Advice matters
How to navigate the transition to retirement

After a long life of work, retirement is a major and welcome milestone for many, and the beginning of a new chapter. However, like many big changes in life, it can also be challenging at times.

So, here are some handy tips on how to navigate this transition successfully.

The six stages of retirement

Retiring is an emotionally complex experience. And while every journey is different, according to this interesting article most retirees go through the same six phases:

  • Pre-retirement

This is when people start dreaming and planning the life they’ve always desired for their retirement. It’s a good idea to write down what that looks like for you: the earlier you start, the better you can ensure that your financial plans and your retirement lifestyle are aligned.

In the meantime, as this paper notes, know that it’s absolutely natural to feel a little disengaged as you begin to cut down on your work commitments.

  • Retirement event

The act of retiring is a rite of passage. Suddenly, a lot of things change. You have to let go of your place of work, your daily commutes and schedules, and other daily routines that have been setting the rhythm of your life for decades. And letting go can be challenging, potentially resulting in feelings of disorientation, loneliness, and loss of identity.

What’s more, the transition from working and saving to retirement and spending means you can no longer rely on a regular work income – and this shift can be confronting. One key way to reduce the stress of this transition is to have a comprehensive financial plan. Knowing that the financial side of things is sorted can give you invaluable peace of mind, and help you look to the future with confidence and anticipation.

  • Honeymoon

The first few months after retirement can be exciting, too. Your retirement is here, and you may see opportunities everywhere. It’s a positive phase, and if you have good financial plans in place, this contentment can last for a while. New thoughts, expectations and feelings arise, as you create new routines for yourself, filling in the blanks of your newfound spare time.

  • Disenchantment

You spent years saving money and making plan. What if you suddenly realised that retirement doesn’t meet your expectations?

It can happen, and feelings of loneliness are common for retirees who transition through this phase. The reality is that some people find it difficult to find a sense of purpose without a day job. So, now that the novelty effect has waned, you’re faced with a new challenge: redefining your own identity.

  • Reorientation

Whether you went through the Disenchantment phase or not, at some point you will have to reorient yourself and find your place in the world. In his paper, Washington University’s late professor Terry Mitchell suggests reflecting on two criteria: what you enjoy doing, and what you think is meaningful. This can help you understand what to do next, and possibly even find new passions to pursue.

  • Routine

And now, the sixth and final phase of this transition: time to settle into your retirement routine. Everyone is different, and some may take years to get to this point, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t happen as fast as you expected. Of course, finding your routine doesn’t mean the journey is over: you’ll need to keep making adjustments along the way, as your personal and financial needs evolve.

The importance of having a plan

Retirement is a major life transition that can test your resilience in more than one way. As you take care of your physical, emotional, and social well-being, make sure you keep your financial health top of mind.

Having a financial plan can help ease some of the emotional stress you may feel, allowing you to plan for the future with more confidence, and focus on enjoying this new chapter. By combining a solid financial plan with a focus on your overall well-being, you can embrace this new phase with a sense of fulfilment and peace of mind.

Thinking about retirement planning?

Get in touch. As financial advisers, we can help you map out the journey ahead and anticipate the challenges.

Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.