How Well Will You Negotiate the Ebb and Flow of Retirement?

Are you emotionally prepared for your retirement? Your emotional side will be dependent on how well you make the shift from work to your retirement activities.Through our life we traverse numerous stages in our development as humans. Each progressive stage of life requires us to negotiate changes that are associated with our newly defined status.Seniors typically have a very high failure rate when it comes to coping with retirement. This major life transition seems to wreck havoc with its unsuspecting victims. How will you negotiate the ebb and flow of retirement? Studies have shown that only about 20% of employees realistically address the fact their work life is nearing an end.Executives, male and female, in particular have major problems adjusting to this transition since they have invested so much in their careers. Their identity is intimately linked to what they do!Once, though, you’re faced with the reality retirement is going to happen you need to start getting ready for it! It is the Pre-retirement Phase where you need to begin your preparations. Many who disregard this initial phase set themselves up for a rougher road ahead then need be!Planning your retirement activities and goals will help calm some of the anxiety you may feel with retirement being imminent. It is during Pre-retirement where you can focus on income, health, daily life while you still are working. You can start preparing yourself emotionally and spiritually for this major change in your life.It is in this phase where you decide what you are going to do when you grow up. Will you pursue another career/? Will you start your own business? Will you go back to school? What about those life long passions you have? Is now the time to explore them? Will you travel; move, seek new hobbies or enrich the ones you have?Once you’ve transitioned into retirement you begin the next phase -the Honeymoon Phase. It is here where you’ve thrown off the frustration of work, you have a greater sense of freedom and you’re into a new invigorating lifestyle!But wait! You just left a full-time career and now need to adjust to leisure activities. You may be embarking on a personal creative adventure or need to find a part-time job. You will be without the familiar ego satisfaction work brought you; no more familiar routine and your old identity will be gone! All this will take adjusting to even with a good plan in place. However, those who have a well thought out clearly defined plan will fair better in the first year.Allow about a year in the Honeymoon period to make a safe passage into the Fulfillment Phase. For some it may take even longer especially for those who refuse to close the door to work and leave the excess baggage behind.. It is important if you have a significant other that you express your feelings with them – now is not a time to hold back on letting them know!One word of caution as you enter into the Honeymoon phase – pace yourself! When in this phase many retirees respond to whatever comes up and react without a real plan. If you do this too often you may burn yourself out. Remember retirement is for the long-term; you want to be able to have the energies and inclination to go the distance.The Honeymoon phase will eventually transition into the Fulfillment Phase. Here is where you do your thing- pursue your life long passions, start a new career or take those trips.If you haven’t set any goals for retirement, anticipate drifting until you find something. Understand without goals you may miss the boat because you’ve spent this time doing unfulfilling and boring things! Those who fail to identify interess, or consider who you want to be when you grow up and what daily retirement life will be like will more than likely be the ones in emotional trouble in retirement.With better health, earlier retirement and better financial planning this phase could last as much as 20 years! Plan well and you will be rewarded with a happy, wild and free retirement! It is during this time you get to decide how things will be and not settle for the way they have to be! Moreover, you’ll have a sense of expectation, start looking at different aspects of life you’re discovered in your travels and explore new ideas, relationships, interests and activities.Alas, life will eventually slow down as we get older and you’ll enter into the Quiet Phase. We will have accomplished much of what we set out to do and now it is time to slow down. When we hit this segment of life, we find we need to self-pace ourselves differently and balance our involvement in activities we’ve participated in.Now I’m not suggesting that you stop everything you’re doing! What will happen is you won’t go after things with your’ pants on fire! This is a slower, softer approach that is a blend of activity with more quiet times.For example, you may have a quiet dinner with a friend at your home rather than a bash at a fancy resort. Or you may prefer a drive though the country instead of a whirlwind tour of Spain.Let me offer some suggestions in being successful in having a happy, wild and free retirement.

View retirement as a journey, not a destination
Get a life while you are still working – develop other interests
Be prepared to leave work – it will happen sooner or later.Adjust your work pace as retirement nears
Take time to adjust
Renew and rediscover relationships on your journey
Make the most out of your retirement life

Retirement does ebb and flow through many stages. Transitioning to retirement requires planning to successfully traverse the phases within retirement. Those who do plan in the pre-retirement phase and approach retirement optimistically, will set themselves up for a happy, wild and free Age of Fulfillment!