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Loving Your Golden Years: How to Cultivate Your Retirement Mindset

Picture of Randall E. White

Randall E. White

Prepare to love your golden years by cultivating a retirement mindset that can help you navigate this major life transition.

Retirement is a major phase of transition, and it’s likely that the day-to-day routine that you’ve been so accustomed to over the years will change dramatically. Although you may have planned for the financial aspects of retirement, it’s just as important to adopt a retirement mindset that will help you prepare mentally and emotionally for this significant lifestyle shift. Below, we explore a few of the retirement lifestyle challenges you may face, along with tips on how to develop a retirement mindset that can set you on the path to a rewarding and fulfilling future.

Uncovering Your Career-Free Retirement Mindset Identity

If you’ve spent the majority of your life building a career, it’s only natural that your identity is closely tied to your work. It has probably been common to introduce yourself according to your job attachment, whether it be during a professional event, or even personally. If your work has reflected your personal passions, it’s even more natural that this is the lens through which you view yourself. If this is the case for you, you have been fortunate to have had a personally fulfilling career. On the flip side, you may have to be a bit more diligent in adjusting your retirement mindset once you’re ready to leave your work behind.

It’s not uncommon for retirees who were closely attached to their careers to find themselves in a type of identity crisis. For many, life achievements have been tied to the successes of a career, and this has been the gauge for your identity. If this sounds like you, it can be helpful to begin thinking about who you are and what will be personally meaningful beyond your decades of employment. As you approach retirement, start to explore what you value in life and what may make you feel appreciated and productive beyond your work life. Envision what will bring you joy, whether it be hobbies, new opportunities for learning, or deepening your connections with family and friends.

Everyone is different, and your approach to retirement will be uniquely your own. The important part is to identify and connect with your sense of self as an individual, separate from your career.

SEE ALSO: Navigating Financial Stress During Life Transitions

The Financial Transition to Retirement

After years of focusing on saving and creating as much wealth as possible to achieve a financially sound and fulfilling retirement, it can be a challenge to shift your mindset from saving to spending. You may even feel a sense of guilt or trepidation for drawing your distributions from your retirement accounts because it feels so different from your former saving mindset.

Worrying about not having enough money to support your retirement lifestyle can fuel the uncertainty about spending. This fearful mindset can hold you back from fully enjoying the fruits of your hard-earned years of saving. As challenging as it may be to overcome, working with a trusted financial advisor can help you to create a retirement income and spending plan. With a plan in place, you’ll have the knowledge that you need to feel more financially secure.

Lack of Structure Doesn’t Always Equate to Feelings of Freedom

Most of us dream of a retirement that’s free from work obligations and always keeping our eye on the clock. However, it’s not uncommon for retirees to be challenged by the new lack of structure and flexibility. Even those who yearn for a life of leisure, and believe they’re prepared for it, can find themselves bored, depressed, anxious or even lonely.

Being deliberate about cultivating a retirement mindset that helps you navigate this challenge is important. Work intentionally to build a vision of what you want your retirement life to be. Create a structure and routine for yourself. One tactic includes using a calendar – whether paper or digital – to create a regular schedule for yourself. Retirees often find this helpful in managing their time and adjusting to the change of pace which can help overcome feelings of aimlessness or unproductiveness.

SEE ALSO: Retirement Planning for Couples: Steps for Success

Your Relationships Might Change

Retirement can have an unexpected impact on your relationship with your spouse or partner. Even if you’ve both dreamed of spending more time together without the time constraints and demands of your working lives, the change can sometimes strain your relationship. After all, even if you are enjoying those evening walks or exotic vacations together, you’re likely not used to being in each other’s company all day. And if one of you retires before the other, the responsibilities of maintaining your household may need to change too.

Cultivating a retirement mindset that places an emphasis on open and honest communication with your partner is the best way to overcome any challenges you may face in your retirement relationship. Be clear about your needs and feelings and ensure that you’re allowing them the space to do the same. Talk about your desire for time both apart and together and be intentional about setting boundaries that you both agree upon and can mutually respect. Consider starting these retirement mindset conversations before either of you retire so you can be in agreement as you prepare to enter this new phase of your lives.

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