Navigating the Transition To Retirement

Retirement can be an exciting new chapter in your life. Still, many people are surprised that once they make the transition to retirement, they find themselves to be anxious and possibly depressed. It’s all too common to have the “retirement blues” when you first retire for a number of reasons. Retirement is a colossal lifestyle shift that you may or may not have been ready for emotionally. However, you can get in front of any potential emotional turbulence by following three simple steps. 

Step 1: Buttoning Up Your Finances

As a financial planner, I see the impact of financial stress on retirees, and it’s more frequent than you might imagine. The truth is, even when retirees are confident that they have enough wealth to retire comfortably, there’s often a small fear in the back of their minds that prevents them from fully relaxing about their finances. That fear may be that the markets crash immediately after retiring, or that they’ve somehow miscalculated what their expenses will be and have therefore undersaved. 

Working with a financial planner can help you to sidestep this fear. Having an impartial third party review your retirement plan, and run stress tests on your portfolio, can ease your concerns. Additionally, your financial planner can help you to create a strategy that allows you to continue building wealth even after you retire. Once you’re confident that you’re financially prepared to retire, you can address the other elements of your retirement transition.

Step 2: Dream Up Your New Lifestyle Before Retiring

Many people are so burnt out in their career, they begin to view retirement as a finish line. They don’t imagine what life beyond retiring might look like because they’re too focused on simply getting there. This can cause a multitude of problems. Namely, retirees may feel a lack of fulfillment or sense of purpose when making this lifestyle transition. 

When you take the time before retirement to think about what you want your life to look like after leaving your career, it can help to make your transition easier. You can be as detailed or as general as you want to be. However, thinking through a few key questions can help:

  1. How will I spend my time in retirement?
  2. What activities outside of the office bring me fulfillment or joy?
  3. What do I enjoy about my job? Is there a way outside of the office that I can pursue those same types of interests or tasks?
  4. Do I have hobbies that I want to explore or pursue? 
  5. Who will my support network be?

Having a few ideas about how you want to spend your days can ease the stress of suddenly having too much time on your hands and not knowing how to fill it outside of work. For example, you might decide to pursue volunteer work in retirement. Joining a local organization and spending part-time hours doing work you’re passionate about can help to organize your calendar, bring you a sense of purpose, and build a legacy you’re proud of outside of your career. 

Whatever you decide to do, building your retirement lifestyle is an exciting and important journey! Putting thought into it ahead of time can help you truly create a life you love.

Step 3: Have a “Plan B”

When it comes to retirement, having back up plans is key. So many things can potentially change over the 10-40 years you’re retired. Think through potential changes, and create a “Plan B” in case you need to pivot. It goes without saying that you should have a financial Plan B in case of medical emergency with hefty expenses, a market crash, or other unforeseen circumstances. This is another way a financial planner can help you transition to retirement. Developing multiple “back up” plans is part of the retirement planning process, and can bring you peace of mind. 

However, your Plan B shouldn’t be limited to your finances! Many retirees leave their jobs only to find that traditional retirement isn’t for them. Have a Plan B in place in case you simply don’t enjoy being retired. Do you want to work part time? Would you be open to consulting? Explore your options and remain flexible. The most important thing is that you are content, not that you stuck to your original plan.

Want to Learn More?

Wood Smith Advisors is here to help you make the transition to retirement as seamless as possible. Reach out to us today to learn about how we can work together to create a plan that has your best interest at heart.

Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs, and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.

"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.

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