The 5 Stages of Retirement: How To Plan Life After Retirement

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Did you know there are common stages of life after retirement? 

Knowing such stages of retirement is important as it can help you plan your retirement more effectively. Most people consider only financial planning before retirement; however, it is highly recommended to understand the life journey after retirement.

People usually define themselves through work. Occupation is a common subject people talk about when they meet someone new, for example, at a party.

However, when they retire, this big part of life will disappear overnight literally. They have to find a new identity. This may not sound significant, but a lot of people struggle from this new identify issue.

Robert C. Atchley, American sociologist, had conducted extensive research on the topic of retirement phases. Those retirement stages are widely considered in the retirement industry. I will explain those stages in the following video. 

Video Guide

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Retirement Stage 1: Pre-Retirement

Before retirement, people mainly focus on financial planning. They look forward to leaving work. However, they should also take into account planning for the changes in social and emotional environments.

Retirement Stage 2: Honeymoon

Right after retirement, yes, that is perhaps the sweetest time of life. Retirees start going through their bucket lists. They enjoy all the time they have now available. They travel where they wished. Doing house projects or gardening is another fun of life. 

Living the dream, however, may not go on that long, unfortunately. Some can have this stage continuously, but typically this stage lasts only for 1-2 years to most people. What is next then?

Retirement Stage 3: Disenchantment

This usually happens once people run out of things to do. Maybe there are more days on which they wake up and ask themselves what they are going to do today. No idea – more precisely, running out of ideas.

That is the point when they should go to the next step and not stay with those empty and negative feelings.

Retirement Stage 4: Reorientation

During this stage, retirees need both time and continuous effort to go through. They should answer questions such as ‘Who am I? What is my purpose at this point? Am I still useful?”

They need to rethink what kind of life they want to live and need to find purposeful activities which bring meaning to their lives.

That sounds tough, doesn’t it?

Retirement Stage 5: Moving On

The last stage of retirement is when they are actually living the dream. They found a new routine which satisfies them. They can now enjoy their retirement and look into the future with a good feeling.

How to Plan For Emotional Changes in Retirement

As mentioned earlier, financial planning is only one part when preparing for retirement. You should also think about the emotional and social parts to live your dream. You should not underestimate the importance of the social and emotional perspective’.

One great way to avoid any negative feelings in retirement is to have something else, other than work, in life. This could be a hobby or an ongoing activity which ideally brings social contacts as well. It should be something that motivates you to leave the bed in the morning.

A good example is Marie and Dave, both in their 70’s. Shortly after their retirements, they met a group of retirees on cycling. Marie and Dave decided to join the group only for the day initially.

Guess what. They eventually joined the retirees cycling club as permanent members. Now, they go biking three times a week for more than 30km on each ride. It keeps them physically active; they also found new friends in the club, which is great for their social well-being. Riding bikes has become an essential part of their dream lives.

The social aspects of retirement are just as important as the financial ones but they are often overlooked. Being aware of this importance can help to make the transition into retirement short and smooth which will then lead to wonderful sunset years.

I have also written a post with a video about ‘happy retirement’. You may want to read 7 Secrets To A Happy Retirement: Surprising Research Findings.

I hope this post helped you understand the aspects involved when transitioning into retirement.  If you liked this article, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel. You can also find us on Facebook.