There are five stages of retirement and we’re going to outline all of them in today’s post. Whether you’re in retirement now, you’re about to retire, or you’re still years off, knowing what to expect is going to help you. If you can prepare and plan ahead, you’ll have more confidence and more peace of mind. 

To sum it up, there’s two big things that you have to do when you’re planning for retirement. First, you have to plan for the money part, which makes sense. That’s what everybody does. But what most people don’t know is they also need to plan for the emotional side or the psychological side. As we go through the five stages, you’ll see how both of these play a part in retirement. 

Stage One: Pre-Retirement 

Pre-retirement occurs five to 15 years before your actual retirement date; that’s a long time. Many people don’t spend enough time planning on the emotional side of things. Making sure you have enough fun and purpose doesn’t seem like it’s that crucial. When we’re meeting with clients and ask, “what are you going to do in retirement?” We hear, “well, I’ll just play more golf,” or, “I’ll go take a lot of vacations.” But there’s something about finding fulfillment, purpose, and passion, that brings joy. I created a guide to help you find your purpose in retirement. Click here to access it for free. 

The key point for Stage One is that, along with your finances, you need to consider what is going to make you happy and fulfilled while you transition. For many, this stage is a time of excitement and anticipation, but it can also be a time of worry and doubt. Having both of those feelings side-by-side is very normal – which brings us to our next two stages. 

Stage Two: Honeymoon

When you actually get to that full retirement stage, you’re in the honeymoon phase. It’s a liberating feeling full of excitement, relief, and freedom from the stress and responsibility of day-to-day working life. People in this stage are usually busy reconnecting with family, friends, or spouses, and spending time on hobbies and traveling. Some people decide to get into a routine right away, worried that they’ll go crazy in retirement, which is okay too. 

Stage Three: Disenchantment

For both of these types of retirees, whether they’re embracing relaxation or are more get-into-immediate-action people, there is a third stage of disenchantment. This is a phase of either disappointment or disillusion. I’ve seen it as early as three months in, or it may take up to 12 months in the first year of retirement. And it’s something to be aware of. If you’re experiencing this now, you’re not the only one going through it, and knowing ahead of time that it’s going to come is important, but there’s ways around it too. Part of the way around this stage is planning for your purpose in retirement, which my free guide can help with. 

Some of the downsides to this stage are boredom, loneliness, or feeling useless because you had purpose in your career and your work, and now that’s gone. Some people even slip into depression and not to get too down, but the highest suicide side rates aren’t people in their teens, but people in their fifties and sixties. This was very shocking to me, because you don’t hear about that fact. And I’m not saying that there is an exact correlation to retirement and purpose, but it’s just something interesting to consider. 

Stage Four: Reorientation

This is where you get to create a new identity. And once you’ve built that new identity, you gain a sense of closure from your career and you can move on to enjoy your retirement. This is the most exciting part: a meaningful, purposeful retirement, pursuing your passions, volunteering, adding new and fun activities. That’s what I would want to do. That’s what we would hope our clients do. 

Stage Five: Reconciliation and Stability

This final stage may take up to 15 years after the official start date of retirement. I think we could get there a little bit sooner being content and hopeful in the transition, without depression or anxiety. While everyone goes through all the different stages, with a good plan in place we could speed up the rate of how long each you’re in each of the previous stages and focus on getting to the part that’s purposeful, fulfilling, and meaningful.

I recommend a book called From Success To Significance which also outlines having a life of significance in retirement. You might have the most money you’ve ever had, you probably have the most wisdom you ever had, and now you have the most time that you ever had. Those three things can make a big impact in other people’s lives. Not everybody has that ability, but it could be exciting if you do so.

Those are the five stages of retirement. Hopefully you can skip the third stage and move right on to feeling a life of significance, purpose, and meaning.

The Five Stages of Retirement outlined in this post originated from this article.