PREPARING FOR RETIREMENT - The Five Stages
As you start contemplating the process and idea of retirement it’s important to understand that there are five stages. And being aware of this process, and stages makes you more understanding of your transition.
Stage 1: Pre-Retirement
This is where people come to the realization that retirement is practically round the corner, and not something far away. At this stage you are getting ready to stop working.
It’s an important time because, in this phase, you have the opportunity to prepare financially and emotionally, in the best way possible. A smoother transition into retirement is better guaranteed if you do a good job of preparing for this major life change.
Stage 2: Honeymoon
The honeymoon stage is the period where you just retired. The first couple of weeks where you really feel the sense of freedom and celebrate your retirement. Also called, the ‘sugar-rush’ stage. You’re like a newlywed, everything is fun and interesting!
However, this stage can also trigger mixed emotions like excitement, fear or anxiety. Many retirees go into this phase without any consideration or plans for their long-term needs in retired life.
Whilst you want to enjoy yourself and have fun to celebrate your ‘freedom’, you should also have a long-term plan ready for how you want to spend your time in retirement.
Stage 3: Disenchantment
For some retirees, the honeymoon phase is followed by a period of disenchantment or disillusionment. The reality of retirement kicks in, and the dreams they had before about retirement, aren’t the current realities of their retirement.
This period in retirement can feel disappointing and an anticlimax and can sometimes lead to depression. This disillusionment stage often happens to retirees who weren’t prepared enough for their time in retirement.
However, this phase also gives the opportunity for self re-invention and re-definition of goals and purpose in life, which can be exciting too.
Stage 4: Reorientation and Finding yourself
Often considered the most challenging stage, reorientation usually occurs after retirees quickly go through their retirement to-do list, feel a loss of purpose, and begin to evaluate their retirement experience.
Reorientation involves creating a new identity, and it can take some time and effort to accomplish. But once you have built a new identity, you can gain a sense of closure from your working days and move on to enjoy retirement as it’s meant to be enjoyed.
A combination of mentally, physically, and social activities and routines in retirement is the best way to live a happy retired life.
Stage 5: Stability
In this stage, retirees are settled into a fun and rewarding retirement lifestyle, doing things that make them feel fulfilled. They prioritize simplifying their lives and living relaxing lifestyles.
Health conditions may be more prevalent during this stage, so retirees focus on maintaining their health and independence, sometimes by moving to retirement communities where they can age in a place with access to healthcare, amenities, activities, and friends nearby.
While not every person will experience each stage as intensely or for the same amount of time as others, most retirees will experience this process in some form once they stop working.
Like with any major transition in life, retirement comes with a whole array of emotions and worries. But if you thoughtfully plan for your transition to take care of yourself both financially and emotionally, you can help ease the overwhelming emotions of this significant life transition, and spend more time enjoying your new life to the fullest.
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