sense of contentment with Life? Is there vitality in your life?; or do you feel your life lacks purpose or meaning?

The transition involved in retirement has implications for four areas of our lives:

Retirement
  • Psychological
    • Loss - Saying goodbye to colleagues, friends, to a certain routine and structure of the work world.
    • Loss - Work Identity which often defines our sense of worth.
    • Apprehension - Uncertainty about what comes next in regard to health, finances and activities can create apprehension and anxiety.
    • Resentment and Anger - Because the aging population is often undervalued by our society, one may wonder if they can still contribute.
  • Social
    • If most of the retiree's friends were work friends, one's contacts with those friends will diminish.
    • Because friendships are key to a sense of connectedness and well-being, retirees need to...
    • Expand their relationship base, by cultivating new relationships.
      • New relationships need to be with positive people so you and they can mutually encourage creative mental activity and growth in each other.
  • Family
    • When planning to retire one needs to actively and consistently include their spouse or life partner in the pre-retirement plans.
    • How will it be to spend more time and space with your spouse?
    • Inquire of your spouse how they feel about spending more time and space with you.
  • Financial
    • Fewer resources may raise anxiety about what one's quality of life will be, and what lifestyle changes may be necessary.

The Retirement Process

Retirement

Retirement is not a single event It's a process. There are several stages covering the whole spectrum of "the Retirement Phase."

  • Planning Phase
    • 1/3 of people have a plan
    • 1/3 are working on a plan
    • 1/3 may be stymied without a clue as to how to get started
  • Anticipation of Retirement Role-Playing Phase
    • Taking classes to investigate new interests
    • Developing new skills for post-retirement work
    • Who will I be once I stop working?
    • What will my mental, emotional and physical health be?
    • What losses will be there in my life?
  • Implementation Phase ("I know what I want")
    • This euphoria lasts about 1 year
  • Reality Phase
    • In the next 2-15 years, retirees go through a re-orienting phase...they either:
      • Reinvent themselves
      • Remain content to slow down
      • Continue searching for who and what they want to be
  • Making Peace with Retirement Phase
    • This is achieved when one realizes that life can still consist of meaningful relationships and meaningful activities.

Consider Your Options

Retirement

Consider your many options...life is not over. There is no one model for how to retire. The possibilities are as varied as an individual's finger prints.

  • Remaining in the workforce in a reduced or consultant role
    • Because of the impending labor shortfalls, employers will be motivated to retain older workers.
    • With flexible work arrangements and "telework" opportunities, older workers can still contribute.
  • Retooling
    • Retraining for another profession , starting a business, and furthering one's education are all viable plans during this phase of retirement.
  • It's My Turn Now To Do (what I couldn't do before...)
    • Volunteer work, help my adult children by becoming a "soccer grandparent"
    • Enjoy being free of commitments
    • Practice being inner-directed

Remember that defining retirement as "the stage where you are not working" is an inadequate definition.

"Retirement Today Is The Ability To Achieve The Freedom To Pursue Your Own Goals, At Your Own Pace And On Your Own Terms"
... Ron Miller, DDS