Transitioning Into Retirement Is No Small Task

beginning retirement

Even though most people look forward to retirement, some forget that losing the structured routines, sense of purpose, and social interactions that work brings can lead to a difficult transition from working to retirement. Recently, a professor at Harvard Business School conducted a study on the mental and emotional effects of retirement.[1] The study found that people undergo “life restructuring” and “identity bridging” in retirement, and it gives examples of how people can successfully transition into retirement. But even though retirement changes your daily schedule, there are ways to help make your smooth transition into retirement a more manageable feat.

Life structure consists of the places you spend your time, the activities you engaged in, and the important relationships you’ve cultivated throughout your life. Many of these can change drastically after entering retirement, from work activities to relationships with coworkers. You might even move, and there are several things to consider before moving in retirement. Successful restructuring starts with deciding when and how to retire. Some study participants transitioned to part-time work, and others developed their social schedules or started volunteering. Introducing new activities and investing in relationships are also components of identity bridging.

Identity bridging can be important for people who identify strongly with their profession or organization. Some study participants coped by enhancing their pre-retirement identity. They spent more time on and gave more attention to relationships and activities that were important to them before they retired. In one example, a man enhanced his relationship with his teenage daughter by spending more time with her and helping her improve her performance in school. Other participants activated a hidden identity that had fallen by the wayside during busy careers. One man had given up motorcycling years before, but once he was retired he bought a new motorcycle and connected with other motorcyclists.

Another interesting takeaway from the Harvard Business School study was that some retirees found purpose by using the skills and knowledge gained in their careers in retirement. One retired engineer volunteered to work on the new community center in his town. Others engaged in mentoring and consulting. This can help replace the social connections and positive feedback work provides. One woman mentored junior workers at her former workplace and volunteered her coaching services at a community organization. Another man reinvented himself by starting a handyman business where he could work as much or as little as he wanted while doing one of his favorite hobbies.

Ultimately, it’s important to prepare financially as well as mentally for retirement. Successful life restructuring and identity bridging can help lead to a happier and more fulfilling life in retirement. And, envisioning your retirement, while considering the relationships and activities that really make you happy can help with the transition.

Consider what you want your retirement to look like. At BML Wealth, we’ll work with you to help better understand your goals, and we can help you create a comprehensive financial plan that allows you to achieve them. Click here to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation financial review to take the first step because remember, transitioning into retirement is no small task.

[1] Amabile, Teresa M. “Identity Bridging across the Retirement Transition.” In Navigating Retirement Life: Retirement Attitudes, Transitions, and Experiences. Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Showcase Symposium, Chicago, IL, August 2018.

The commentary on this blog reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of BML Wealth Management’s employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Cooper Financial Group. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this blog constitutes investment advice. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.

Investment Advisory services are offered through Cooper Financial Group, an SEC Registered Investment Advisory firm. All Insurance Services are offered through BML Wealth & Insurance Services. California Insurance License #0M15550. BML Wealth Management & Cooper Financial Group are not affiliated.

We do not provide tax or legal advice, all individuals are encouraged to seek guidance from qualified professionals regarding their personal situation. Any references to protection benefits or steady and reliable income streams in this guide refer only to fixed insurance products. They do not refer, in any way, to securities or investment advisory products. Annuity guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Annuities are insurance products that may be subject to fees, surrender charges and holding periods which vary by insurance company. Annuities are not FDIC insured. Indices mentioned are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

Ready to take
The Next Step?

Schedule Your Retirement Fingerprint® Review

A Complimentary 15 Minute Call