Retirement – are you emotionally prepared?

By Mark Teale
16 June 2021
(Realise Your Dream)


PK and I have written numerous articles on retirement from a financial perspective, covering many different topics from how much money you need to enjoy a comfortable retirement to how long your superannuation last.

But, as we have mentioned previously, being financially prepared is only one part of retirement. Being emotionally prepared for retirement and understanding what you may experience from an emotional point of view is just as important as your financial position.

If you Google, “preparing emotionally for retirement” you will find numerous website all providing advice. These websites are not only located in Australia, but also in the UK, the USA and Europe.

All sites outline the emotional stages a person may experience in retirement.

These five stages are common to the majority of these sites.

  1. Realisation – the actual day of retirement. The big day arrives, you are ready and excited about your future – hopefully? But be prepared for a mix of emotions, saying farewell to co-workers with whom you have spent a large part of every week for in some cases many years. You will not only experience feelings of relief but also anxiety as you face the next exciting instalment in your life.
  1. Honeymoon – you are now living your life on your terms. You no longer need to worry about commuting to work. For some the alarm which has gone off every morning between Monday and Friday can finally be thrown away. Your plans of travel have become a reality, you have started a new hobby, your life is busy, fun and you are fulfilled.
  1. Disenchantment – after a period of time the gloss wears off and you are bored. You are starting to live with feelings of regret, it is not as good as you expected you have lost your self-esteem and you are now living 24 hours a day with your beautiful partner, and you find that they can be a little irritating. This is a time where if you are not careful you will find yourself feeling depressed and become isolated. It is important to remember these feelings are not unique to you and with careful planning you should be able to push through.
  1. Reorientation – following your period of disenchantment you make a recommitment to your original plans. Re-visit those plans you had originally committed to prior to your retirement. Did you start the new hobby? Did you travel to all the places you had on your wish list? Re-establish your feelings of self–esteem by volunteering or maybe even going back to some part-time work. Re-visit the purpose and passion you had for retirement before you retired.
  1. Stability – this is the final stage. You are finally feeling comfortable, you have adjusted to the new rhythm of your life. You have learnt to live on your own terms, you have survived the ups and downs of the disenchantment and reorientation of the first year of your retirement. Hopefully, it does not take you any longer to reach this stage.

I am not saying that everyone who retires is going to experience these five stages. For some, retirement will be a natural fit, but I believe it is important that you understand what may happen and how you may feel and remember that you are not unique, it happens to many retirees.

For me, learning how to relax will be the challenge. After working for close to 48 years and dealing with deadlines and tight time frames, I suspect I will need to understand that I do not need to try and fit months of travel into a limited number of weeks.

So remember that understanding the emotions associated with the early stages of retirement can be just as important as understanding the financial aspects of retiring.

If you have just retired, I would be very interested in your comments and feedback.



Peter Kelly

PK believes people have the right to accurate, affordable and unbiased information that addresses all aspects of their preferred retirement lifestyle, thereby giving them the opportunity to make informed decisions that will empower them to live out their lives with dignity, certainty and security.


Mark Teale

Tealey’s ambition is to change how people think about their retirement, he wants people to dream, plan and realise retirement is not defined by a magical age prescribed by the legislation.


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