Retirement: The Emotional Investment

Apr 22, 2022

“As your life changes, it takes time to recalibrate, to find your values again. You might also find that retirement is the time when you stretch out and find your potential.” – Sid Miramontes, Retirement: Your New Beginning

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about retirement?  

  • Have I accumulated enough wealth to retire?
  • Ahh no more work!
  • What will it take for me to live in the manner in which I am presently living?
  • Should I retire at 62, 67, or 70?   

Many of these questions can be accessed through the internet or speaking with a financial planner, however, there are other questions that most people do not consider.

  • How will retirement impact me mentally and emotionally? 
  • How can I deal with the grief and loss I will experience?  

Planning out your emotional investment is equally as important to planning your financial investment. The role you have had will no longer exist. Your life will change in ways that you may not have imagined. 

Grief can be one of those changes. Some may say that is impossible thinking, "I have been thinking of retiring since I started work”.  But losses related to retirement and the expectations associated with change can have a significant impact on our daily living. 

In addition to a loss, you will also be dealing with the developmental process of aging and retirement definitely says, “I am older”. For this reason, many individuals choose to continue working, and it is not just for the money, but instead, it helps delay having to deal with the inevitable aging.

While the stress of working maybe taxing and overwhelming, so then is the loss of working. Keep in mind that almost everything changes when you retire. 

Here are 7 common changes related to retirement: 

  • Difficulty adjusting (it can take weeks or even months).  
  • Anxiety related to a change in your daily routine.
  • Decrease in your social and work network.
  • Depression, as you may have lost your sense of purpose.
  • Getting to know yourself. Who am I now? What do I want? What do I need in my life? 
  • If you are married or with a life partner and they are still working, there may be some relationship challenges to deal with. And if you are both retired and have not had an unstable relationship, this can cause additional stress, frustration, and further breakdown in communication.  
  • Fear that you may have made a mistake by retiring. 

How to embrace changes in your new life:

  • A part-time job can help you to adjust and transition with more ease. It can also help you stay connected socially.
  • Volunteering is another way to keep connected and also serve. This can provide you with a new sense of purpose. 
  • Your company may have an Employee’s Assistance Program.  Speak to a counselor before you complete your retirement. Counseling can be supportive, as well as helpful, in resolving issues that may be keeping you stuck.
  • Retirement is a journey, not a destination; depending on what you decide for your retirement, there may be many stops along the way. So set new goals.
  • There is a natural process to change and grief. Give yourself permission to feel what is happening.  Self-care is an important part of the process. Acknowledge your emotions. 
  • Connection is an important ingredient in this thing called life. Maintain your connections and make new ones. This will provide you with the support you may need.
  • If you find you are suffering from depression anxiety or prolonged grief seek help from a Mental Health Provider. This is another part of self-care and healing. 

RELATED: 12 Groups You Can Get Involved in When You Retire. 

Enjoy your retirement you have earned it.

Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!

– Lorraine Edey, PhD., LCW, AFC

Mental Health Specialist | E-Mail Lorraine

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