Retirement Planning

Are You Emotionally Prepared To Retire?

old couple discussing pension conslidation and retirement

It can be hard to know whether you’re emotionally ready to retire. Financial questions and concerns are usually the main reason people don’t feel emotionally ready or worry about retirement. And it is only once you’ve put those money worries to bed that you realise something else is holding you back.

Non-financial barriers to retirement can be masked by questions about retirement income, pension pots, annuities and drawdowns. But once you know you can afford to retire, that’s when you might realise you don’t want to.

If you speak to a financial adviser and discover retirement is financially viable – but you’re still not sure about retiring – you might not be emotionally ready for retirement.

At this point, you need to dig deep and work out what’s holding you back. Coaching from a lifestyle retirement planning expert – like our team at Joslin Rhodes – can help you identify, articulate and overcome your fears.

  • Identify – Our coaches have helped 1000s of people plan for retirement. We understand the common concerns and can help you identify your worries more easily
  • Articulate – We’ll help you explore and explain what’s holding you back, so you can create a plan of action to get past it
  • Overcome – Using our decades of experience, we’ll help you work out ways to move forward with confidence and clarity about what you want from later life.

After that, we’ll help you plan your dream retirement and work out how to achieve it financially.

We’ll look at your pension pots and potential income – whether that’s a workplace pension, your state pension, savings, shares, inheritance or something else – to provide the right retirement income for your later life ambitions.

For many, early retirement is a dream – something to aspire to and work towards. But for others, retirement is a daunting prospect – anticipating long days with no direction and nothing to do.

If the latter sounds like you, don’t worry. Retiring is a big change but at Joslin Rhodes Pension & Retirement Planning we believe it’s the start of something brilliant. Here’s everything you need to know about preparing emotionally for retirement.

How will I feel when I retire?

There’s no right or wrong way to feel about retirement. Some people love the idea of ditching early starts and tiresome commutes. Others are cautious about leaving behind the structure, status and relationships they enjoy at work. You may be wondering what things you can do in retirement?

As you plan your retirement, you might feel some of the following emotions.

  • Fear – ‘What will I do? How will I afford to live?’
  • Relief – ‘I can finally stop and relax.’
  • Resentment – ‘I don’t want to retire. I’m at the top of my game.’
  • Joy – ‘I can’t wait to live life on my terms.’
  • Confusion – ‘I don’t know where to start with pensions and retirement finance.’
  • Excitement – ‘There’s so much I want to do.’
  • Nervousness – ‘What if it doesn’t live up to my expectations?’
  • Disbelief – ‘Is this really possible? I’ll believe it when I see it.’
  • Sadness – ‘The end of an era. I’m not needed anymore.’

Don’t forget, you might not always feel the same way either. Some days might be exciting, others might be challenging. That’s perfectly normal. There are pros and cons to retirement – mixed emotions just mean you’re thinking through all the eventualities.

However you’re feeling – whatever stage of retirement planning you’re at – don’t shy away from it. Talk it through. Fear of retirement is more common than you might think.

At Joslin Rhodes we coach thousands of people through these feelings, to help them emotionally prepare for retirement.

What are the five emotional stages of retirement?

When you actually retire, you’ll experience a range of emotions too. It’s like any major life change – you’ll go through different stages as you settle into your new reality.

The excitement of your first day of freedom might give way to melancholy when the novelty wears off. Or your initial trepidation might turn into delight as you fill your time with things you love.

In fact, there’s a pretty standard journey that retirees take called ‘the five emotional stages of retirement’.

  1. Realisation – This is when you realise your retirement plan and the big day actually arrives. After planning your retirement – possibly for years – you say goodbye to your co-workers and clock out for the last time. You’re likely to feel a mixture of relief and anxiety as you face an unfamiliar future.
  2. Honeymoon period – You’ve ditched the 7am alarm and your only commute is to the kitchen for breakfast. You now have time to live life on your terms. You might start a hobby, take a holiday (COVID-allowing) and reconnect with family and friends. Life is busy, fun and fulfilling.
  3. Disenchantment – After a year or so, the gloss might start to wear off retirement. You could find yourself feeling bored, lacking direction, even depressed. Things are a bit same-y and you can’t face another week with nothing on your agenda. This isn’t unusual and planning for this period will help you push through it.
  4. Reorientation – This is the stage where you make some adjustments to improve your happiness and fulfilment in retirement. You might decide to try a new hobby, take on part-time work or volunteer. Feelings at this stage can include excitement and nerves as you seek new purpose and passion in your life.
  5. Stability – This is the final stage of retirement, also known as the rest of your life. 😊 At this point, you’ve adjusted to your new reality and have fallen into a rhythm. You’ve ridden the rollercoaster of the honeymoon and disenchantment stages and your emotions have now stabilised. You can face the rest of retirement with contentment and confidence.

These stages take time and – remember – as you work through them, you’re growing older.

Older age can impact on your health and ability to enjoy an active retirement. So anything you can do to reach the ‘stability’ stage sooner will give you more time for enjoyment and adventure.

That’s just one of the reasons Joslin Rhodes Pension & Retirement Planning provide coaching to aspiring retirees and retired clients. We want to help you get through the emotional challenges of retirement and start enjoying later life.

Don’t take our word for it…

Meet some of our clients and see what they think of us,
the PlanHappy process and how it’s helped them do what they wanted…

Why am I scared of retiring?

There are lots of reasons we might feel scared to retire. Even though you can generally access your private and workplace pensions retire at 55, you might not want to retire early. Or at all.

There are a lot of things to love about working. And leaving those behind when you retire can be disconcerting. Here are some of the top worries about retirement that we help our clients overcome.

Finances
They worry that they’ll not be able to afford to retire or that their pension pot won’t give them the comfortable retirement they’d like.

Status
They get respect and status from their career and are worried how they’ll feel without that. At Joslin Rhodes we call it ‘career ladder vertigo’ – the feeling that you’ve climbed so far that it makes no sense to step off now.

Structure
Some people need structure and routine to thrive. For them, retirement can seem like an endless landscape of nothing to do and nowhere to go.

Relationships
They know they’ll miss their work colleagues and the camaraderie of the workplace. They’re not sure how they’ll make new friends when they retire.

Professional identity
It feels great to be known as an expert in your area. Leaving that behind and becoming Joe Bloggs can be a big adjustment.

Purpose
Work gives us a sense of purpose: whether that’s helping our employer grow, our customers to thrive or supporting our family. Losing that can be difficult.

Growth
Work provides opportunities to stretch ourselves, learn and grow. People can be reluctant to leave work if they feel they’ve not unlocked their full potential.

Finality
Approaching retirement can feel like you’re coming to the end of an era, that you’re no longer needed. People might need help to see retirement in terms of options and opportunity.

Since retirement – like taxes – is inevitable, it’s important to work out ways to replace the things you’ll miss about work when you retire.

That’s why we take our retirement planning clients through an exercise to show them how retirement can provide all the perks and purpose that work does. Volunteering, part-time work and new hobbies can all offer the benefits of work, without the early mornings and unwanted stress.

How can I prepare emotionally for retirement?

Simply understanding that you need to prepare emotionally for retirement is a great first step. With a good level of self-awareness, you’re more likely to seek help and progress through the emotional stages of retirement more quickly.

Be honest about how you’re feeling

When you’re working, everyone says they want to retire. Long days, bad days, horrible bosses… they can all make retirement seem like a Shangri La, a promised land. But as you approach retirement, you realise that it can also represent a loss. And that’s ok.

You might feel like you have to be positive about retirement, laughing as people joke they’d love to be in your shoes. But only you are in your shoes and only you know how you’re feeling. Don’t be ashamed to admit things don’t always feel as rosy as people expect.

Write a list of everything that’s worrying you

It can be hard to put your finger on why you’re worried about retirement. Obviously, everyone wonders about the financial side of things, and going to see a financial adviser can help put your mind at ease.

But what about the other things? Maybe you’re not sure what’s stopping you? Or maybe you know but you feel ashamed to admit it.

Don’t worry. Grab a pen and paper and start writing things down. It’s just for you, so be totally honest. Committing things to paper is a great way to start working out the barriers you’re facing.

Think of ways to counteract those worries

Once you know what’s worrying you, you can think about ways to overcome it.

For example, if you’re secretly worried about losing the respect and admiration of your colleagues, you know you need to find a way to replace that respect once you’ve retired. You might consider taking a part-time consultancy role or a place on the parish council. That way, you still get the things you like about work, without all the bad bits that go with it.

Or maybe you’re going to miss the social aspect of work – those sneaky coffee breaks or catch-ups over the photocopier. If that’s the case, you can think of ways to keep in touch with colleagues after you retire and plan ways to make new friends through hobbies or volunteering.

Speak to a lifestyle retirement financial planner

Even if you’re being honest with yourself, you might not be able to articulate things on your own. That’s why it’s a good idea to seek lifestyle financial planning advice. Lifestyle financial planning looks at your retirement plan holistically. Not just dry facts and figures about whether you can afford to retire, but the emotions and ambitions you have as well.

How can I fill my retirement?

People often worry about how they’ll ‘fill’ their retirement. Like later life is something to be endured, got through.
At Joslin Rhodes we prefer to think about how you want to ‘spend’ your retirement. Because life and health is the real wealth in your later years. Something to be celebrated and enjoyed.

Check out our article on things to do in retirement if you’re currently lacking inspiration. But make sure you choose fulfilment, not just ‘filler’.

Opening your mind to retirement: options and opportunities

One of the most important elements of retirement planning can be opening up your imagination.

Lots of people are so convinced that they can’t afford to retire, that they don’t allow themselves to picture life after work. They expect to be counting the pounds and pinching the pennies. The idea that they could be well-off – or better off – in retirement is alien to them.
That’s why – when aspiring retirees come to Joslin Rhodes Pension & Retirement Planning – we work really hard to help people dream bigger.

We help them break out of the box that’s says life will be smaller and sadder when they retire. We help them work out what their ideal retirement would look like and then we work out how to get them there.

We call it ‘top-down’ planning instead of ‘bottom-up’.

Bottom-up planning is working out the least amount of money you need to live on and discovering if you have enough. It leads to a retirement where only the basics are budgeted for and retirees are scared to spend.

Top-down planning is working out what you want from later life and working out ways to achieve it. You might not get to the top of your wishlist – like that trip on Elon Musk’s first passenger rocket to the moon – but you could get the next thing on your list – like an annual cruise or that trip to Australia you’ve always wanted to take.

How can I be happy in retirement?

Ah, the million-pound question. Happiness isn’t guaranteed at any stage of life – whether that’s marriage, parenthood, career or retirement. But there are steps you can take to increase your chances of being happy when you retire.

  • Understand the emotional barriers to retirement that you might be facing – consciously or unconsciously
  • Seek financial advice to give you clarity and confidence about your pension and retirement income
  • Prepare for all eventualities – such as care home fees– with estate planning, so you can relax knowing everything’s taken care of
  • Think of ways to replicate the things you love about work, but without the pressure of the 9-5
  • Look forward to the adventures that await in later life, not backwards to the career you’re leaving behind

How can we help you prepare for your ideal retirement? – Free retirement review

To get started on your journey to retirement, you can take our free no-obligation first meeting.

You’ll be able to speak with our financial advisers who can explain our PlanHappy Lifestyle Financial Planning process, how it can help you, but most importantly, you can work through what it really is you want to do in retirement.

You tell us what you want to do, you tell us your goals and aspirations, and then we start your journey to retirement.

✓ Retirement Savings – how much you need to save for retirement
✓ Retirement Date – when you can afford to stop working
✓ Retirement Income – how much you can spend in retirement

So, if you’re looking to make sense of pension and retirement planning options with straightforward financial planning advice, we’re here to help.
Contact our friendly team on, 033 0133 3035 or fill in the form below to arrange a call back from one of our experts.

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