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Transitioning into RetirementThe light is finally visible at the end of the tunnel, the day you’ve dreamed of, your retirement day!

You think that you’ve done everything you need to do to be ready for this day, but have you?

The fact is that many people find they haven’t prepared themselves nearly as well as they thought.  The piece of the plan they’ve missed is the psychological aspect of transitioning into retirement.

“When I ask people to tell me about their retirement plan, they describe their 401 K and IRA’s. But that’s just how they’re going to fund their retirement, not what they’ll be doing during retirement.  Unfortunately, people put more time into planning a trip to Disneyworld than how they’ll spend the next 25-35 years of their life.” – Dan Veto Senior VP of Age Wave.

Transitioning into Retirement

Mr. Veto was speaking about the emotional and psychological aspect of retiring with this statement and many of us haven’t given this aspect very much thought, we just know we feel ready to retire

If your plans include retirement within the next few years, now is the time to start thinking about it and to prepare yourself as much as possible for the feelings and changes ahead.  After all, retirement is one of life’s greatest transitions.  It ends the built-in social life that working often includes.  It also ends the validation and identity our career has provided.

As women, we often nurture and care for others before ourselves, so I want to challenge you to give yourself permission to think about you right now.

  • What would it take to make you happy in retirement?
  • How are you preparing yourself?
  • What plans are you making?
  • Are you preparing for the psychological aspects of retiring?

Things to think about as you prepare for transitioning into retirement…

What would a happy, content retirement look like for you?   A very good way to begin looking at this and defining it is to start writing it down in a retirement journal.

It’s never too soon or too late to start journaling. The process of writing your thoughts and ideas down helps you to think more deeply about them, to sort them out and to make changes to your plans as your own self-awareness increases.

  • include things you love to do
  • experiences you want to have
  • your goals for retirement and what steps you’ll take to accomplish those goals
  • ask yourself what will give meaningful purpose to your life
  • what are your core values

Let go of what others tell you that you “should” do. What do you want to do?  Doing things that are “shoulds” or things that we feel like we have to do or are obligated to do, is hard on our well-being, no matter what age we are.

Transitioning into Retirement

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Retirement is an opportunity for growth, learning, and discovery…

Challenge yourself to learn new things in retirement. What have you always wanted to do, but never had the time or freedom to do while working 9-5?

  1. Take some adult education classes at the local junior college.
  2. Finish a degree.
  3. Research your family tree.
  4. Take a job doing something you love to do.
  5. Volunteer for a cause you believe in.
  6. Begin an exercise program, with physician approval of course.
  7. Join a book club.
  8. Mentor others.
  9. Make new friends.
  10. Travel.

Whatever you do, don’t let yourself sit and stagnate! Get up, get out and get going! Have a spirit of adventure! And include these thoughts and plans in your retirement journaling project.

Transitioning into Retirement

How you interpret old age will affect your mindset toward yourself and your retirement…

What do you believe about aging? Are your ideas about aging positive ones?

Kelly McGonigal, in her book “The Upside of Stress” states that having a positive view of aging adds an average of 8 years to your life. That is a very powerful statement.

I’ve always felt that attitude is 90% of life. How we see that glass, as half empty or half full. We all love to read stories of those that have faced tragedy and overcome to live positive, contributing lives.  You have the power to turn negative thoughts into positive ones!

Are you unhappy and unaccepting because you’re getting “old” or loving yourself and life at every age?

I love this quote by Mark Twain, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”.

Positive relationships keep us healthier and happier

Friendships can be affected by retirement. Many friendships develop in the workplace and after retirement, even with the best intentions, they begin to fade away.  Start to develop friends outside of the workplace now, before you retire.

We also need friends outside of our family. If you don’t have that right now, think about expanding your circle of friends to include others.

Some ideas as ways to connect with others that have the same interests as you are:

  1. Start a walking group.
  2. Host a game night.
  3. Join a club that is focused on doing something you love, such as a cooking club, reading club or crafting group.
  4. Church
  5. Travel groups
  6. Volunteering with an organization you’re passionate about.
  7. Get to know your neighbors.

Transitioning into Retirement

The bottom line, plan for the emotional aspect of retirement…

Retirement and the changes that come along with it can be very exciting and positive if you’ve prepared yourself.  You can set yourself up for a fulfilling retirement by beginning to anticipate the emotional adjustments that you’ll face.

Good luck transitioning into retirement! May those years be the best years of your life!





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