For many years, researchers have grappled with the stress and other negative impacts of retirement. It is an odd concept; something we have looked forward to for much of our working lives should be a time of great joy and excitement.
The reality is that retirement is a major life change, and change, for many people, can be difficult to deal with. Where we were busy, there is now time. Where we held a job in which we were relied upon, is now an abundance of freedom. The replacement of these activities and the associated mental and physical stimulation is a key challenge of retirement.
Why does such a good thing hurt so much? In his book, ‘Bounce’, Matthew Syed delves into the science of winning in sport. There are many parallels within regarding the way in which we approach retirement. Olympic athletes, as evidenced by Syed, work for four years, sometimes longer, toward their performance in one or a small number of events. They will have a goal for what they want to achieve and for four years that goal consumes them.
What is astounding, is that often upon achieving that goal, an athlete will actually experience depression. Naturally, there is that moment of elation, the emotion that is often emitted from the podium and the celebration that happens at the end of the tournament. But, after that there is a void, a space in their lives previously filled by devotion to one thing that is now gone.
Retirement is an achievement; it is something you have been looking forward to for a long time, it is something that is going to give you more time devoted to doing the things you enjoy and spending time with the people you love.
However, it is also a time of loss. Like for someone who wins a gold medal, you will lose many things you have grown to rely upon in life. You don’t have the job you had become good at, the challenges you are used to, or the routine you have relied upon for much of your working life.
To get yourself thinking about what you are going to do when you retire, ask yourself these important questions:
Retirement is much more complex than you might expect. Preparing as soon as possible is the key to enjoying your hard earned break from work, that will give you time to do the things you love in life!
ClearWay Advice and Financial Management is a Corporate Authorised Representative Representative No.473095 of Keystone Partnership Pty Ltd ABN 22 169 650 720, Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) No.466137.