I love collecting articles, I have hundreds related to retirement / post 60 living and as I work on my next book, I’m reviewing them all. It’s fascinating, so many publications that have some influence on my thinking. Many are academic, others aimed at the interested reader. One is from Ameriprise Financial and compares results from a survey carried out in 2005 and 2010. in 2010 they identified 6 distinct phases that occur before and during retirement

  • Stage 1: Imagination
  • Stage 2: Hesitation
  • Stage 3: Anticipation
  • Stage 4: Realization
  • Stage 5: Reorientation
  • Stage 6: Reconciliation

Stage 1: Imagination – 6 to 15 years prior to retirement

Up to 15 years before retirement is when we dream of leaving our job and imagine a wonderful future. We can imagine a time of relaxation without a need to work, but not think through the implications of possibly a life with little meaning.  If every days’ a Sunday it can lose the shine. If they are considering the financial implications their view is positive as there is time to save more.

Stage 2: Hesitation – 3 to 5 years prior to retirement – this is a new stage that didn’t exist when the first survey was undertaken

In the 3-5 years before retirement phase there is a less positive view. Concerns over money and possible job setbacks. There could be conflicting financial priorities as children could still be in education and be financially dependent. They may also be unsure on how their life in retirement may play out.  This can be a good time to have mid-life/ pre-retirement coaching.

Stage 3: Anticipation – 2 years prior to retirement 

We are getting closer to retirement now – the 2 years prior to retirement.  This can be a time of excitement and is often when organisations will offer pre-retirement training. People have a clearer idea on their savings/investments and whether they will want to continue in work.

Stage 4: Realization – retirement day to 1 year following 

The first year of retirement is a period of transition to a new life and to be clear on their retirement income, this can be a shock; if they were going to get an annuity and see the reality of the annual pension. Some people are not in this stage from choice. Redundancy has meant an earlier retirement than planned. They often haven’t really thought through on how they will spend their time and can feel a little lost. This is the time when every day can feel like a weekend.

Stage 5: Reorientation – 2 to 15 years after retirement 

This should be a golden time. More time to do the things you want and still in good health. This may be a time to return to work or to be more active in community volunteering. This can also be a time when people continue to save for late life. People are more likely to rate themselves as happy in this phase compared to earlier times.

Stage 6: Reconciliation – 16 or more years after retirement 

This stage – more than 16 years after retirement is when most people will be around 80. Again, many people will feel happy (80%) but there can also be more people suffering from depression. This can be down to loss – a life partner and friends may have died and the number of people saying they enjoy retirement has dropped to 56%. Reading this report, I also wondered if people who had been retired for this length of time many not have as good a pension as people retiring now and the drop in pension can contribute to these lower feelings.

What do you think of these stages? I’d love to know if this is something that you can relate to.

Alas the article is no longer accessible online.