The Retirement Transition

The retirement transition takes you from your productive working stage of life to the stage of doing what you want to do, when you want to do it, that is, to your new life stage of retirement. The type A personality that was successful during working years does not often fit the new stage of retirement life, if your plan is an inactive relaxed retirement.

Wikipedia explains that type A individuals can be described as impatient, excessively time-conscious, insecure about their status, highly competitive, hostile and aggressive, and incapable of relaxation. In contrast, type B individuals are described as patient, relaxed, and easy-going.

The transition to retirement begins with ending one phase of life (where our identity was our work life), followed by a neutral or unknown phase (in limbo), and finally the new beginning (where we develop our own identity). The transition to retirement can often take approximately five years.

This is very similar to the awkward stage of adolescence - leaving childhood behind and reaching adulthood. It is not an instant change.

You need to successfully let go of the previous phase of life before you can move forward into the next phase.

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Planning Your Transition to Retirement


People assume that the retirement transition needs little planning because they feel it is an easy transition - kind of like the transition from the work week to the weekend. However, retirement is a significant life change.

The transition to retirement is more difficult for those who are forced to retire.

Because the average life expectancy has increased and forced early retirement is more frequent, retirees can expect to live 20-30 years in retirement, which is a good one-third of your life.

You need a plan that addresses both your financial needs, as well as, the non-financial. Find activities that provide purpose and meaning to life.

Planning that makes the transition to retirement easier includes developing a budget for expenses and an asset allocation strategy for investments, as well as, determining the withdrawal strategy from you various retirement income streams.

Retirement is one of life's most difficult transitions, comparable to divorce or death of a spouse. It is a more difficult adjustment than getting married or becoming parents.

The best way to transition to a meaningful retirement life is to plan for it.

There are three parts to a successful retirement transition plan - physical activity, mental activity, and social activity. The most happy in retirement enjoy a variety of activities.

Resources For
Transitioning To Retirement


The patent pending My Next Phase process is a 4 step process that includes understanding yourself, balancing your life, exploring your options, and redefining your role. It enables people to work through the non-financial retirement planning.

Transition coaching is also available. Do a Google search for "retirement transition coaching" and you'll find some free web seminars and additional articles.

You need to have a plan that addresses money, as well as, time management and purpose.

In your working stage of life, your work provides money you can count on (usually). Time management provides a framework for your life. Purpose is what pulls you out of bed in the morning for something that brings meaning to your life.

"As a generation, baby boomers will live longer,
have more opportunities, face different challenges
and perhaps more uncertainty than prior generations."

... Betsy Cole, Life Planning Network President


Plan your retirement transition as early as you can as you approach retirement age.


Retirement Stories

Greg Butler retired in January 2007, at age 60. Although thoroughly planning an active retirement-addressing both financial and non financial issues, he still experienced this transition as ‘the biggest discontinuity' of his life. In retirement stories (www.retirement-stories.com) he describes his journey, and that of his clients, from gaining an understanding of retirement needs, identifying and achieving a variety of worthy goals, to leading a more balanced an fulfilled life.


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Return from retirement transition to planning for retirement.