Are You Emotionally Prepared For Retirement?

A photo by Jeff Sheldon.

Planning for retirement and the need to invest for the future is something that’s drilled into us from the time we first start working. We know we need to save adequate funds to be able to live comfortably and enjoy the ‘golden years’. As we invest, we conjure up dreams of lazy mornings, relaxation, more time to spend on hobbies …. freedom!

However, for many, the honeymoon period of no longer being a slave to the 9-to-5 can be short-lived. Without having a career to define your sense of self and provide structure, life can begin to feel as if it’s passing you by. You may start to question your purpose and feel increasingly bored.

Emotionally planning for retirement is just as important as the financial side, especially if you want to ensure that these are your best years yet. Below are some areas I recommend considering as part of your planning:

  • Define Your Mission: This should be a succinct explanation of what you want to achieve – tied to your values. It can differ from your passions, which inspire and entertain you, but may not give you a sense of purpose. To help think this through, consider your current interests (what energizes you?) and central beliefs (what are your values?) Then prioritize those that are most important to form a personal mission. Remember, it needs to be something that you can act on.
  • Increase Your Social Circle: Having a large network and prominent role within the community will increase your sense of wellness once retired. You can never have too many friends! You can start preparing by researching the groups and organizations you may like to join, perhaps those that align with your mission, or broader interests or a new activity you’ve always wanted to try.
  • Prioritize Your Health: Now that you’re making all these plans to stay busy, you need to ensure that you have the energy to enjoy them. Take a look at your current lifestyle and see if there are any improvements you could make to keep healthy. Start small with a goal to incorporate one new healthy habit into your routine, this could be swimming, yoga, walking, or eating more vegetables.
  • Learn To Say Yes: Research from Ellen Langer, Ph.D., on mindful aging indicates that you can think yourself young by staying inquisitive and doing new things. If your natural inclination is to shy away from the unknown or unfamiliar territory, start saying ‘Yes’ or organizing a new activity to try. Notice how you feel afterwards. You may even want to experiment with writing a bucket list of new things to try each year and recruit friends to tag along on your adventures.

If you’ve recently crafted a mission statement for your retirement, perhaps you’d be willing to post below to help inspire others.

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