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Retirement Planning: Phases of Retirement

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

We know a thing or two about retirement planning. Our state of the art modelling techniques can let you know exactly how long your money will last in retirement and we can build, grow and manage your retirement wealth fund.

What we cannot do though is fully prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster that comes with retirement planning. But we can certainly try!

Gerontologist Ken Dychtwald, co-author of the bestselling book “Age Wave” and founder of Age Wave Consulting has identified 5 specific phases of retirement: imagination (15 to five years before retirement); anticipation (five years before retirement); liberation (first year of retirement); reorientation (2 to 15 years post-retirement); and reconciliation (15+ years post-retirement).

Here we’ll take a look at the three years before and the three years after retirement, and what you can do to ensure you Retire Ready.

So let’s ffwd to the anticipation phase: Three years to retirement

Reality is sinking in. Your working life is coming to end and you need to start looking more closely at how you will plan to spend your days once you say goodbye to your work/life routine. Now we’re not talking about how much money you will have. We’re talking about how you feel emotionally.

For many people, work has been their whole life. It is who they are, their identity. What happens when that’s gone? Will they have anything left to offer the world? It can be a frightening thought.

It’s not necessarily easy, but reframing your outlook and going into retirement with a strong sense of self and purpose will also help you make better decisions financially.

Our financial planner start every conversation with “what do you want out of retirement?” This one question tells us a lot about how emotionally ready to retire you are and helps us plan an appropriate investment strategy. It is a stumbling block though. Having spent 40+ years of your life working, how will you spend the next 30?

A great way of helping you answer that question is to approach this milestone the same way you did when you started your career. Set SMART goals. Redefine what it means to be retired. Ask yourself, what do I like doing? What am I good at? Now that I am not tied to large debt, what can I do in the hours I choose to fill? Who do I want to be next? Chase those dreams you had to let go of. Now is the time.

Another action step you can take is building a strong support network. Seek advice from people who have transitioned successfully and are fully enjoying their retirement. This network is vital because they will likely be the same people who you will socialise with and that is the biggest step to avoiding loneliness in retirement.

Next, it’s time to check-in: One year to retirement

Now we begin to get to the nitty-gritty. What will you do the first week of retirement? What will be your daily routine? What ideas will you start pursuing? Include activities that will keep you physically as well as mentally active. Maybe you will still work part-time or perhaps go back to uni? Begin with the end in mind. Think about the new identity you will create, the new friends you will make and the new life you will enjoy.

Liberation: Year 1 of retirement

Here you are. Year 1! Now you can…? Well, you can do anything you want. This honeymoon period is about putting your ideas and plans into action and seeing what happens. You can really have fun in figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Enjoy your newfound freedom.

Reorientation: Three years post-retirement

By now, it’s safe to say you have settled into retirement and enjoying all the perks it brings. Now you can begin to look at your legacy, but by that, we do not mean your estate. We’re talking about how you will be remembered. How will you pass on the depth and wealth of knowledge you have built up along the way?

“The storyline of retirement will be less about winding things up and more about transforming oneself,” says Dychtwald. “Rather than just becoming elderly, we become elders — wise, well-travelled and deeply experienced.”

We are first and foremost a people company and we put relationships before numbers. We know emotions can run high when it comes to potentially phasing out of one lifestyle and into another. We're here to help.

Book in for a quick chat with our Specialist Financial Advisers and together, we can help you map out your journey

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