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Are you psychologically ready to retire!?


Are you psychologically ready to retire!?

By: Nanette Fairley

The end of full-time employment can trigger enormously liberating feelings,but it can also cause anxiety and fear.  If you type ‘retirement planning’ into Google, it almost exclusively comes back with articles on financial planning for your retirement.  Sure, this is important, but the psychological aspect of retirement is just as important and one we often neglect.Set aside any financial concerns for now, and ask yourself these six critical questionsto determine if you are psychologically and emotionally ready for this transition. 


  • Do you have a plan in place for how you will spend your life post full-time employment?

We plan our weddings and the birth of our children.  Planning what you will do after you retire is just as critical.  You’ll no longer have the structure that employment brings and this can create a void that some find difficult to fill after the initial honeymoon period is over.  Thinking through your plan prior is really important to making the most of this time of your life.  What will you do?  How will you spend your days?  If you are not sure how to progress this, consider completing a course specifically designed to help you develop your What’s Next plan, or work with a coach who can support you to think it through. 


  • Have you thought about your new identity post full time employment?
    Leaving a job also means leaving a job title and this can cause feelings of loss. If you have been saying you are an engineer or a nurse, what do you say now?  What is your new purpose?  How will you contribute?

Visualise who you want to become once you are no longer working as a teacher or lawyer.  Write it down and then build it into your plan for the future. 

I like what one author, Ken Dychtwald, has shared in his book ‘Age Wave’. He said, ‘the storyline of retirement will be less about winding things down and more about transforming oneself.  Rather than becoming elderly, we become elders – wise, well-travelled and deeply experienced.’ How can you build that wisdom and experience into your new identity?


  • If in a relationship, have you both discussed your plans with each other and found a happy medium?

Agreeing on how you will spend your life,post employment, with your spouse can be challenging.  One may want to retire, and the other work for several more years.  One may want to travel and the other spend time closer to home and grandchildren.  The research shows that those couples that plan together, and better still, retire together, find retirement significantly more satisfying. 


  • Are you ready for the upheaval that this transition will bring?
    While the initial euphoria of ditching your 9-5 may last weeks or months, life will change dramatically and any change, even good ones, can make us feel out of sorts for a while. One individual I met said it took him a good three years to ‘find his feet’ after being retired against his wishes. 

Think about what you have done to help in the past when managing big changes (new job, arrival of a baby, loss).  What strategies helped?  Perhaps looking after yourself a bit more or not doing everything new at once.  I remember once I started a new job, moved house and bought a new car, all in the same month!  While these were all good things, I felt totally out of sorts at the time.  You might like to introduce one new thing at a time and, once it feels comfortable, try something else new.


  • Do you have a network outside of work?

Having friendships and community is critically important post retirement as they contribute to our positive mental health among other things.  One study has found that retired men are 40% more likely than employed mento experience depression. 

While we all have the best intentions of staying in touch when someone moves on from work, but this is not always achieved.  If many of your social connections are people you work with, this may leave a gap.  So before retirement, think about where you would like to build connections and begin to do so.  Join a rock choir or sports club if you have always wanted to but never had the time.  Foster these relationships outside of work as they will remain once you’re no longer working full-time. 


  • Are you ready not to have a monthly pay check?

This question is not so much about how much money you have but more aboutyour need for security.  It is very definitely a mindset we need to shift from working and saving to retirement and spending.  A friend was well set up financially when beginning to think about retiring but he felt very uncomfortable about never having a pay check again. If you think this could be an issue for you, think about moving to part-time work initially.  You will then still have the ‘safety’ of some income whether or not you need it. 


Remember, finding your new normal takes time.  However, if you have thought through the above questions prior, and you have a plan for your what’s next, you will be more psychologically ready to work through the transition and enjoy your what’s next after full-time employment.

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Life After Work: Understanding the Third Age


Life After Work: Understanding the Third Age

By: WhatNextology Team

The Third Age is a term that’s gaining more and more traction. But what is it, and what does it mean for you?
The WhatNextology Team

What Is the Third Age?

We tend to look at life as comprised of three stages: childhood, adulthood, and old age.Childhood consists of our formative years, wherein we get our first knowledge of the world and all of its beauties. Adulthood, on the other hand, is where we are put to the test — we take on more and more responsibility, attain more independence, and mature. Lastly, retirement is the period when we can finally dedicate all of our attention to ourselves and our loved ones.

While this three-part perspective aligns roughly with all of our lives, it lacks nuance. And this triggered the concept of the Third Age.

How the Third Age Came to Be

The Third Age is a term put forward by Peter Laslett in the ’80s. He was an English historian active throughout most of the 20th century’s latter half. He coined the name to capture a phenomenon that has been becoming more prominent in more developed countries in the 1900s.

Namely, the average lifespan has been on a steady increase for the last century or so. That is mainly due to improved healthcare, nutrition, and working conditions. Whereas once mortality rates were highest in one’s fifties, reaching one’s sixties, seventies, and eighties became more common. Nowadays, someone passing away in their sixties feels too sudden and unjust, like a life cut too short!

While the average lifespan improved drastically, the retirement age remained pretty much the same: around 65although it is moving and is 67 in some countries. As a result, those who retire have much more life to live than was previously the case. As it turns out, our old way of categorizing life into three segments doesn’t acknowledge this period of freedom from work-related responsibility combined with great health and the ability to lead an active life.

But the Third Age addresses it well. It describes that time in people’s lives, mainly after leaving full-time employment or family responsibilities, when they are vital and active and live independent, vibrant lives.

What Is the Third Age Like?

Those in their Third Age will almost always tell you that it’s a wonderful stage of life. It basically captures the best of both worlds: you enjoy all the freedom of an adult while experiencing none of the burdens of working. It’s the payoff for the nine-to-five grind you’ve been putting yourself through for decades. But unlike the old days, when you enter your Third Age, you have the energy to engage with the world.

Not all older adults speak so highly of this part of their lives, however. The sudden change in lifestyle, one from daily work to great freedom, doesn’t sit well with all. Some feel like they have plenty of work left in them. Others might love their job too much to give it up while they’ve still got wind in their sails.

Eventually, though, most do settle into their new way of life. They pick up hobbies or pursue passions they’ve never had time for before. Such a different lifestyle may feel uncomfortable or strange for them at the onset, but they eventually like any change it becomes the new norm.

The Most Important Lesson About the Third Age

If there is only one thing that you should keep in mind about the Third Age, let it be this: preparation goes a long way. The more you plan, the less you need to worry about when crossing into this stage. Saving up money, investing in projects, relocating, whatever — set all the pieces in place so that you can make the most of this time.

However, no amount of planning can prepare you for your upcoming journey if you’re missing the essential element — the right mindset. Seeing the Third Age for what it can be — the perfect opportunity to dedicate time to yourself and your dreams with no 9-5 to hold you back. Hopefully, it is a time when you can finally do all the things you wanted but never got the chance.

With all that in mind, if you begin thinking and planning early, you’ll make the most of this part of your life. There are plenty of resources that you can rely on for help. For instance, WhatNextology specializes in exactly that: helping you create an inspired plan for your Third Age.

All in all, this part of a person’s life could prove to be one of the most fulfilling! All you have to do is put a bit of forethought into it and maintain a positive mindset. Get ready to make some more fantastic memories!

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