How to phase into retirement and find purpose and fulfillment

March 7, 2022
Aspire Blog - How to prepare for a phased retirement

This article was written with the help of Aspire Health’s Population Health team.

Retired, now what? Research done by the Transamerica Center For Retirement Studies found that most workers envision a phased transition into retirement during which they will continue working, reduce hours, or work in a different capacity that is less demanding or brings great personal satisfaction. This means that only 22 percent of Americans expect to immediately stop working when they retire. All of this requires preparation physically, mentally and emotionally.

How to prepare for a phased retirement

We have five steps to help you prepare for retirement:

  1. Look into company policies. Identify if there is a formal phased retirement program, and if not, discover if there are any policies that would either promote or hinder a phased retirement
  2. Review your finances. Working fewer hours will translate to a reduced income, and it’s important to plan for this transition.
  3. Talk to your employer. Get a sense of how a phased retirement might play out. Suggest working a set number of hours and carrying out a determined list of responsibilities.
  4. Check benefits. Discover what benefits will remain available with reduced hours.
  5. Evaluate your social security situation. Look into how a phased retirement will impact your social security benefit.

How to find purpose and self-fulfillment in retirement

Let’s talk about purposefulness and self-fulfillment while beginning to experience the retirement phase of life. For many of us, our profession and career provide much of the day-to-day purpose and intent. It provides something tangible for us to focus. So, what happens when our profession and career is no longer in the picture?

Self-actualization is the need for personal growth and discovery that is present throughout a person’s life. As each individual is unique, the motivation for self-actualization leads people in different directions. As we begin to transition into retirement life, it is important that we seek what this is for us and begin strengthening our skills to promote success and motivation for these experiences. For some, it can be achieved through creating works of art or literature, for others through sport, hobbies, in an educational setting, or within a business setting. For others, we can finally find time to volunteer

Studies have shown that older people who have close connections and relationships not only live longer, but also cope better with health conditions and experience less depression. One explanation is that social relationships help calm our stress-response system. Experiencing safe and supportive social relationships can keep our cortisol levels low. This could explain why positive relationships helps us learn better, stay healthier, and live longer.

How to stay connected in retirement

There are many proactive steps you can stay to stay connected during retirement:

  1. Join community activities. Get involved with community groups that engage in activities that you enjoy such as gardening, bocce ball, and arts and crafts.
  2. Volunteer. This is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people who enjoy helping others and bettering the community.
  3. Take a class. Learn a new hobby. Could be painting, cooking, creative writing, or learning how to play a musical instrument
  4. Use technology to stay connected. Have a video conversation with friends or family regularly on your computer or through an app like Skype or Zoom on your smartphone.
  5. Be active. Explore physical activities that you can do with others such as walks in nature, golf, water aerobics, or bicycle riding either stationary or on a safe path.

How to financially plan for retirement

It’s important to develop a long-term structure for this new phase of life. Remember that you can seek resources to assist you. Here in Monterey County, the Alliance on Aging in a volunteer-driven organization serving over 7,000 individuals each year. Programs include Medicare counseling and education, senior peer counseling, nursing home information and advocacy, tax counseling for the elderly, benefits checkup, and a monthly outreach luncheon in Salinas. And, there are other organizations like the Carmel Foundation that offer fun classes and activities that enhance you life.

If you have any questions about the information presented, please reach out to Aspire Health’s Population Health team at (831) 644-7450.

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