Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Psychology Behind Retirement.

Who is retiring in 2008? Madonna retires from music in August 2008, Bill Gates retires in July 2008 but I beat them both, I am retiring on the 31st March 2008.

A few weeks ago I attended a 2 day pre retirement course, run by the London Fire Brigade for hard working people like me. They tell you about tax, national insurance and investments, the things you may expect to be informed of. What I did not expect to be told about is the psychological aspects of retirement, now this is a lot more interesting than you may think,this is how it was explained to me.

Work gives a sense of purpose that everybody needs. That includes a place to go, peer contacts, responsibilities to discharge and a sense of camaraderie. Once retired, those needs don't go away we have to learn to fulfill them through a different set of activities. One way to address this problem is to find new "work", whether paid or unpaid.

If you should fail to find work or a different focus you may become bored, restless or plain frustrated with little or nothing to do. You may even go into depression even though you were financially prepared for it. For some, having a fulfilling retirement is about selecting new activities that continue to physically and emotionally fulfill them. You will need to think and plan what you are going to do with all those hours that used to be taken up by work.

The three stages that one might go through.

  1. The first stage is a kind of “mourning” period. We are letting go of the past. Something that was familiar is now gone. It’s always an adjustment when the unfamiliar replaces a known quantity. I will be leaving behind a regular paycheck that fell gently into my bank account every month.

  2. Stage 2 We hit a kind of in-between time between what was and what is yet to be. This is a very emotional time. Not all the emotions are negative. For instance, one of those emotions upon retirement is joy. Many of us cope with joy by spending money, and it is not unknown for new retirees to spend more of their savings than is perhaps prudent on holidays or cars or other expensive items. We need to be ready for happiness when it comes, and not over react to it. I think a common second stage emotion in retirement is anxiety. The worry about money and making it last, health and making that last too.

  3. Stage3 is a time for getting back on the road.. This is the time to accept the change, modify behaviors as needed, and move forward. A time to feel that the best adaptation is to discover new ways to both think and behave. Entering fully into retirement does indeed require being willing to make changes in how we spend our time, and in what we find to be important. Not everyone deals with change in the same way or at the same pace. Not everyone deals with change with an equal degree of success. Being ready for the emotions of change, hopefully make changes easier to manage.

All food for thought!!

"It is time I stepped aside for a less experienced and less able man". Professor Scott Elledge


CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é . Um abraço.

Steve Holmes said...

Thank you for your kind words, I am pleased that you find my blog interesting.