Purpose in retirement


“What do you do?” is a question we often hear when it comes to our careers, which are not only a major part of our time but a huge part of our identity. So what happens when you reach the time when your career is not the main focus of your life?

Loss of purpose in retirement

While we focus a lot on retirement planning for the financial aspects of retirement, we often overlook the psychological impact of retiring from work.

Some of the negative emotional aspects we can experience when it comes to the point of retirement, especially in the earlier stages, are things like loss of identity, loss of structure in our day, missing the social aspect of work and struggling to switch off and relax. Individuals may feel more anxiety at having more time on their hands, but less money to spend, which is also known as decumulation anxiety.

Many individuals find it difficult to fill the extra hours in their day with meaningful activity, however there are many opportunities to find new purpose in retirement.

Three phases of retirement

There are broadly three phases of retirement to consider. The first phase starts with the approach, which is a great time to be thinking about why you’re retiring and how you would like to finish your career. This can be an immediate stop from working or a phasing into retirement for a gentler adjustment period.

Secondly, there is the transition into active retirement. This is potentially a busier phase where you can prioritise what’s meaningful for you and how you want to fill your time.

And then finally, there’s passive retirement. This defines the time when you are settled, a little bit more relaxed, and potentially enjoying doing a little bit less.

It is through these phases you can find the opportunity to redefine your identity to some extent.

Finding purpose in retirement

In retirement, different things can become important to you such as volunteering and philanthropy. Having more time to invest in community interests, hobbies and activities can be a rewarding way to develop yourself during retirement.

You could also potentially become more involved with family at this time, spending more time with your children and grandchildren. With this in mind, it’s always important to talk to family about your level of involvement before it becomes part of your plan to make sure you’re all on the same page.

It’s also an important time to look after your health, both physical and mental. For example, if you’ve been commuting to your office every day, you can potentially now become a little bit more sedentary. Retirement provides more time to be active in other ways, being outdoors and enjoying leisure activities that contribute to both physical and mental health.

Planning and support

Why are financial planners talking about this? Financial planning is a goal-based vocation and financial planners continue to work alongside their clients through this changing time. They can be there to help you structure your retirement and offer support along the way.

Your finances are a utility for getting you to where we want to be in life, and helping clients to achieve their goals necessitates being able to understand their emotional concerns and coach them through them.

Our financial planners have worked with many people through this transition into retirement, so don’t be afraid to lean on us for support. Contact us today.

This article is distributed for educational purposes and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale. This article contains the opinions of the author but not necessarily the Firm and does not represent a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but is not guaranteed.

Past performance is not indicative of future results and the value of investments can fall as well as rise. No representation is made that the stated results will be replicated.

Victoria Ross

Chartered Financial Planner

Victoria is both Chartered and Certified in Financial Planning.

Learn more about Victoria Ross