Have you considered the emotional aspects of retirement and how to plan wisely for your identity change?
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.
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 corporation, a physician, 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 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.
Transitioning to a New Purpose
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 retirement planning experts, 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.
Adapted with permission from the Oechsli Institute.
Emotional Side Of Retirement Planning, Barbara Shapiro- MSF- CFP- CMC- CDFA
Preparing Yourself Mentally For Retirement, Nanci Hellmich