Success factors for Retirement- Attitude towards retirement

In this series we will discuss some factors that may affect you when you reach formal retirement age. The Baby Boomer Generation (born between 1946 and 1964) are not likely to retire like their parents did. The world has changed and there are now different choices available for this generation as they reach this new life stage.

This month we will discuss the factor of your attitude towards retirement. Your perception of what your next life stage will be like for you, once you transition beyond your current job.

Picture yourself thinking about life in “retirement”. This will conjure up varied images. You may feel it spells the end of productive life or you may feel it is the reward for a long career filled with drudgery. You may see it as a new opportunity filled with time to grow personally. The word “retirement” seems to be becoming redundant. The meaning is changing and we will find that there will be many new words emerging to describe this life stage. Words like “refire”, “rewire” and “retyre” are three that are already in use. The new ideas about retirement are more focused on asking deeper questions about life purpose, direction and ultimate meaning for retirement. These ideas are more about involvement than rest -which was the view of the old paradigm.

There is an element of fear attached to this next life stage. We are excited about time where we can express ourselves more clearly but also fear seeing ourselves as “older”. We associate “old” with “elderly” The more our view is skewed to fearing getting “old” the more we will flee from the reality of this. Persons searching for the new retirement need to see maturation not as “aging” but as a time of personal change which offers tremendous growth.

Your parents’ generation forms the attitudinal foundation for you to plan your own retirement. Your own view may be skewed by a bad experience .Look for positive models of healthy and fulfilling retirement to help you plan your own future. Unhealthy resolution of this challenge leads to the old retirement paradigm where retirees ultimately see themselves as having no particular purpose and, in extreme cases, as being useless and of no use to society. Depression is the number one emotional issue that can attack retirees.

The challenge is to find our most authentic self. We will value this life stage when we value and learn to practice some of the following traits: courage, simplicity, empathy, wisdom, perseverance and hope. We need to strive to be all we are meant to be. It is the real us which lies underneath all the images and masks that we may have had the occasion of wearing during our lives.

To reach this ultimate phase we need to check our attitude and start to find our authentic self. This may be one of the most important journeys you embark on to ensure a successful retirement.