Retirement, It Turns Out, Is a JourneyThere are five distinct stages to retirement that impact not only the person moving through them, but also their families, workplace, communities and financial situations, according to Ameriprise Financial's The New Retirement Mindscape study.
Researchers have labeled the five stages that people experience before and during retirement as: imagination, anticipation, liberation, reorientation and reconciliation.
Imagination (15 to six years before Retirement Day): Retirement is not necessarily top of mind; people are putting children through college, pursuing their career, paying bills.
As retirement draws closer, they pay more attention to and define their goals and preparation needs. This is when a clearer vision emerges of what is wanted out of this next life phase, and a sense of enthusiasm and excitement about retirement develops.
Anticipation (up to five years before retirement): This is a time of excitement and hopefulness. Emotions intensify and financial resources are almost in place. People spend more time planning for recreation, new hobbies, family and new careers.
Liberation (Retirement Day and the year following): The honeymoon phase. It's a time of enjoyment, enthusiasm and hopefulness, and it lasts about a year. People feel excited, relieved, and liberated from worries and responsibilities. They miss their friends and work connections, but reconnect with spouses and families, hobbies, traveling and beginning new businesses – 89 percent indicated they were "very busy" during this time.
Reorientation (two to 15 years after retirement): After the initial liberation period, people transition into reorientation. During this time, which can last up to 15 years after Retirement Day, there's a let-down. How much of a let-down and how long it lasts depends on how they reorient their priorities, activities, relationships and daily living. People often discover the challenges of retirement may include depression, worry and/or boredom.
The study uncovered four distinct experiences within the reorientation stage of the retirement journey:
Reconciliation (16 or more years after retirement): Many retirees enter a phase of relative contentment and acceptance. They begin to set their sights on moving to a new home, confront end-of-life issues with families and friends; and find resting and relaxing more appealing.
Among pre-retirees and retirees with retirement experience, one of the main discoveries was that both groups find retirement is liberation from the daily grind, which gives them more control over their own time.
The study was for Ameriprise Financial in conjunction with Age Wave and Harris Interactive, Inc. The survey sampled 2,000 people (ages 40-75) around the country in 2005.
2007 GlynnDevins. All rights reserved
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