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Preparing For The “Mind Side” Of Retirement

Big Takeaway: There’s another portfolio to take care of as you head towards retirement: your mindset portfolio.

The Details

As we head towards a known life change, many of us make preparations. When thinking about retirement, most of our focus tends to be on retirement’s financial side: planning ahead to ensure that we enjoy life after careers (and income from an employer or business) ends.

The American Psychological Association (APA) shares a different way to think about retirement planning: planning for this significant life event’s emotional and psychological side. Understanding how you might approach retirement can help you identify ways to ensure satisfaction and happiness as you adjust to a new life. This brief overview of retirement research from the APA highlights Dr. Nancy Schlossberg’s groundbreaking work in examining how we approach retirement, including six different retirement-approach profiles. For example, if you are a “Continuer” (see below), someone who wants to continue using your skills and knowledge in retirement, what kinds of activities, organizations, or projects should you begin considering before retirement?

Take stock of your potential retirement approach based on Dr. Schlossberg’s work. Which of the following best describes you? If you do not enjoy the category you’re in today, consider ways to improve your current approach. The way we adjust to retirement can impact our life satisfaction, depression, and enjoyment.

  • Continuers – Do you plan on using your skills and experience in retirement? If so, what kinds of projects and activities could you apply them to in retirement?

  • Adventurers – If you view retirement as a way to have a fresh start and try new hobbies and take new journeys, how can you ensure you have the resources to begin those new adventures?

  • Searchers – Similar to the Adventurers above, Searchers tend to want to take more of a trial-and-error approach to retirement. Do you have a plan in place to ensure you’ll be able to experiment in retirement?

  • Easy Gliders – Maybe you view retirement as a way to relax and take things as they come. Consider if you have a plan to handle unforeseen events that might impact your unscheduled time.

  • Involved Spectators – You may be passionate about your family or other concerns in the world, but you prefer to be indirectly involved in activities. Sharing this expectation with friends and family could ensure expectations are set in advance of retirement.

  • Retreaters – Do you want to be away from it all in retirement? Like the Involved Spectators above, consider if your loved ones understand how you view retirement.


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