The Stages of Retirement
In 1975 Professor of Gerontology Robert Atchley developed his model of the emotional stages of retirement. There were originally 7 levels however this was later reduced to 6. I’ll be outlining the first 5 below. It should also be noted that not everyone goes through each stage and the sequence is not universal.
Stage 1: Pre-Retirement
In this stage, we are dealing with our fears, dreams and expectations about retirement. It is also the financial planning stage of retirement. Will we have enough money to live the life we want?
Stage 2: The Honeymoon
We have retired from work and we are euphoric! We know have time to do all the things we previously could not do because of work commitments. (We’re learning to sail, scuba dive, or taking on that big gardening project. We’re traveling the world!) We’re seeing that we have a new-found freedom. Studies show that this period usually lasts around a year before retirees – to their surprise – start to slip into the next stage.
Stage 3: Disenchantment
The honeymoon is over, and doubts and fears have replaced the euphoria. We start to question the decision to retire. Did we retire too soon? Do we have enough money to survive? What will we do with our days? What is our identity and purpose? We may also have lost contact with our social network from our previous employment and are now lonely. This is the stage that for some retiree’s can cause depression to rear its ugly head.
Stage 4: Reorientation
At this stage, we begin to re-engage with activities that we find rewarding and fulfilling. We reevaluate our life and set new goals and outcomes. We begin to establish routines and processes that fit our new lifestyle.
Stage 5: Stability
We have now come to terms with our lifestyle choice in retirement. The choices we have made are rewarding and fulfilling.
Did you know a suboptimal retirement can be bad for your health?
How can this be you may ask? Well according to a recent report by the institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) retirement boosts your risk of depression by 40%. The research showed that following on from the initial euphoria of retirement and a short-term gain in health that the chances of being diagnosed with clinical depression increase by 40% and the chances of being diagnosed with a physical condition also increase by 60%. The physical conditions illness can at least be understood as it may be allied with the ageing of the body, however the increase in depression is both drastic and alarming. To get a better understanding of what maybe occurring here we need to understand the emotional levels experienced in retirement.
It is critically important to plan for a meaningful retirement.