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IS YOUR PARACHUTE IN ORDER? - RETIREMENT READINESS
Retirement readiness means much more than straining on the leash to leave a job, office politics, long commutes and days when you feel your time is never your own. It means that you are emotionally ready to run toward something rather than away from something. It means you have an active plan for your immediate and extended future – Kathy McCoy
Retirement at the very best involves a drastic change in pace or lifestyle, especially if you have been in formal employment. For most of us acceptance of a situation is much easier when we have chosen it, rather than having been forced into it. So too it is with retirement. But, even so, when one has enough time to prepare for a drastic change in lifestyle, things are generally easier than when there is very little time to get used to an idea.
However, as was found in the Harvard Longitudinal Study, one’s general outlook on life had a whole lot to do with how well a change was accepted. It transpired that those retirees who had enjoyed work were generally also those who enjoyed their retirement. A positive outlook as a character trait was one of the biggest predictors of positive retirement. Many of the problems associated with retirement seemed to be more related to health issues and attitude than with retirement itself. It reminds us of what Confucius said: “no matter where you go - there you are!”
Our recommendation is that you start planning well in advance of retirement (5-10 years) to allow for a gradual phasing in of new hobbies, part-time work and social activities. To paraphrase Confucius again: “the best time to start …is 10 years ago, the next best time is now.”
Think of retirement as a process, not an event. And a process that needs to begin years before you retire. Financial planning is part of that process but so is emotional/psychological planning. – Kathleen Jones
Questions to ask yourself before Retirement (From over the (Hill) Moon)
1. Why am I thinking about retirement now?
2. Do I really want to retire?
3. What are my friends and relatives saying about me retiring?
4. Do I want complete or partial retirement?
5. Can my finances support my current lifestyle for the next 20 − 30 years?
6. What courses, lectures or advice have I taken to assist my retirement planning?
7. What books have I read about retirement?
8. What gives me meaning or purpose in life?
9. What social planning have I done for my retirement?
10. What hobbies or areas of learning do I want to pursue during my retirement?
11. What activities will allow me to make new friends?
12. What level of volunteer activities will satisfy me?
You need to be able to give strong, credible and positive answers to all the questions to be in a good position for successful retirement. If not, there is more preparation to do before you can safely take the plunge.
Emotional preparation and planning for this major life transition are as important as financial planning. Until you know what you want to do and the person you want to be in retirement, the pieces of your new life in retirement won't fit. And all the financial planning in the world won't prepare you fully for life changes linked to the retirement transition -- or for the unexpected - Kathy Mc Coy
References and further reading:
1. Van Zyl-Edeling, H. 2013. Over the Hill Moon – A Guide to Positive Ageing. Johannesburg, Porcupine Press.
2. Jones, K.W. December 14, 2017. Single, Retired, and Female
3. McCoy, K. June 23, 2011. Retirement Readiness
Consider the following joining system as a metaphor for retirement. Imagine the blue surface as your work life and the white your post-retirement life.
Do you agree that this way of joining would be much stronger than if you were attempting to connect two sheer surfaces?
INFORMATION TO BE USED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Any suggestions or opinions voiced in these pages are those of the authors, and in no way to be constructed as final treatment advice. They are intended as a starting point to develop your own preparation and treatment plan. Please consult your medical and/or psychological experts or caregivers to fine-tune the advice and suggestions for your own unique needs.
Dr. Hannetjie Van-Zyl-Edeling
082 460 4575