It’s not only couples that enjoy an elusive honeymoon period.
Recent retirees also figure out too quickly that their new life phase isn’t all that they had imagined, as was the case for Rob Pascale, the market researcher from New York. He co-authored “The Retirement Maze: What You Should Know Before and After You Retire” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012), which aims to better educate individuals about social and emotional changes in retirement.
“Most people don’t realize that retirement is a full-time job and they need to invest time and effort into it to make it rewarding,” he explains.
Otherwise, what happens is that retirees find themselves unfulfilled. As part of his research, Pascale surveyed 1,500 retirees to determine how they had prepared for retirement and how they felt about it. He was surprised that only 44 percent described their lives as satisfying.
Pascale says one issue that determines the comfort level of retirees is whether they retired by choice and had time to plan. About 36 percent of people who had not planned their retirement felt satisfied.
Retirement is a harder than most people realize, he noted, because “retirement is about building a new life.” Retirees must abandon the work role as a primary means of self-definition. New routines and goals must be developed.
Other tips that Pascale offers retirees and those planning to retire soon:
Manage your expectations. You need to be realistic about what retirement will feel like on a daily basis. Don’t expect a long-term high. All honeymoons come to an end. Think realistically about how you will feel when you’re retired and what you can do to feel happier. Some retirees feel the loss of the benefits provided by workforce such as weakening of self worth and a sense of living unproductively. Be prepared to address those feelings should they arise.
Plan out your days. You need to be aware of how to live your day-to-day life. Make a schedule and plan out activities that will help you feel fulfilled. Set goals and work toward achieving them on a regular basis so that you maintain a sense of purpose.
Stay motivated. Find out what makes you feel happy. For some, that can include landing a part-time job that they always wanted, starting a small-scale business venture or pursuing a college degree. Do whatever is needed to stay motivated and improve your life.
Stay connected. You’ll need to work at staying connected whether that involves keeping up with work friends or making new ones. Find opportunities to socialize and feel part of a group.
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