Most of us do not think about our lives as a series of transitions, we simply go about our living. But if you look back on the major milestones of your life, you will probably agree that you have lived through many periods of time where you adapted and changed. For example, one major transition was from living at home under a parent or guardian’s care to living on your own. Another may have been a transition from high school to a college, university or trade school.
Based on numerous research studies, Robert Atchley (2000) developed six stages of retirement that outline different stages that most people transition through when they leave the workplace on a permanent basis. These stages do not necessarily apply to everyone but they do provide a model for predicting what you might encounter in the future.
The process of retirement has six stages, in general:
Pre-retirement. This stage of retirement involves considering the possibility of retirement and beginning to “let go” or disengage from the workplace. It is marked by planning and thinking about retirement.
Retirement event. This is the event that marks retirement for you. Often it is a celebration of some sort.
Honeymoon. This is the stage that immediately follows retirement. It can last for a few months or even a year. This is a time when many retirees feel relaxed and carefree.
Disenchantment. For some retirees, the honeymoon stage is followed by a period of disenchantment (i.e. disappointment) as retirement does not meet their expectations. Feelings of disenchantment can be particularly strong for a person who hasn’t planned for the inevitable psychological adjustment that retirement requires, and hasn’t developed plans for keeping active and mentally challenged during retirement.
Reorientation. After the honeymoon period, and sometimes a period of disenchantment, it is common for many retirees to ask themselves “what do I want to do? How do I want to spend the rest of my life?” This often happens at about year two. This is particularly true of a retiree who hasn’t planned their retirement. Plans can be made now, but it would be better to make some of these plans in advance of retirement rather than waiting until years into the process.
Retirement routine. This is where you settle into a comfortable and rewarding retirement routine. Some individuals may do this soon after they leave full-time employment, while others take longer. This phase can last for many years and many mid-course adjustments can be made along the way as new interests emerge or new opportunities and challenges present themselves. This stage is called ‘routine’ but it doesn’t mean that the remaining years or decades of retirement are without surprise and unexpected pleasures.
For more information about planning retirement, the following sites may be helpful.
- MoneySense Magazine. www.moneysense.ca
- Government of Canada: Retirement Planning. https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/retirement-planning.html
- Sources of Retirement Income. https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/retirement-planning/sources-retirement-income.html
- Determining how much you need for retirement. https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/retirement-planning/money-to-retire.html
- Canadian Retirement Income Calculator. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicprensions/cpp/retirement-income-caltulator.html
- Government Benefits (Chttps://www.getsmarteraboutmoney.ca/plan-manage/retirement-planning/planning-for-retirement/government-benefits-cpp-oas-gis/
- How much you need to save for retirement. https://www.getsmarteraboutmoney.ca/plan-manage/retirement-planning/planning-for-retirement/how-much-you-need-to-save-for-retirement.
- An Emotional Playbook For Couples In Retirement. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2018/06/27/an-emotional-playbook-for-couples-in-retirement/#785284ed75ba