There are a few stages of retirement that we all either have already or will experience. Being cognizant of these will help us prepare for as well as increase our enjoyment of the retirement experience.
Let’s discuss a few of these stages of retirement in this article in order to enhance both our preparation and experience of a vibrant and meaningful retirement where we are fully engaged in life. In this way, we not only enjoy this part of our lives, but we continue to learn, grow, and contribute to others and the world.
What Exactly Are These Stages of Retirement?
In order to get the most out of our retirement experience let’s find out what some of these stages of retirement are. Then we can discuss some ideas to get the most positive impact out of each stage.
* Planning — in this stage we do some financial planning preferably with the assistance of an investment advisor who is also a fiduciary. This allows us to understand how to best structure our current finances and investments and make any needed adjustments for retirement. Earlier the better in our financial planning, but it is never too late to start. Also, along the lines of planning, we also need to prepare ourselves emotionally for this part of our lives
* Pulling the Plug — this is where we actually retire from our full-time job. For some, this is a relief from working at a job they didn’t like and were there just for the money and benefits, and for some others, like myself, it can be a bittersweet experience especially when you enjoy what you are doing and value the people with whom you have worked for quite some time. In my case, I desired the freedom of more time to spend with my family and pursue other activities. Each person will have different reasons to make this transition.
* Figuring Things Out — in this phase some folks may get very active and do a bunch of activities such as travel and spend more time on hobbies, while others may just spend some time reflecting on what this part of their lives will look like. Many may experience an emotional roller coaster as they feel a bit lost. This is where it pays to do the prep work ahead of time not only with the finances but preparing for the emotional shift from working full-time to asking ourselves, “now what?“. After so many years of an active working lifestyle, and anticipating a time when we can let go of all that responsibility and just relax, many are hit by an unexpected feeling: boredom. Now, this obviously does not affect everyone, but it does show up in the lives of more retirees than you may think. There are creative ways to get around this that we will discuss a little later.
* Settling In — for some this may mean to prioritize a few things that need to get done on a daily and regular basis and enjoy the time spent away from work. For others, it can mean actually reinventing themselves to pursue some new goals that take them in new directions. This can be a new career, meaningful volunteer activities, an all-encompassing hobby, or other creative ways to spend this newfound wealth of time and freedom. For those in need of additional income, it is making decisions that will not only fill that gap but provide interesting experiences, social contact, and interesting work.
* Contentment and Fulfillment — as previously discussed this exact retirement scenario will be different for everyone. What is most important is not to short-change ourselves and settle for less than we deserve. Although there are many outside factors that we do not directly control, we most definitely are in charge of our attitude and the decisions we make. We deserve to be happy, and part of choosing happiness is welcoming all challenges for the self-growth they provide as well as other unknown and hidden benefits that only show up when we stay fully engaged in life.
Enjoying the Retirement Process
Regardless of what stage or phase of retirement we may be in it is important to do our best to enjoy this process. We spent many years getting here, and we deserve to have a fulfilling and joyful time.
Basically, it is a conscious choice to find ways to stay fully engaged in life. We can create the ideal retirement lifestyle with a little time spent contemplating what we most desire at this point in life, and planning how we will get there.
Often during our working years, we have been so preoccupied with making a living, raising a family, as well as a myriad of other responsibilities that we did not give ourselves the time to discover what our purpose really is for our life. Now is the perfect time to reacquaint ourselves with ourselves and dig a little deeper into getting to know ourselves better.
Exercise, meditation, friendships, more “me” time, weekend getaways, hobbies, volunteer work, and anything else that you can think of that is important deserves to be on our list of things to do. In the larger scope of things, there really is nowhere to go and nothing to get other than to Be Happy Now.
Active retirement communities are a choice for some folks who desire to stay engaged socially and enjoy an active lifestyle.
Simplifying Our Stages of Retirement
The best way to keep the stages of retirement simple is by understanding that the best is yet to come, and by consciously making it a point to put our happiness first ahead of any worries or concerns. This is not always easy to do, but it is doable.
Being proactive and moving forward with our aspirations opens up many new possibilities in our lives. In fact, there are more entrepreneurs and successful entrepreneurs, over the age of fifty (50) than any other age group. New goals and accomplishments are waiting for us at any age. Here is a great site, Encore.Org that brings younger and older folks together to solves problems and make a positive change in the world.
Think big, lose the fear, and take some risks. Feeling alive is worth the price. Now I am not saying you have to be totally outrageous, but just as an example here are a few folks who have far exceeded the expectations of the stages of retirement that I just outlined. As I have stated in other articles there are many ways to be semi-retired and anything is possible.
In any event, it is important not to get stuck in a daily routine, but instead, do things spontaneously on the spur of the moment, try out new recipes, new restaurants, do some gardening, or even move to a new location that is desirable. We can find meaning and purpose in our lives in many ways.
We grow the most when things are hard. We “accept” things as they are and then create a plan to get from point A to point B dealing with the resistance and challenges along the way. Who we Become far exceeds any material gratifications.
As we move through our stages of retirement let’s go for the max, and not shortchange our dreams of exceeding all of our prior expectations. We are not only worth it, but we deserve to be the best we can be and fulfill our unique purpose in life. When we ask ourselves if we are satisfied with retirement, let’s say yes.
May all your dreams ignite your heartfelt actions.
All the very Best,