The emotional side of retirement

Retirement is different for everyone and whilst we spend most of our time and energy planning retirement from a financial perspective we often do not spend enough time thinking about the ‘other’ issues that will face us in retirement. Plans need to be made for your lifestyle, family, hobbies and whether you are going to work part time or do volunteer work.

Issues to consider:

Are you really ready to retire?
If unsure about whether or not you are ready to retire it may help to take long service leave or extended unpaid leave. This will allow you to get a feel for retirement and, if not for you, at least you will still have a job to return to. Be as flexible as possible and leave your options open if possible

It’s just like taking a holiday….or is it?
At first retirement will feel like a long holiday – you can sleep in, read books and spend more time with your family and friends but what happens when this initial period wears off? Our jobs provide a sense of purpose and when we stop work we often feel a sense of loss of self-worth. Having a daily routine (even in retirement) can add purpose to our lives. If there is nothing to look forward to there is a tendency to feel bored and even depressed.

Issues with partners
Sometimes each partner has a very different idea of what retirement will be like. They may even differ on the timing of retirement. It is often difficult initially spending so much time together and it is quite common for couples to try and do everything together. This is not sustainable and it is important to have your own space, own friends and own interests.

 Non-financial Tips on planning for a happy retirement

  • If you enjoy what you do try dropping down to 2 or 3 days per week rather than retiring fully straight away
  • Many retirees find volunteer work is not only enjoyable and rewarding but can add structure and a sense of purpose
  • Reignite those hobbies and interests you were too busy when working to enjoy.
  • A lot of retirees go back to University or take up a course
  • Reduce the risk of illness by doing regular exercise. Not only will this provide health benefits but can also assist by adding to your routine and helping you meet new people
  • Discuss retirement with your partner to ensure you both get what you want and expect from it
  • Maintain your social networks – do not cut yourself off from others simply because you have retired 

What if your ‘retirement’ isn’t voluntary?

In the current economic environment many workers have lost their jobs because of redundancy. These people may find it even harder to adjust to a forced retirement. If this happens there are a number of actions to consider:

  • Ask your employer if it might be possible to remain at work but on a part time basis.
  • Are there other jobs you can do with the same company?
  • Apply for other jobs and/or consider retraining
  • Discuss your options with your partner
  • Seek financial advice.


 Knight Financial Advisors Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative of NKH Knight Holdings Pty Ltd (AFSL 438 631) ABN 30 163 152 967. The information contained herein is of a general nature only and does not constitute personal advice. You should not act on any recommendation without considering your personal needs, circumstances and objectives. We recommend you obtain professional financial advice specific to your circumstances.


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