Economists and pundits predicted that the baby boomer generation's retirement would be dramatic, and the COVID pandemic sped things along. According to the St. Louis Fed, the number of retirees in the U.S. increased by 7% between January 2020 and May 2021.1
But while retirement is a much-anticipated stage of life for many, it may also be a time of emotional upheaval. If you are hoping to join the leagues of retired Americans soon, you may be wondering what you may do to smooth the transition. Here are a few steps you may take to help ease the path from the workforce into full-time retirement.
Have a Financial Plan and a Non-Financial Plan
For a good reason, finances usually take the forefront when it comes to retirement planning. Your retirement may be stressful or even short-lived without an adequate nest egg.
But the non-financial aspects of retirement are just as important to consider. After an initial decompression period, how do you plan to spend your time in retirement? How about traveling, moving closer to family, or pursuing a hobby or side gig? Having a solid plan for your next stage before you step away from your job for good may help you avoid retirement boredom or burnout.
Structuring your days may also help. It might be easier to start treating retirement as an extended staycation—wearing pajamas all day, snacking often, and losing track of time as one day flows into the next. On the other hand, if you continue waking up early, getting dressed, and setting a plan for the day, you may find that your productivity increases which may help lift your spirits.
Stay Connected with Friends
Many people end up making friends with those they work with—after all, many full-time employees spend far more time with their co-workers than with their own extended family. After retirement, maintaining friendships with co-workers and others may require a more concerted effort. Be sure to make time to catch up with old friends and make new ones, whether this means starting a new hobby or joining a social club. A wider social circle may bring more interesting opportunities to interact with people.
Keep Setting Goals
Just as it is important to have some structure in your day-to-day life in retirement, it is important to have measurable goals that do not involve a workplace accomplishment. Your goal might be to read a certain number of books, declutter a certain number of items from your home, or reconnect with a certain number of people you have not spoken with in a while. Setting tangible goals and continuing to work toward them may give you a sense of purpose.
Although retirement may be a bittersweet and emotionally fraught stage of life, it can come with many benefits—most notably, ample free time to do things you did not have time for during your working years. You may approach retirement with a focused and optimistic attitude by following these tips.