5 Emotional Stages of Retirement

Knowing the five emotional stages of retirement can help get you emotionally ready for the big day. Here are some tips for each one:

  1. Imagination: Visualize your retirement to determine how much to save to make it reality. Where will you live? What will you do? Who will you spend time with? Once you have an idea of how much your ideal retirement will cost, consider saving even more by contributing to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or a 457. 

  2. Anticipation: As retirement draws near, it’s normal to feel both excited and nervous. This is a great time to make a list of specific activities you’d like to try in retirement (including any volunteering or part-time work that interests you), talk to loved ones about how things might change (especially spouses), and even have a practice retirement. 

  3. Honeymoon: Once you retire, a honeymoon phase is normal. You suddenly have much more free time, you may take a trip or two to places you’ve always wanted to go, and you may even relocate. But it’s a good idea to think beyond the honeymoon phase and determine what your daily retirement life will look like. How will you fill your days? What are your goals? What is most important to you in retirement?  

  4. Reality Sets In: Once the honeymoon phase is over, you may find yourself wondering what to do with unstructured days. You might even find that your job was a bigger part of your identity, self-esteem and social life than you thought. This is why you may want to consider returning to  the workforce, whether part- or full-time. You could even start your own business! Working in retirement can provide additional income, new challenges, social opportunities and additional health-care options.  

  5. Next Chapter: Once you’re settled into retirement, the most important thing you can do to increase happiness and longevity is build social connections. This is a good stage to spend time with loved ones, participate in senior center activities, volunteer, keep up with your hobbies and try new things.  

The bottom line is: Retirement is about more than saving money. It’s about emotions, too. So be sure to factor those in. 

Are you ready to visualize your retirement? Check out our retirement guide, our video and consider scheduling an online counseling session with a TCDRS representative to learn more about your benefit.

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