Everyone talks a lot about how to prepare for retirement financially, but there is less focus on how to adjust your mindset in retirement and manage expectations. You might not be happy every single day in retirement, but that doesn’t mean your retirement won’t be happy. Transitioning into retirement is no small task, and research shows that the way people feel about their retirements follows a u-shaped curve; first people are quite positive, then not as much, and then are positive again. It seems that there are 4 phases in retirement.
Stage 1: The Honeymoon
Many people idealize retirement: We see advertisements for trips we can take, cabins in the woods and beach houses we can move to once we don’t have to go into an office every day, and when we’re busy, the idea of unlimited free time is tempting. So, when people finally reach retirement and don’t wake up to an alarm clock everyday and go golfing instead of commuting, it’s no surprise that they experience an initial honeymoon phase. During the first few months, it’s easy to enjoy the simple pleasures and newfound freedom retirement offers, but after a while boredom, loneliness, or a lack of purpose can set in.
Stage 2: Disenchantment
The second stage is disenchantment; some retirees feel an emotional letdown after a while of living without a schedule or productive role. If a retiree hasn’t replaced the social contact they had at work with frequent social engagements, they can feel lonely and miss the socialization work offered them.
Stage 3: Reorientation
After experiencing disenchantment, retirees can re-orient themselves. Once they come to a more realistic understanding of what retirement is, they can make adjustments to their lifestyle that improve their attitude towards their retirement. Filling in schedules with more trips, time with family and friends, and meaningful hobbies, mentorships, or volunteering can help to re-orient retirees towards a more meaningful retirement.
Stage 4: Stability
The final stage is stability. After a while, careers are seen as in the past, and new routines and goals are seen as the new present. Even during times of boredom or disillusionment with retirement, retirees can remember that when it comes down to it, the financial stability that allows them to stay retired instead of going back to work is priceless.
Understanding the stages of retirement can help you through times when reality doesn’t live up to expectations. Making adjustments to your lifestyle and not taking the many things to love about retirement for granted are ways to re-establish a positive feeling about your retirement. The professionals at Madrona Financial can help you get to and through retirement by creating a comprehensive retirement plan that takes your needs and goals into account. Click here to schedule your no cost, no obligation financial review today.