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Managing Retirement Emotions - Part 3

Managing Retirement Emotions - Part 3

| December 20, 2023

Welcome back, folks! This week, we will talk about finding new meaning and purpose in your retirement life. We all know that working isn’t just about earning money; it’s about identity, meaning, and purpose in our lives. Your career defines much of your life and makes you feel needed, productive, and useful. Not only that, but it gives you a reason to get up and go every day and goals to work towards. On top of that, work provides physical benefits as it fulfills biological needs like keeping your brain and immune system healthy. This is why finding meaning and purpose in retirement is critically important. Have to keep the system working at optimal levels! 

It goes without saying that you need to look to new sources for meaning once you retire. Think about what activities bring joy and enrich your life. Try thinking about retirement as retiring to something, not from something. You may retire from full-time work to volunteering to help preserve historic buildings in your community, to a fulfilling hobby, or to continue your education.

We are used to thinking of retirement as all or nothing, but that’s not how life works. We don’t just curl up and stay in bed until it’s all over after retirement. Can you imagine if we were forced to just give up after our working years - that would have an overwhelming impact on our country and society economically, emotionally, socially, and more. So, I encourage you to have a “new life” attitude rather than a “life after” attitude. 

Something to think about is a trial retirement. This involves asking your work for an extended vacation or sabbatical so you can try retirement on for size and see how you deal with a slower pace of life. This also helps you recharge your batteries for the remaining time you have at work. Consider using this time to see how well you live on your retirement budget by sticking to what you plan to spend on your retirement income during your sabbatical. 

Here are some other ideas for giving your retirement life meaning and purpose.

Part-Time Work. Finding part-time work after retirement is another way to ease into that transition to full-time off. Doing this takes the shock away and makes the transition more gradual. You can even accomplish this by gradually reducing your hours at the employer you are retiring from. Not only will part-time work ease the transition, but it can also supplement your income, keep you engaged socially, and reduce the demands of your career gradually.

Volunteer. I touched on this earlier, but donating your time and effort to a cause near to your heart easily gives purpose and meaning to your life. Some other benefits are strengthening your community, boosting self-esteem, improving your health by keeping your brain active and giving you a sense of accomplishment. In addition, you will be passing on skills you’ve learned as well as learning new skills, never a bad thing! 

Nurture hobbies and interests. Back to the all-important hobbies. We’ve discussed these a lot this month, but they are that important. In fact, we often designate retirement as the time when we are going to go after our hobbies with full dedication. Now is the time to pursue things you’ve always wanted to try or things you couldn’t give enough time to while in the midst of your career. Maybe it’s traveling, spending more time in nature, attending sporting events, the arts, joining a club, or taking a class. Maybe you will learn a musical instrument, complete or pursue a degree, take on a brand new interest, or even get a new pet. 

The point is that retirement should be a time of joy, wonderment, and possibility. You’ve done the financial preparation to ensure you can enjoy this time of your life, so go out and enjoy it. 

Until next time…

One last thought: An educated investor is an empowered investor. Please share if you like what you’ve read and think your friends and family can benefit.


1 Adjusting to Retirement: Handling Depression, Stress, and Anxiety 

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested in directly. 

All investing involves risk, including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.

Dollar-cost averaging involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuation in the price levels of such securities. An investor should consider their ability to continue purchasing through fluctuating price levels. Such a plan does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets.