The Emotional Side of Retirement

by Krantcents · 30 comments

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I recently read an article on Financial Samurai called The Darkside of Early Retirement which reminded me why I was not ready for the emotional side of retirement twenty-five years ago. Everybody strives for  retirement nirvana; many would like to achieve it as early as possible. How many of you are actually prepared for all the changes? You are working your job on Friday, and you retired on Monday! Now what? You have the freedom of doing anything, but what are you going to do?

This may be the most important question you face in retirement! You have the finances set, you been saving, investing and making sure you have sufficient money to support you and your family. Now, you are faced with the emotional side. What is your routine? I know, sleep late, and do what you want! Who cares? That works for a couple of weeks or months! You need to develop a routine, goals and figure out how you will spend the rest of your life. These are not easy questions. Are you prepared or are you just going to wing it? You have been working in a routine for some time, what are you going to do?

What is your vision for retirement? Will your retirement have purpose or is it a time to indulge yourself. Doing whatever you want does not create a routine or maybe you don’t want one. Life without purpose or a vision will feel empty and unfulfilled! The difficulty of this new position is you never did this before. Sure you had vacations, but it is not the same. Everyone who retires or retires early thinks about the financial side, but few are prepared for the emotional side. Even more play it down as inconsequential saying I can deal with that when it happens! It is just as important as the financial side!

Your vision for retirement should be as detailed as you financial plan. What do you see yourself doing that will provide physical and mental well-being? Your vision should include mentally stimulating activities such as education, learning new things, playing cards, and volunteering. Some would say the fun stuff, but it is good for you because it adds to your mental health. Don’t pass up the physical activities like tennis, golf, bicycling, sailing, hiking and swimming to name a few. Mental and physical activities are a necessary part of everyone’s life. Don’t overlook this aspect of retirement.

During your working life, you may have included physical fitness and maintaining a healthy diet. This is even more important as you become older and your metabolism slows down to maintain good health. Retirement won’t be much fun, if you cannot enjoy it! You want to be able to get around and travel. Some people think about moving to lower cost areas of the country. For example, Las Vegas has a large retirement community. You may want to retire to a warmer climate or to an area where there are more retirees. You may want to do this for financial reasons, but it can be equally important for having relationships with people who have similar interests.

Are you retiring with a wife or husband? Do you have children or grandchildren? How will you spend your time with your spouse, children or grandchildren? Now that you are retired, there will be demands on you from all of  your family members! How do you plan to deal with it? This can be a wonderful time where you can invest your time to explore new things together or feel pressured to babysit, travel to visit or pulled in many directions. What kind of relationships do you want to maintain with your spouse and family? Don’t forget your friends or make new friends if you move to a retirement community. Relationships with friends and family are important for your mental and emotional health.

Are you prepared for retirement? Have you given any thought to the emotional side of retirement? I know you spent weeks, months and years thinking and working to achieve the financial side of retirement! Don’t you think you need to spend some time thinking about the emotional side of retirement? This was not meant to cover every situation and every question you may have. Instead, I tried to raise some of the questions you should think through more and make plans to resolve before you retire.  I learned from my first retirement, this time it will be better planned. I have six and a half years to refine my plans.  What are your plans for retirement?  Maybe you want to share your plans in your comments, or tell your friends through social networking,  or tell me if you like this post. Your feedback is important to me.

Photo by: dcbprime


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Cheapskate Sandy February 21, 2011 at 4:09 am

Thank you for this post! We are striving for this goal with no real plan as to what to do when retired. Personally, I plan on traveling, teaching and volunteering in retirement. A retirement where I do nothing would make me want to scratch my eyeballs out. I can’t sit at home looking at my partner wondering what to do next. I would probably go nuts.

krantcents February 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Thanks,your vision of what you want to accomplish is the heart of the plan. Now create a detailed plan and perhaps start doing some of them bow.

Financial Samurai February 21, 2011 at 2:33 am

I like how you said one should plan as detailed as possible what one will be doing during retirement.

Every time I go on vacation, I pretend I’m retired and fit things in that i like to do, just so I can be sure that this is exactly what I’d like to do.

If I blog 2-3 hours a day, plan tennis or golf for 1-5 hours a day, have great meals and live in a nice place, do you think that would be a great retirement? I find that 2-3 hours of working online really is stimulating and fun.

Thnx, Sam

Krantcents February 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Planning is exactly where I went astray, and I thought it would just take care of itself. If I was busy and involved in my business, I would be okay. Being busy just masks the issue! The simplistic answer is goals and a plan.

Barbara Friedberg February 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I’m kind of a workaholic. So retirement is more of time to cut down from 60 to maybe 30 or 40 hours working per week. Actually, I like saving for retirement, because it gives me peace of mind. I don’t like the idea of actually retiring :)

krantcents February 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Then think of it as time of financial independence. You will have choices in what you do. I agree with you, I want to stay busy doing something I enjoy. As I wrote in my article, plan for it.

krantcents February 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Then think of it as time of financial independence. You will have choices in what you do. I agree with you, I want to stay busy doing something I enjoy. As I wrote in my article, plan for it.

Young February 22, 2011 at 6:29 am

My idea of retirement is to do the things that I enjoy to do, and not do them because I am coerced to because of money.

I think I would still continue to work in my job, but at a lesser degree. I would travel, I would volunteer, I would blog. :) That would be “the retirement porn” life for me.

krantcents February 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm

It sounds like your vision of retirement is just working less, less stress and more choices. Sounds good to me!.

Roshawn @ Watson Inc February 22, 2011 at 10:23 am

“Life without purpose or a vision will feel empty and unfulfilled!” This is why I doubt that I will actually retire in the traditional sense. I certainly want to be able to retire, but I do believe that I want to work for a very long time regardless of my financial means!

krantcents February 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Everyone is different, your vision may be to work forever! I know I will have some combination of work, volunteering and fun!

Buck Inspire February 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Terrific post. :) Great point about the emotional side being just as important. No real specific plans yet, but if the retiree has a mindset of continued learning, growth, and stimulation, that’s part of the battle. Do you plan to travel on your second retirement?

krantcents February 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm

We take a major trip (International) every other year. This year we are going to New Orleans and Vancouver. Last year, it was Vancouver and New York. Remember the clearer the vision the better the outcome!

retirebyforty February 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm

You’re like my dad. He is so restless and can not “do nothing.” He stopped working for about a year and a half and drove everyone around him nuts.
Most of my early retirement efforts have been on the financial side, like you said. I will probably continue to work a little bit once my financial goals are met, but I definitely need to give it a bit more planning. Thanks for this post. I’ll probably get in touch with you once things calmed down a bit here to get more personal insights.

krantcents February 22, 2011 at 9:49 pm

It was one of the things I did not plan for the first time. What is your vision of retirement?

retirebyforty February 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Do a couple of side jobs like blogging, tutoring, yoga, or something part time like that.
Manage my rentals. Raise the kid. Keep tab of my stock investments.
Start a small side business.
That will keep me busy for years.
Eventually, I would love to operate a B&B or backpacker hostel on a warm beach somewhere.

krantcents February 23, 2011 at 9:50 pm

What is your vision of retirement? What would keep you fulfilled?

retirebyforty February 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm

40-60 Raising the kid would give me a the good fuzzy feeling. Build a tiny business would keep me fulfilled. Make music and spend more time with friends would make me feel good.
Other than that, I don’t know. I will have to find out as I go.

What is going to keep you fulfilled when you retire this time?

Little House February 22, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I have so many side projects going on that I can’t see ever completely stopping “work” in some form or another. Instead of working during the academic year, I’d probably just devote more time to my side projects. Of course, I’m a long way from retirement, so who knows it I’ll change my mind. ;)

krantcents February 23, 2011 at 12:46 am

You’re right! I have 6.5 years before I retire so I have started planning now. Develop it into your vision of retirement.

Financial Samurai February 23, 2011 at 6:20 am

Hmm, wonder if your Tweet button is busted. I definitely tweeted this post out. Mine acts funny all the time.

Can you give some more concrete tips on how to be emotionally prepared?


krantcents February 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Answer the following questions: What is your vision of retirement? Don’t focus on daily tasks, but how will your retirement be fulfilling for you. After you outline your vision, think about what you will do in each of the areas you have in your vision. Expect the vision to change and evolve. Think in terms of goals to be accomplished. How would finish this sentence? It would be a great year if I accomplished……….. This should be part of your vision. In Your retirement should be as exciting and fulfilling as the journey to get you there.

Invest It Wisely February 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Hmm, looks like it works from home! My own personal vision is to work on something I enjoy until I can’t (preferably an online or location-agnostic business so I can take it along with me!), and spend a lot of time travelling and exploring the world as well.

krantcents February 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Are you going to travel full time? I too like the ability of being able to access my business from any location, but I do not care to travel all the time.

Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer March 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm

These are great points that early retirees in particular don’t think about. I know someone who retired at age 50 and came back to work in less than 2 years because she hadn’t planned what to do other than spend more time with family.

krantcents March 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm

My post comes from personal experience when I “retired” at 38 years old. I thought my business was enough to keep me engaged, stimulated and fulfilled. It wasn’t! I ahould have had a plan. This time I do, I started it now, a full 6+ years before I plan to retire.

krantcents February 23, 2011 at 11:01 pm

My plan (which could change) is volunteering 1-5 days a week for a couple hours, blogging 10 hours a week, travel, involved with my future grand kids (none at the moment) and bicycling. This could change dramatically in the next six years. For example, I may add speaking engagements, a business with one of my children or defer retirement. My vision of my blog has a long way to go and could take me to places that are unknown today. My outcome is to keep me engaged and active. I want to look forward to getting up each day and at the end of the day feel I did my best at something worthwhile.

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