- Deal with emotional changes through tactics such as:
- Praising your achievements
- Taking care of your health
- Considering how to keep your existing relationships strong
- Prepare for practical changes by:
- Planning new activities
- Ask your employer about support leading up to retirement
- Consider downsizing your home
- Plan the best financial strategy for your retirement needs, whether it is purchasing an annuity or planning for the death of a loved one.
Although the idea of not having to work anymore can be exciting (and something you might have been looking forward to for many years!), for some it can be a mixed blessing. The change from a life of work to being in retirement can produce a range of feelings, from boredom and slight panic, to sheer joy at having time available to do what you want. As with all of life’s big changes, retirement can take a lot of adjusting to and it’s quite common to feel unsure about this new chapter in your life.
Sheffield based life coach Karen Perkins regularly coaches people through the changes experienced in retirement. Karen identifies two clear areas affecting retirees which need to be considered – the emotional changes which take place, and the practical aspects of retirement. By planning for both of these areas, Karen is confident that anyone can have a happy retirement. Below she shares her top tips for coping with the changes retirement brings.
Praise yourself and be proud of your achievements
The period leading up to retirement is a time of reflection so it’s important to recognise all the achievements you have accomplished in your job and personal life. Make a list of all the things you have achieved so far and recognise how amazing these achievements are: whether it’s raising a family, renovating a beautiful home or being well-respected at your workplace.
Manage your health
Fitness plays a big part in emotional wellbeing as it’s a great way to make friends, maintain your health and try new activities. Plan a manageable fitness routine. Even if you’re not into anything strenuous, walking is a great way to get some exercise, little and often. If you don’t know where to start then check out the Activity Sheffield website which lists free activities such as health walks, dance sessions and low intensity aerobics. Before you start a new fitness regime, get the OK from your doctor and consider seeing a chiropodist to have your feet checked over — healthy feet will keep you fitter and active longer into retirement.
Reappraise your relationships and if, for example, your partner is still working, decide how to include them in your good life without pressuring them into doing what you want to do. Agree a plan together and try to anticipate what you will need to do to keep everyone happy!
If you don’t have a partner then silver dating is all the rage, but the same rules of dating at any age apply; use common sense, tell people where you are going, have a get-out plan if the date goes badly and never arrange to meet someone at your house or theirs for a first time.
Defining short, medium and then long-term aims in retirement is so important because without a vision of how your retirement is going to look, how will you get there? Planning how you will spend your time will help make retirement seem the norm and help ease you into a life outside of work.
Having a few special things to look forward to when you first retire will help break up the time and make retirement seem all the more fun! Days out, weekends away and holidays will help you to make the most of your free time and give you plenty to look forward to.
A great way to plan your week is to make weekends special, while giving your weekdays a framework so you have a clear routine with regular planned activities.
Hobbies and activities
Even if retirement is a few years away, there’s no better time to start planning how you’ll spend your time. Why wait until you retire to do the things you are really passionate about? If you have spare time now then start focusing on your hobbies and interests so it’s easier to spend more time on these once you retire.
If you’re looking to learn a new skill or brush up on your knowledge then the Sheffield U3A (University of the Third Age) provides lectures, study days, concerts, classes, trips away and much more, all designed to enhance your skills and spark your interest. The Sheffield Telegraph also lists regular events, activities and volunteering opportunities in Sheffield and the surrounding area.
Don’t forget to keep doing all the activities you used to do before you retired and if possible, see if you can recruit a friend who’s retiring at the same time to share your activities with you.
If you are currently working, then talk to your HR department about succession planning and support so you are clear about what your options are. It could be that your employers would love you to go part-time, which can help your cash flow and ease you into retirement.
Speak to a financial advisor about managing your money in retirement if you do decide to keep working.
Some companies offer courses on retirement, but if you’ve spotted one you’d like to attend then it’s worth asking your company if they will pay for you to go on it.
If you work for yourself then plan ahead and consider who will look after your business when you retire. You might want to consider scaling your business down and just working on it part-time during retirement, or training someone up who you can pass the business on to.
Moving is no doubt a very stressful thing to do, but if the kids have flown the nest and your property is just too big then moving sooner rather than later can save the stress and heartache of having to make a rushed (or forced) decision later in life. Downsizing into a future-proofed house that can meet your needs with minimum adaptations will mean you can enjoy your entire retirement without the pressure of unnecessary heating and tax bills looming over your head.
If you do decide to move then consider the facilities you might need later in life such as good access, bus routes and local shops.
For more information on later life planning and coaching in Sheffield visit Karen’s website and find out about her coaching services.
Financial strategies for a successful retirement
One of the best ways of feeling psychologically secure in your retirement is work out your finances ahead of schedule. This will often involve facing some difficult questions, such as:
- How long will I live?
- Will I outlive my partner?
- How much do I want to leave behind for my loved ones?
- How much money do I expect to live on?
The following precautions will help you assess your finances and plan for a successful and secure retirement:
- Calculate the size that your pension pot will have reached by the time you retire. Add to this what you can expect from the state pension and any other regular income you may receive once you have stopped working.
- Think about how you want to access your pension.
- By taking a joint life annuity, you can be safe in the knowledge that your spouse or partner will be provided a regular income after your death. For those who are single, a single life annuity will give a higher rate of regular income than a joint annuity.
- Income drawdown. Move your money into a drawdown policy, keep it invested and take a regular income. However, be aware that all investments carry risk, so your pension money will not be guaranteed to last you to the end of your retirement.
- Take out lumps sums. These can be spent or invested. However, be aware of the tax implications. The first 25% percent of your pension pot can be take tax free. The rest of your money will then be subject to income tax rates, which for most would be around 20%.
- Perform a full inventory of your outgoings. It is always a good idea to separate your essential expenditure from your more frivolous costs.
- Consider downsizing your home. This could be the right time to move into a smaller property and use the freed up funds to bolster your retirement income.
- Prepare for the death of a loved one. It is a sad but inevitable fact that retired couples will have to think about cost of a loved one dying. Put some money aside for the funeral, and think about what extra costs you might face without your partner’s help; for example, it may be that only one of you drive.
Giving up work will involve a degree of change to your normal routine. But by planning ahead and considering all your options, you can enter this new phase of your life with confidence, secure in the knowledge that the funds are there to pay for all the things you dreamed of doing in retirement.
Contact us and speak to one of our financial experts about any issues surrounding retirement finance.
Click on the following links for more advice about retirement:
- Expat Pensions Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Retirement Expenses You Will Not Want to Think About But Probably Should
- Taking Care of Your Health After 50
- Retirement Hobbies That Make You Money
Books on successful retirement
For more information on how to cope with the emotional and psychological impact of retirement, you may wish to take a look at the following publications:
- Creating a successful retirement: Finding Peace and Purpose
- Psychological Resources and Successful Retirement
- A Psychiatrist's Guide to Successful Retirement and Aging: Coping with Change
- The Successful Retirement Guide: Hundreds of Suggestions on How to Stay Intellectually, Socially and Physically Engaged for the Best Years of Your Life