Preparing Emotionally for Retirement

There is no question that everyone should start saving for retirement while they are young and have the financial ability to do so.  While this is a critical step to take financially, one must also prepare mentally for the changes that you will experience in retirement.  Even if you have prepared well financially, the transition from working full time to complete retirement can be a major adjustment if you have not prepared for the emotional and psychological impact of no longer being employed. For men, this transition is probably even more difficult.

Think about this. While you are working, you are dedicated to your job and you have no trouble staying busy.  You have an established life, established routines, established relationships, and a sense of “worth” that is often tied to your job or occupation.  When you retire, you have to establish a whole new pattern for your life – and for many, that is a huge challenge.

To help better prepare yourself mentally for retirement, consider these areas of your life:

Identity – Has your identity been totally tied up in what you do? Is your identity solely that of pastor, church employee, etc. or do you have an identity outside of “work?” Now that you are retired, what are you going to put on your business card or your tagline under your email signature?  Most of us will feel happier if we can define a post-retirement identity that can provide structure to our day and meaning to our life.

Purpose/Mission – What is it that gets you up and going in the morning during your working life? What is your passion? It may take some time to sort out a purpose in retirement, or you could have several, but find something that suits you and strive to achieve it every day.

Relationships – When you leave your work life, especially ministers, you often lose touch with people who were once a major part of your everyday life.  To broaden your relationships, and to develop new ones, try engaging in volunteer activities. In addition, find an interest group or civic club to join, or simply just hang out at your local coffee shop or bookstore, looking for someone that you can share a simple encouraging word with.  Of course, retirement is also the perfect time to spend more time with your children and grandchildren.

Not everyone will have the same approach to retirement.  For some, it will be easier than others.  It would be wonderful if there was a simply formula to follow …. but such has not yet been discovered.

Whatever approach you take, the important thing to remember is that you still count.  You are still needed, you are appreciated, and your experience and insights can be a valuable blessing to a younger person following in your footsteps.  If that younger person does not take your advice word for word, just remember that you were young once also – and you didn’t take all the advice given to you. Sometime we have to learn experiences the hard way.

So, don’t forget. If you are going to experience a happy retirement, do not get caught up only in the financial aspects and forget about the psychological part.  Start preparing now so you can find your fulfillment and enjoy your retirement to the fullest.

About benefitsboard

Art Rhodes is the President and CEO of the Church of God Benefits Board, Inc. - the administrator of the Ministers' Retirement Plan and the Church Loan Fund, Inc. The corporate offices of the Benefits Board are in Cleveland, TN.
This entry was posted in Retirees, Retirement Contributions, Retirement Distributions, Withdrawals. Bookmark the permalink.

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