Preparing for Retirement

Preparing for Retirement

Ensure a smooth and exciting transition to retirement – turn retirement dread into retirement fab.

A lot of people fear retirement.

How are they going to fill all those days, they wonder. How are they going to replace the excitement and sense of purpose and belonging they get from work? (Even if they don’t like it all that much). Do they have enough interests out side of work to keep busy in retirement? Do they have enough friends to hang out with when they retire? Are they going to be bored and lonely?

These are relevant questions because unfortunately, for a lot of people, retirement can be lonely and unfulfilling, ho-hum or worse.

Just over 50% of people in a recent survey we conducted rated their retirement as ‘OK or Less’ after just two years or retirement – and the first two years are usually when people are at peak happiness in retirement; it’s not called the retirement ‘Honeymoon Period’ for nothing.

This is why the pre retirement period is so important.

At least two years before retirement and more if you can do it, you should be thinking carefully and in detail about how you want to spend your retirement, what the days will look like, how active you want it to be, how busy, how social etc and putting in place the foundations now so that when you finally leave work you are ready to roll straight into your great retirement lifestyle.

To help you with this we have developed a pre-retirement toolkit for men, for woman and for couples. The toolkits differ because the retirement issues for men and woman are often quite different and if you are partnered your retirement planning will be different than if you are not.

Even if you are partnered we suggest you use you gender toolkit and your partner toolkits because you will need to work through

A lot of people prepare for retirement financially, and quite rightly so. They see a financial planner and work to a budget to ensure they have the money they need to support their retirement lifestyle.

However money is only one small part of having a truly great retirement. You can have all the money in the world and still spend your days slumped on the couch!

It’s ‘how’ you live each day that makes the difference, not how much money you have… although of course money matters also.

And this is what we are interested in – we are interested in how people spend their time, because of course if we spend lot doing the things we love, then our retirement will be great. But whilst this sounds easy, it is not easy to build a retirement lifestyle full of all the stuff we love doing.

The issues with Retirement start before you retire. Be prepared and plan well in advance of your retirement.

A great retirement starts with good planning and lost of adjustment well before you collect your gold watch and walk out the door. If you even slightly like your work or the people you work with. If it gives you even a small amount of validation or a sense of belonging, if your social life is largely driven by your partner, if you have few interests outside of work or few friends, if you think retirement means just hanging out with your partner, then be prepared, retirement might be tough. And even if you think you want to spend all your time travelling the world or playing golf, just think whether you really want to play gold every day or travel the world non stop for the rest of your life – even if you could afford it. The answer is probably no. So you need other stuff to fill the day. And to find that other stuff requires work and taking the initiative and reaching out and building new relationships or strengthening existing ones.

Issues for Pre Retirees who dread retirement

Many guys fear retirement, and in many cases for good reason. We have spoken to lots of men getting close to retirement over the last few years and in no particular order here are some of their issues. Obviously they are individual. Some might not have any, some may have others that aren’t on the list – and if that is the case please let us know what your issues are through our blog.

Where does the money come from once I stop working?

What happens if their is a stock market crash and I lose my super?

I’ll be bored

My partner has their own life and I’ll be expected to build my own, not grab onto theirs

I’ll lose purpose

Work makes me feel good about myself. I’m good at it and people respect me. I’ll miss that validation.

My work chums are my social life. My partner organises everything outside of work

I don’t have many friends to do things with

Outside of work I don’t have many interests

I don’t like initiating things, social events, catch ups etc., and I’m afraid if I don’t do this I will sit at home doing nothing. (Editor: He’s right!)

Issues for Pre retirees who are looking forward to retirement

And … for guys who are looking forward to retirement, retirement can sometimes fail to live up to expectations too. If you can’t wait to retire because then you will have time to write that book, travel as much as you want, golf every day etc remember you need to fill up a lot of days doing this for (hopefully) a lot of years. Many of us may want to play golf once or twice a week, but do we want to do it every day? Do we want to be constantly on airplanes travelling the world, living out of a suit case, jet lagged? Sure it might be fun for the first year, but what about year two, or three or year seven or year fifteen? It could get real dull, real fast!

In fact this period immediate post retirement is called the ‘Honeymoon’ period and is widely recognised in the research concerning retirement – see our blog for details. The Honeymoon is that period usually from 12 months to a maximum three years where the retiree is excited to be retired and eager to do that retirement ‘thing’ he has been dreaming of all his life. But like a honeymoon, it doesn’t last. For almost every retiree, they will come out of this phase and face reality.

The reality of an almost unlimited run of days to fill and the question is ‘how to fill them.’ This is the most challenging time of retirement. Happy retirees face this period and transition effectively by building an ongoing retirement lifestyle post honeymoon.

But, if the retiree fails to build this new life and the days become emptier and more lonely … then retirement can be pretty shabby. Of course this site is here to help avoid the ‘retirement doldrums’ and build a great retirement

Issues for those who are recently retired and were dreading retirement

The issues are many and vary from person to person. They can also run very deep and can impact greatly a person’s happiness, and their place in the world, and their relationship with their world. It can be messy. A good analogy is perhaps getting made redundant. The feelings of rejection, no longer belonging, loneliness, fear of the unknown and what the future may hold, losing authority and respect, idleness, etc may be similar to what you experience when you have to retire but really, really, really, don’t want to.

And like being made redundant a way out is to take action. Action to find a job, action to build your retirement. You have to take charge of either process, no one can do it for you.

And … build connections. Get out of the house. Join up (yeah, you may not be a joiner but now is not the time to stick your heels in…) Phone your friends even if you haven’t done so for five years. They are probably in the same boat and will be over the moon to here from you. Use this site and others to get busy.

So here are some ideas:

  1. Take action and take ownership for that action
  2. Build connections
  3. Get out of the house
  4. Find friends, reconnect, make new ones
  5. Join up
  6. Reach out. If you go to (say) a day time lecture and you’re sitting next to a guy and you chat with him over lunch and think you have stuff in common, swap contact details.
  7. Find lots of things to do … and do it.
  8. Keep busy

Issues for people who were really looking forward to retirement but have found it disappointing


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