Are You Emotionally Ready to Retire? Here Are 5 Questions to Help You Decide
If you’re thinking about retiring in the next few months or years, then chances are, there will be a number of different factors affecting your decision. As well as considerations about how retirement will affect health and happiness; it’s also now necessary to take into account the rising State pension age, and the impact of the pandemic on the job market.
Often, when people think of retirement planning, they think of financial planning, which is, of course, incredibly important. However, retirement can also have a significant emotional impact, as it typically involves closing one very important door and opening another.
For many, this transition can be daunting, and it’s not uncommon for people to experience a loss of purpose or identity during this time. The face of retirement is also changing; with some people swapping a traditional retirement for a career change, and one in three people in the UK deciding to work beyond the State pension age. So it’s understandable if you’re feeling unsure about whether retirement is the right choice for you.
With lots to think about in the lead up to retirement, it can be helpful to filter out some of the noise, by giving yourself some key considerations to focus on.
Here are 5 questions to help you decide whether you’re emotionally ready to retire, and to start planning.
How Do I Feel About the Idea of Retirement?
Our instincts are very powerful, and how you feel when you initially think about retirement could help to inform whether it’s the right option for you at this stage of your life.
If the idea of retiring fills you with dread, or makes you feel nervous, then it’s important to consider why. Are you worried about being bored, restless, or lonely? If so, these are normal fears to have, and it might just be that you’ll need to do some more planning and preparation before you feel ready to take the leap. Or, if the idea of retiring feels like an instant turn off, then perhaps it’s simply not the right move for you to make anytime soon.
Equally, if you love the idea of retirement, and have lots of plans and ideas about how you want to make the most of this new stage of life, then this could indicate that you’re headed down a positive path. Your next step in this case will be to decide how you can start turning those plans into actions.
Does My Current Lifestyle Make Me Happy?
Whenever you’re thinking about making any significant change in life, it can be helpful to first stop and think, “Am I happy with the way things are right now?”
It’s easy to feel like retirement is something that you should do naturally when you reach the State pension age, and if you want to, then great. But everyone is different – so it’s also okay if you decide that having a traditional retirement period just isn’t for you.
Perhaps you love your job. and would prefer to carry on working, in which case this is perfectly acceptable too. Or, maybe you don’t like your job, but you like the social interaction and routine that it gives you. In this case, you might consider switching roles or careers instead.
It’s also possible that you might be perfectly happy with how work is going, but you would really like to focus your attention on other things, like family, or a particular hobby. So, perhaps you feel that full or partial retirement (dropping down to part-time hours) could give you the time that you need to do this.
How Will I Fill My Time?
People can often underestimate how much free time they can have on their hands when they’re no longer working. At first, it can feel like a dream; with plenty of time to rest, recuperate and go on lots of new adventures.
However, research shows that after the initial honeymoon period has passed, many people start to feel bored, and wonder how they will add meaning and purpose to their days in the long-term.
We all need something to make us feel as though our days are worthwhile, and for a long time, work gives us this purpose. So, when we retire, we need to make sure that we have something to replace it with.
If you already have a few ideas about how you might fill your time during retirement, then it can help to sit down and work out how much time these activities are likely to take up, and whether they’ll be enough to keep you occupied longer term. Creating a vision board can also be a helpful way to come up with new ideas, and start crafting the next phase of your life.
If you’re not feeling confident that you will be able to fill your time when you’re no longer working, then you could consider starting to lay the groundwork now. For instance, you could explore some new hobbies, or try connecting with some new people. If you can create more of a life that you love outside of work, then your transition into retirement will hopefully be much smoother.
Who Do I Want to Be in This Next Chapter of My Life?
Throughout life, it’s not uncommon for us to spend a lot of time doing things that we think we should do or need to do, and less time doing the things that we want to do. But retirement can be a time to break the mould, and to start taking more control of who you want to be and how you spend your time.
When you’re planning for retirement, consider what’s most important to you: what are your passions and interests? What do you enjoy? When are you happiest? If you want to make retirement a time of liberation and better things, then it’s a good idea to try and factor as many of these considerations into your choices as possible.
Retirement is your time, and it has the potential to be very exciting with the right planning and preparation.
Do I Really Want to Retire, or Am I Feeling Pressure from Other People in My Life?
When making important life decisions, it’s always worth considering whether you’re making the decision based on your own wants and needs or on the wants and needs of others.
For example, if you know that you want to carry on working for as long as possible and/or are thinking about switching careers, but are feeling pressured into retirement by friends and family, then it’s important to acknowledge this. In the end, this could have a profound effect on your happiness.
While it’s important to consider the opinions of those who care for you, it’s important to make sure that any final decisions are your own, as your health and happiness should always come first.
Are you thinking about retiring? How are you feeling about it? Do you have any additional tips on how to emotionally prepare for retirement?