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The 4 Emotional Stages of Retirement
and Tips to Make the Most of It

With any major change, it takes time to get adjusted. This happens in emotional stages that can range from excitement to trepidation. As you think about retirement living, knowing what’s coming can help you prepare for it. It’s important to know that you’re not alone —there’s a whole supportive community just outside your new front door at Vinson Hall.

First Stage: Planning for a Transition

As you plan for your retirement transition, start to prepare yourself emotionally. You’ll probably be looking forward to a full retirement filled with more opportunities and less responsibilities. It might even feel like you’re counting down the days until vacation. You might be planning to explore a new hobby, spend more time with family, or travel to new places. TIP: Put some firm plans with dates in place to look forward to.        

Second Stage: Full Retirement and Contentment

Some call this the “honeymoon stage” of retirement. The world is your oyster now. Without responsibilities, you have more time to enjoy. You may find that you’re busier than ever ticking off “bucket list” items, learning new things, or reconnecting with family, friends and hobbies. After years of working demanding jobs, you can now live your retirement plan. TIP: This is both a time for new adventures and a time for rest and relaxation—make time for both.

Third Stage: Disenchantment and Reorientation

The honeymoon doesn’t last forever, and at this stage it’s not uncommon to feel a bit bored or depressed. After a professional career and busy schedule for so long, you may feel a little directionless without the typical demands of everyday life. You may find that establishing a sense of purpose at this stage with volunteer work, gardening or an “encore” job can be very satisfying. TIP: Give yourself some time and flexibility to figure out what works for you.

Fourth Stage: Reconciliation & Stability

You’ve finally figured it out. You’re enjoying a renewed vigor with a sense of purpose and a new and improved schedule. By getting involved in the community, committing to charitable causes, or working a fun job, you enjoy many perks. Meeting new people, an active lifestyle and improved life satisfaction are all good for your overall health. TIP: Build on your interests and design the type of life you want to live.

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