Navigating retirement

26 February 2019

Loving senior couple dancing in balcony at home

With every stage of your life, you would have needed to navigate through some kind of change. For some the idea of transitioning through another life milestone is thrilling, while others may fear what surprises will come around the corner. We want to make sure that your journey into retirement is nothing but exceptional, and thus want to provide you with ideas and information to ensure you maintain your independence and health, all the while having fun.

Finding your feet

When you reach retirement, you need to find your happy balance between relaxing, socialising, being active, working on your hobbies, your health checks, money management and family obligations. It’s a juggle but one you are bound to enjoy. New Directions is an American-based company specialising in assisting professionals and retirees in transitioning through their next big ‘career’ move, ensuring they take the right steps. They are aptly known for The Life Portfolio, which has been described by the president of New Directions, Mike Jean, in an interview with Huffington Post, as “an agenda for living that we always carry with us…a balanced mix of some work, ongoing learning, recreation, travel and avocations, reconnecting with family and friends, and giving back.”

Discover your purpose

It’s not uncommon for an individual to find their calling within their retirement years. It’s an opportune time to share your knowledge whether it be through writing, giving talks or offering guidance. A Forbes article shares a quote from Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning”: “Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the byproduct of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.” For many, the concept of finding your purpose may be misinterpreted to keep busy, where it’s a lot more than that; this is your time to get involved with your community and family, as you impart your years of experience, skills and knowledge onto others.

Manage your money

You may be retiring but that doesn’t mean your money should stop working for you. Those who are unprepared financially for retirement far outweigh those who are financially ready, and that’s why it is vital to plan ahead as best you can. Before you reach retirement, it is a necessity to meet with a trusted financial advisor to map out a retirement plan that best suits you. Like you would keep your health in check, so you would need to keep your bank balance.

Be fearless

There is a lot of fear that can muster up prior to retirement; the fear of not having enough money, the fear of change or the fear of being forgotten. Retirement is what you make of it. There are three emotional fears that retirees can look out for, namely losing your professional status and self-image, change and what to do with all the spare time you have. Louis Primavera, psychologist from Touro College in New York City, who cowrote the 2012 book The Retirement Maze: What You Should Know Before and After You Retire, explains; “Work structures us and gives us routine in our lives. We plan around work. It is part of our identity. We go to a social gathering and people say, ‘What do you do?’ Clearly, what happens is people say, ‘What am I going to do? What am I going to be?’ The fear of loss of identity is a major fear.” To overcome this, those of you reaching retirement need to find another role to play in your life and understand that retirement is a series of transitions.

Everyone of us has a unique retirement plan, there is not a ‘one-size’ fits all. It does take time to adjust, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you struggling to get a handle on your retirement lifestyle and find your perfect balance.

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