Most people don’t want to retire to a life of a just hitting a tiny white ball around a well-manicured lawn. They actually want do something after they “retire” from their primary career. Trouble is, most people these days do not have a clue how to go about it. They have no idea what steps to take to figure out what to do next in their lives. I just had a conversation this morning about this very subject with a good friend of mine.
He thinks that over the next five years he will either receive a buy out or he will continue to work for at least five years more. The problem is that he is all consumed by work and has no idea of what he will do during retirement. Fortunately for my friend money is not an issue for him, however he is thinking about taking steps to transition into retirement from a financial perspective, however in his case he is missing the main issue. Financially he has decided that he and his wife are going to live on what he expects his retirement income to be. This is a good plan, however the real issue is what is he going to do with his time!
Steps to Transitioning into Retirement
According to the experts there are 5 stages that people go through when they are approaching retirement. Some go through these stages quite quickly, especially when they are laid off or receive a bonus package to leave. Others have time to plan and get ready for retirement both mentally and financially. Here are the five steps.
- Acknowledging the need to transition
- Discovering your potential
- Discovering your options.
- Discovering your goals
- Transforming “what’s next into what’s now
Each stage is linked to a specific purpose, as well as tasks, outcomes and questions as you get comfortable with the idea of retirement or transitioning to something different in your life.
Acknowledging the need to transition
For some people it is forced on them through a premature lay off or forced retirement. In this case there may be also an angry phase that you must get through. For others it is simply recognizing that it is time to begin planning your transition to the next phase. There is also disconnection from present employers and employees as you begin to separate in your mind from what you are currently doing to the next phase. It is time to figure out what comes next.
Sometimes there is tension, ambiguity, apprehension and confusion that is associated with this stage as you try to figure out what it is you would like to do with the rest of your life.
Discovering your potential
Discovering your potential is all about figuring out what your strengths are and what the possibilities might be for your next career or stage in life. It is very personal and different for everyone. Explore what you enjoy, explore what you need to do to be satisfied, explore what you want your relationship with your family should be, including spouse, sons and daughters and grand children. You may also want to evaluate your resources in terms of finances, but also in terms pf physical health and demands by other family members.
Discovering your options
This stage focuses more on testing some of your idea’s and options. If you thought you always wanted to golf every day then try it out and see how that goes. If you thought you always wanted to travel do that. The important thing is to try out or test what you feel is the right option for you and try lots of things until you find something that really works for you. Find out what fits and what works for you over a period of time. Remember this is a transition over time and not a flash change in your life style.
Discovering your goals
Once you have an idea of what it is you want to do, it is time to set goals and objectives to help you meet your plans. What resources are you going to need? What are the next steps and who do you need to talk to for assistance in order to complete your goals.
Transform what’s next into what’s now
This is the implementation and engagement phase. This is were you actually make it happen. Along the way you may fine tune your activities, your goals etc, which is fine and you learn more about yourself and your new life. But the main focus of this stage is really turning all of your plans into reality.
Knowing that you are in one phase or another or that you are cycling between phases as you figure out what you are going to do is actually helpful to many people. While there is a lot of ambiguity and confusing, at least you know that this is normal while you are transitioning thought these phases.
My friend has barely started through this exercise. He is in phase one, because he has begun to recognize that he needs to make the transition and begin planning. This is a good first step however he has a long way to go yet. If he suddenly finds that he is down sized, he may not be ready and will struggle somewhat for awhile as he is forced to speed up his planning.
Your comments are welcome, any advice you can provide to my friend about this subject and retirement in general is much appreciated.