Deciding whether or not it’s your time to retire is an important decision and it can be a challenging one. Thoughts of relaxing, choosing new ways to spend your time, seeing more of your loved ones, and traveling start to enter your mind. The idea of enjoying these things without having to worry about your job is a wonderful one. As wonderful as the ideas are though, are you emotionally ready to retire?
Retirement comes with a lot of hidden aspects and adjustments. There are logistics to get in order and emotions you may not be prepared for. Let us walk you through this decision and point out all of the important details you should know about retiring.
Emotional Signs That You’re Ready To Retire
Dreaming of retired life is easy. You dream of vacationing, easy mornings, and less stress. Even if you’ve been dreaming about your retirement for a while, how can you be sure that you’re ready to make the leap? There are many different emotional signs that you could be showing that can tell you you’re ready.
Take a look at these emotional signs that point to retiring:
- Resenting your job and daydreaming about retirement while you’re on the clock.
- Not identifying yourself with your occupation or position.
- Being jealous of the people you know who have already retired.
- Having a hefty pros list for retirement that outweighs the cons.
- No longer being excited by the opportunities for career advancement.
These are all tell-tale signs that you could be ready to retire. If you’re finding yourself constantly thinking about what your life will be like outside of the workplace, and feeling envious of those you know who have already made the big decision, then you should consider retiring seriously.
Adjusting to the Retired Life
As great as retirement can be, there are mental adjustments that you’ll probably have to overcome. This is normal and can be easily dealt with. These adjustments are things like restlessness, anxiety, and even boredom. If you’re someone who is feeling these things, you can adjust more easily by not quitting work cold turkey. We like to call this “bridging the gap.” You can choose to move from full-time work to part-time until you ease into the ideas of retirement.
The adjustment period looks different for everyone, and the amount of time it takes to adjust to retirement varies. Keep a positive outlook and remember that adjusting will happen and you will enjoy your retirement!
The Emotional Stages of Retirement
Now that you’re aware of the emotional aspects of retirement, we can look a little deeper into the stages and what comes with them. There are five typical emotional stages that come from Phil Rich’s “How Best to Retire.” Here’s a little bit about each of these stages.
- The Pre-Retirement Period: This is the period before retirement that you’ll spend planning and daydreaming. You’ll be imagining what your newfound time will be spent doing, and you’ll probably be filled with excitement and maybe a few nerves about retirement.
- The Honeymoon Period: As sweet as it sounds. This period lasts a different amount of time for each person, but the typical amount of time is three to six months. This is the stage where you’ll start checking things off your bucket list and when you’ll spend as much time as you can with your family and hobbies.
- The Disenchantment Period: After you’ve checked some things off your bucket list and to-do list, you might start feeling like retiring wasn’t worth it. Feelings of doubt that you made the right decision may creep up, and that’s totally normal.
- The Reorientation Period: You’ll want to get out of the disenchantment phase of things and get more excited about your new freedom, which is where this period comes in. Reorientation is when you can start up new hobbies, and you’ll be able to find a new you.
- The Stability Period: This period could take years, and that’s normal. You’ll start to feel settled into your new life. This is the stage where you’ll start to focus more on maintaining your health and lifestyle, while still enjoying your hobbies and retirement plans.
All About the Retirement Lifestyle
One great thing about retiring is the fact that you can choose a new lifestyle, or focus on the lifestyle you’ve had but have wanted to enhance. There are so many different lifestyles to think about. This includes where you want to live and whether you want to rent, buy, or get that beach house you’ve always dreamt of.
Lifestyle includes how you live. You’ll have the time and mental space to refine your ways of living, whether that includes being more active or more restful. You get to choose how you spend all of your time, which is a beautiful thing. Whichever lifestyle you decide to embark on, it’s important to stay moving.
Retirement sounds like a lot of leisure time, which is great, but it also leaves ample time to get outside, work in the garden, meet with friends, and plan your vacations. You don’t have to sit around and wait for things to happen! Get excited for all the ways you can fill your time.
Inspiring Stories From Other Retirees
It’s one thing for us to tell you all about retirement, but even better if we let you hear from real retirees. Below are inspiring retirement stories from five different people who have already taken the step into this new lifestyle.
Karen retired at 55 and soon needed some more adventure in her life. She first felt bored and was searching for a purpose, so she looked for more work to do. This aligns with the Disenchantment Period. Soon after, though, Karen and her husband sold everything they had and started traveling the world. The two, now both retired, knew they always wanted to travel, so they made the big decision to leave their life to see more of the world.
Cynthia and her husband, she says, were kind of forced into retirement due to the recession in 2009. Formerly a real estate agent, Cynthia knew that she and her husband needed to make a huge decision once they started seeing their savings shrink and their home value decrease.
The couple made the decision to retire early and move abroad. Cynthia and her husband moved from Las Vegas to Ecuador. They are able to live a lifestyle they love at a lower cost than they would be able to otherwise.
James is an example of someone who wanted to ease more into retired life, so he has kept a position as a part-time online professor. James says that his tolerance for stress has diminished, so the change from full-time to part-time was a great decision. As an introvert, James finds balancing alone time and social time a bit challenging, but retirement has eased his stress and brought him more time to spend with friends.
David retired from being a police officer and university safety officer. He says the decision was tough, but he now enjoys creating his own schedule. While leaving his work team and the law enforcement lifestyle behind was tough, David now enjoys having the freedom to make new memories with his children and grandchildren. David also loves being able to get outside to enjoy his hobbies.
Bill had the idea of early retirement since his 30s. He says retirement was a bit of a shock, since it was brought up by his company, and not decided on his terms, but he is now grateful for the time it has given him to travel with his wife. The two now have time to travel, volunteer, and spend time with their loved ones.
Things To Do and Places To Be
Hopefully, by now, you’ve got some ideas of whether or not you’re emotionally ready to retire, and the wheels are turning when it comes to what you’ll do once you make the decision. While this is a big life decision, we believe it can still be a fun one to make. We support the decision to take it easy and enjoy the life you’ve been given.
If you’re the type who needs a little extra inspiration for what types of things you can fill your time with, or some exciting ideas of places to travel to, let us help! Here are some great ideas for hobbies and destinations.
- Participating in a book club
- Playing music
- Taj Mahal, Agra, India
- Machu Picchu, Peru
- Northern Lights
- Route 66
- Great Barrier Reef
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Havana, Cuba
- Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
The options really are endless when it comes to where and what to do. There are options for any place and budget. Choose to work on some things around your home, or travel around for a bit. You don’t need to travel far; there are some wonderful places close by that should be on everyone’s bucket list, like the Grand Canyon. Or, simply choose a resort to go to and lounge by the pool in a trendy swimsuit.
Have Fun and Get Creative
As you can tell, a lot goes into making the decision to retire! There is planning, may it be emotional or logistical, that you will have to make time for when deciding. We hope this article has helped guide you to know whether or not you’re showing emotional signs that you’re ready to retire. If so, we also hope this has inspired you to take the plunge.
Deciding to choose retirement doesn’t need to be completely stressful, though we know that stress is normal and sometimes unavoidable. Just remember why you’re making this big decision, and keep looking forward to all the great things ahead. You’re about to take on a whole new life, which is what we all look forward to.
Have fun and get creative with your new lifestyle choices and schedule. You can do anything you’d like with your time now, like lay on the beach (and look good doing it), or make some home improvements. Take this as a guide for what you choose to do, and keep your fellow retirees’ inspiring stories in mind when mapping out your lists of to-dos. You’re going to breeze through the stages of retirement and soon find yourself settled into the life you’ve imagined for yourself.