Retirement Planning 101: Avoiding the Post-Retirement Blues

Welcome to Part 3 of a multipart series on Retirement: Planning, Executing and Enjoying! In Part 1, we talked about spending. In Part 2, we explored risk management. In this final part, we’re going to discuss avoiding the post-retirement blues and having fun in retired life.

Ask anyone who has retired recently, and you’ll discover a real phenomenon — the post-retirement blues. This can be especially true for a go-go Type A person from the business world who has invested so much of themselves in their career that it has come to define them.

If you’re married or in a committed relationship, the first person you should be talking to is your significant other. Whatever career phase they are in themselves, understand that your retirement also impacts them. First and foremost, don’t expect them to automatically change their working life or daily pattern of activities just because you have.

Finding another activity about which you are passionate is a must, whether it’s looking after grandkids, volunteering for a charitable group or something else. Your other activity could be a “second career” that you pursue at your own pace and intensity. Be aware, though, that just as during your working life it’s easy to become overloaded. People realize you have a lot more time on your hands, and soon look to fill it with their own needs and wants.

It’s OK to learn the power of gently and politely telling people, “No.”

Make sure to carve out some time for things you’ve always wanted to do but never had time: travel, take up a hobby, fix up an old car, create a work of art, go back to school and dive into a new fresh area of knowledge that you have always been interested in! Everybody has a “bucket list” — it’s time to start emptying yours out!

For some, that could even be starting a second career. If you are going to make that move, do it with your eyes wide open – especially if it’s something you want to do full-time. Consult with a trusted advisor on how any earnings could impact your social security benefits.

Socialization is also an important ingredient in avoiding the post-retirement blues. Get together with friends, attend religious services, join or start a social group like a book club. It’s as easy as picking up the phone or sending an email or text message.

Whatever you do, avoid the situation where you find yourself sitting at home with nothing to do. A sense of purpose is key to your feelings of self-worth. Before retirement, self-worth was probably largely tied up with your business or the company you worked for.

Now it’s time to transition to something new. Seek out activity and engage with other people, and you will discover a fulfilling retirement where the blues stay at bay.

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