Burying your head in the sand is not a viable retirement strategy!
Over the past few days, I’ve had two in-depth conversations about retirement, with two very different women. What amazed me was the striking similarity of their feelings and the way they used almost identical words to express themselves! Both were still working, contemplating retirement, and grappling with uncertainty about their post-retirement lives.
I think it’s fair to say that they were both feeling ‘decidedly discombobulated’ about the whole retirement thing!
And what’s more, both had recently pushed back their retirement date for the same reason.
Because they had NO IDEA what their lives would look like or what they would DO once they retired and because that thought was so overwhelming, they chose instead to kick the decision into the long grass for a few more months.
Both expressed their feelings in very similar ways:
- I don’t feel ready to call myself ‘retired’!
- I’ve got the financial side sorted – it’s the rest of it I’m struggling with.
- What the hell am I going to DO with all this TIME?
Retirement jitters are something we all encounter along the way. While each person’s situation is unique, the feelings shared are surprisingly similar. I hope that if you are experiencing something similar right now, the following insights will be of help to you.
Acknowledge retirement as a major life transition
First off, retirement IS a big deal – which is why it feels like a big deal! It’s a whole new chapter in life, and it’s natural to be a bit bewildered and discombobulated by all the changes and uncertainties that come with it.
It’s a huge transition; as with any life transition, it can be challenging. Recognising its impact on your identity and sense of purpose is important as you grapple with questions like “Who am I now?” and “What’s my purpose without a professional role?”
And when there are no immediate or obvious answers it’s often easier to push them away and retreat back to the comfort of the status quo.
The trouble is, this strategy is not a solution – it’s simply delaying the inevitable. Further down the line, those nagging questions will still be staring you in the face, only now they’ll feel even more pressing as time marches on. And THAT is no place from which to make important life decisions.
So what’s to be done?
Don't shy away from retirement's uncertainties
Whether it’s today or a year from now, those questions and uncertainties will keep knocking on your door, demanding answers, which is why so many people end up spending their first few years of retirement still grappling with this reality, still trying to figure things out.
So many of the women I talk with have no clue about what they want their retirement to look like or how they want to spend their precious time.
Yet when I ask them what they think they need to do to ensure they’re not in the same place this time next year, they all know the answer – develop a clearer vision of their desired retirement lifestyle.
Clarity is always the key piece of the puzzle
Once you figure out what you want and where you’re heading, all those retirement uncertainties become much easier to handle. Knowing what truly matters to you gives you a sense of purpose and direction. Once you’ve got a clear vision you’ll feel confident and ready to make intentional decisions and create the life that’s calling you.
The retirement transition is not a quick fix, but you can do things to help the process along and turn the roadblocks into stepping stones. So, how about taking a proactive approach instead of burying your head in the sand and dodging retirement decisions?
Practical, proactive steps to move you forward
Embrace the reality and take control of your future
When it comes to retirement, burying our heads in the sand won’t make it disappear. It’s a reality we all have to face sooner or later. No matter how much we procrastinate, it won’t change the fact that one day, we will need to step away from our careers and embark on a new chapter in life.
When we accept it, we can prepare ourselves mentally, emotionally, and financially for this life transition and make intentional choices and decisions that lead to the retirement we want.
So I urge you to embrace the journey ahead, knowing that facing it head-on will lead to a more fulfilling and gratifying retirement down the road. Remember, the sooner you start designing a retirement that aligns with your values and aspirations, the sooner you’ll get to live it! Get in the driving seat, make informed choices, and step into this new chapter with clarity, confidence, and enthusiasm.
The big question is… HOW?
Well, one of the simplest and most effective steps you can take is to start writing!
Simply putting put pen to paper creates a tangible connection between your inner thoughts and the outer world and allows you to step into the role of both the thinker and the observer. You can pour out your uncertainties, dreams, and questions onto the page, creating a space for introspection and self-reflection. Seeing your thoughts transformed into words can offer you new perspectives, helping you view your feelings and ideas from a fresh angle
Whether it’s jotting down your retirement goals, scribbling away your fears, or meticulously outlining your dreams, writing it all down carries a cathartic, enlightening, and revelatory power. It’s an indispensable tool that serves as a steadfast companion on your journey of self-reflection. With its help, you can unearth hidden insights, and ultimately navigate your path with a greater sense of intention.
So, grab your trusty journal and let the pen flow!
And to kickstart this transformative process, why not begin with my complimentary checklist and workbook called Are You Retirement Ready? designed to set the wheels in motion.