I sometimes ask successful retirees: what advice would you give to those who are nearing retirement. And then I share those nuggets of wisdom, and also things to avoid, with people who are nearing their own retirement date. Recently I came across a Business Insider article that shared what it’s really like to stop working and to retire. I’m going to go over some of the similarities between what that article recommends with what our clients have said. I’m a big believer in learning from those who are a few steps ahead of me. If you’re like that too, you’re going to enjoy today’s post. 

Bill, worried he would go crazy in retirement 

Bill was worried that he would go crazy in retirement if he didn’t have work to go to. This is a common concern. Bill said he spent the first few days in retirement really doing nothing. And he was perfectly okay with taking naps when he wanted and not having anything designated for the day, but it didn’t last long. He needed something more. Soon Bill started to find renewed joy in some of the hobbies and interests that he didn’t have time for before. After some time he found it life-giving to share some of his specialized knowledge. So, he began to spend small amounts of time offering consulting to other people. And that was a great thing that brought him a lot of purpose. 

What he did is very similar to what I’ve heard from multiple clients: even though you have so many options of how you can spend your time once you’re retired, they benefited by purposefully saying no to things in the first few months. Some even said no to things for the first year, whether it was joining boards, or doing consulting work, or volunteering. They purposefully slowed down and didn’t say yes to any of those things. They found a lot of benefits from slowing down, spending time thinking, writing, praying, and then just seeing what would come from it. After some time they began to add purposeful activities back into their life. 

The alternative to this is filling your calendar right away after you retire. You then run the risk of feeling a lack of time and freedom, similar to what you felt when you were working. 

Karen, experienced disenchantment and depression

Karen admitted she was constantly bored and looking for purpose in retirement. And that was very, very hard. This, as you can imagine, is also very common. The third stage of retirement is called disenchantment and it comes right after the honeymoon period of retirement. During this stage, a lot of people actually fall into a slight depression. 

There is a way to avoid this third stage. The solution is to spend small amounts of time, before you retire, focusing on your purpose in retirement.

Figuring out your purpose-driven retirement is the goal. People spend most of their planning focused on the money part, which makes sense. But really the money part can be easy. Here at Streamline, there’s only a few steps that we take to help clients feel confident about their retirement financial plan. The harder part is figuring out the emotional side. I highly recommend taking time before you retire to focus on this. To help you discover a purpose-driven retirement, I created a free guide to help you as you walk through this idea and make a plan. Click here to access the guide.