The transition into retirement is a unique and dramatic step in life. The changes in a person’s short- term and long-term objectives change dramatically as do the changes in a person’s daily routines, social structure and status and family interactions. Yet, the transition into retirement is hardly ever given the planning or thought it deserves. The transition requires extensive consideration, self-awareness, and huge effort to complete successfully. One of the most important factors affecting retirement is significantly increased longevity. Many retirees today can expect to live for 25 to 35 years post retirement. Essential questions we all need to ask include:
How do I find meaning in retirement?
What has been the meaning of my life to this point?
What will I do with the rest of my life?
Which choices do I make among the many options?
How can I build a structure in my life to replace work?
Unfortunately, far too many people go into retirement with virtually no purpose, with little, if any, planning, and little understanding of what will actually happen. People are led to believe that retirement is a form of utopia that will provide happiness for the rest of their lives. This is a short-lived fantasy.
Traditionally, retirement planning was mostly about financial planning. For sure this is critical – having sufficient money is essential. Financial security helps protect against unhappiness but does not directly lead to happiness. Financial security does not necessarily lead to meaning in life. The traditional concept of retirement planning was primarily about money. Many retirement transitions are less wonderful and fulfilling for the simple fact that preparation was only focussed on the financial aspects – with little emphasis regarding the numerous other critical issues and stresses – both emotional and psychological, as well as the health challenges of such a radical life transition
Today, the understanding is that a more realistic and holistic approach also gives equal weight to health, wealth, meaning and happiness. This is the core of what coaching for Retirement Well-Being is all about.