Retirement is a period that transitions a person from working to one of leisure, achievements, and free time. However, many people feel like their job and career define who they are, so transitioning to retirement can be a difficult time.
Understanding the 5 stages of retirement can put you in control of the whole experience.
As is the case with one of life’s passages, retirement can involve several feelings and worries.
Despite this, as you move through some of the stages of retirement preparation, you can become more knowledgeable about what retirement might involve, as well as how to manage this new stage of life.
Transitioning to retirement from a life of work, as well as the period after retirement can be difficult at the start. However, no matter how old you are, you can take control of your surroundings and make this period a fulfilling one.
To prepare you for this shift into retirement, you’ll find the common stages of retirement below. Most retirees will go through some or all of these along their journey, but being aware of these different ones can help you manage your concerns and emotions when the time comes.
The 5 Stages Of Retirement
First Retirement Stage: Before Retirement
The first of the stages of retirement is the period before retiring. This is when you start thinking about what retirement life might look like for you, as well as things you might plan for these years.
This phase can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years before retiring, though it might be even more for others.
In most cases, people start concentrating on their career goals to focus on generating enough financial income for retirement. However, many people are guilty of avoiding their emotional needs.
It’s important to plan activities that will ensure you keep having fun, as well as find hobbies that give you purpose outside of a career.
Your retirement budget should factor in your emotional plans, as well as your financial ones. Important lifestyle choices, like spending less to make your finances last, can help you prepare for your emotional and financial needs in the future.
The first stage of retirement can be a thrilling time, but it can also inflict concerns and worries on others, particularly the first year or two before retirement.
Several people start to feel anxious about having enough money to last for retirement, but try to remember that this is completely normal.
Second Retirement Stage: Retirement
The freedom stage of retirement starts at the beginning and can last one or two years after you have settled into retirement. This honeymoon stage usually involves positive emotions, like enthusiasm, happiness, and freedom from the responsibilities of your old life.
People in the second phase tend to spend this time connecting with their spouses and family members, as well as meeting new and old friends. They also spend time on activities, hobbies, traveling, and even creating their own business.
Despite this, other people decide to stick to a routine soon after entering retirement. They may start each day with a set plan in mind, while some continue hobbies that were part of their day when they worked.
Everyone is different, so while some prefer to keep active and energized throughout this period, others may prefer to relax and enjoy a nice rest after taking on demanding high-stress jobs.
Third Retirement Stage: Disappointment
After the positive emotions start to wear off from the beginning of retirement, a lot of retirees enter a phase of disappointment and frustration.
Many people spend a lot of their working life dreaming about retirement, but once it arrives, it may not feel as enjoyable as they pictured in their heads.
This can lead to retirees feeling less fulfilled as they think that they are missing out on life. People can slip into various emotional states, like solitude, monotony, and feeling futile.
If this isn’t taken seriously, these people might enter a depression, which can have serious consequences on one’s mental health.
Fourth Retirement Stage: Change Of Direction
The fourth retirement phase is often considered the most difficult one. Once retirees go through their retirement checklist, they might feel less fulfilled, which leads them to pursue a new change of direction.
This stage involves generating a new identity around retirement, but this can take a lot of time and work to do. However, once you have created this new character and feelings, you can start feeling a sense of accomplishment after each day.
Retirees can avoid falling into depressive states and monotonous routines by finding activities that are enjoyable and give them purpose. These can range from volunteering to trying hobbies that you never got the chance to in your working life.
Once you start working towards this new direction, you can begin enjoying retirement again.
Fifth Retirement Stage: Satisfaction And Settling Down
The last stage can begin as many as 15 years after one enters retirement. People entering this phase are satisfied with the years to come and may overcome some of their depression, feeling less anxious as a whole.
People in this phase are stable in their retirement routine, carrying out activities that make them feel a sense of purpose. Many retirees focus on the simple things in life, settling into a relaxing lifestyle.
Despite this, health conditions can become more serious at this point, so many retirees shift their focus on keeping as much good health and independence as possible.
Some choose to move into retirement homes that have good healthcare, plenty of hobbies, and a community of friends close at hand.
The Bottom Line
Each retiree will experience the stages of retirement differently. Some might go through stages quicker than others, but in most cases, retirees will go through these stages one by one after they leave working life.
Being aware of these can help you from shock when the time comes.
All significant life transitions can involve an array of emotions, and retirement is no exception. If you’re worried about this period, you can help your future self by preparing for each of the stages listed above.
Preparing for your financial and emotional needs are some of the best things you can do so you can enjoy your retirement life as much as you can.