If you are like many people that are finishing up their last few weeks, months, or year of work; chances are you have a lot on your mind as the first day of retirement approaches. How do you feel? Are you excited? Anxious? Worried? What thoughts are swirling around in your mind? Are you thinking about freedom and relaxation, or are you unsure what you will do with yourself when the day comes and you no longer have to wake up at 5 AM to get ready for work? Regardless of how you feel or what you’re thinking about, you are not alone.
We hear stories from retirees each day about what their step into retirement looked like. For some, retirement fits like a glove. It’s as if retirement is a long lost friend with whom they have just reunited.
For others, they had big plans for all of the things they were going to do to keep them busy. They were going to golf every day, lounge by the pool, or spend time in the garden. Once they realized they couldn’t or didn’t want to do these activities every day, it was difficult finding new things to fill up their free time.
Still, there are others who never thought about retirement until they walked out the door on their last day of work. Many of them managed to figure out how to fill their time, but some couldn’t quite come to terms with being retired and decided to rejoin the workforce.
From what we have gathered, each of these three experiences correlates with how much planning the individual had completed prior to retirement. Those that truly thought through what they wanted to achieve during retirement had the least amount of difficulty transitioning. Those that never considered what retirement would be like had the most stress and anxiety as they made their way.
So, what can you do to prepare and ensure you have a smooth transition into retirement? There are many things to consider, but here are some ideas to get you started.
- Ask yourself what you will do with this newly found “free time.” After you come up with some ideas, ask yourself what you will do if and when those things aren’t enough to keep you busy. From what we hear, it happens quite often.
- Think about the people you normally spend time with during the day. For most of us, it’s our co-workers. Now that you are not seeing them each day, think about who you want to spend your days with. This will also help you determine where you want to live. Some prefer to be closer to town and social events while others prefer being further away. Maybe you want to move closer to children or grandchildren.
- Begin experimenting with things that will help you feel a sense of purpose or self-worth outside of your work. What skills do you have that you can contribute to others? Do you want to volunteer, be a mentor, or help take care of family? Don’t wait until you are retired to get started. Getting involved in these things now will also help you form relationships you can carry into retirement. This may just be the most important aspect of transitioning into retirement
- Map out your goals and future endeavors. As you get closer to that day, it will give you peace of mind knowing that you have a plan in place. No more worrying about what you’ll do. It’s already laid out.
Don’t let that first day sneak up on you. Start trying on your retirement shoes today. Each step today will help you feel more comfortable when you finally take that first step into retirement.
If you would like to know how we can help you think through these things and uncover your life’s goals, give us a call or click here.