The Lifestyle Stages of Refirement
What is the downside if you simply slip into retirement and let
the days go by, one after another, with no real purpose?
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty
pace from day to day until the end of time. You don’t want the
end to come and say, “But wait! I haven’t started yet!”
Instead, I advocate for proactive transitioning.
In reality, you will probably have a series of transitions over the
remainder of your life span. The hard cold fact is that you don’t
know how many years you have ahead. So why worry about it
when you can’t control it? What’s the point?
Let’s replace the word “retirement” with a new definition – a
positive, proactive transition from one stage of your refirement
– yes, I said REFIREMENT - career to another. Career doesn’t
mean JOB. Career can mean starting a business or a nonprofit,
volunteering, or anything that takes focus and concentration.
Empower yourself to look ahead.
So what are some typical lifestyle stages of refirement? Note
that the stages may not be sequential but, rather, you may dip
and out of these stages and they may overlap. Why? Because
Coasting Stage. When you first retire, you are so thrilled to
have freedom of time restrictions, you are reveling in your new
unrestricted vacation. You have your cup of coffee in your
nightgown at 10 AM and think you have died and gone to heaven. Stay in this stage too long and your motivation, psyche, and health can start to decline. For most people, although this is the stage we dreamed of when we heard that alarm clock at 5 AM during our work life, this lagging lifestyle gets old fast.
Planning Stage. You did some of this before you turned in your
notice. In this stage, you are beginning to face reality. You
review your 401K and any other retirement income and
investments. You review your monthly expenses. You think
about downsizing. You think about travel. You wonder if you
should get a part-time job. You dream about the possibilities.
Social Stage. You now have time to be social so you set up
lunches, golfing dates, review and/or respond on social media,
and attend events with interactivity.
Education Stage. You have thought about going back to school,
getting a certification, or learning how to use online platforms.
Although you never thought you’d use another Zoom meeting,
you realize getting around the country with Zoom allows you
much more access without the high cost of travel. You realize
there is a course for anything and everything, and many of
them sound really interesting!
Passion Stage. At this stage, you start getting a little antsy. You
want to have a focus, a meaningful focus that gets you out of
bed in the morning, ready to go into your special living space
and get started. This is where the germ of starting a business or a nonprofit or volunteering for an area of interest or writing a
book or a blog or starting a podcast or YouTube channel begins.
Self-direction pokes its head up and asks, “Where do you want
to go on your next journey or transition?”
This is an exploratory stage where you start thinking about your
dreams, your fulfillment and financial needs, your need to
make a difference, your interests, your personality fit, your
health and fitness, your desired routine, your travel desires,
and how you want to spend the rest of your life.
Don’t expect this to be a rest-of-your-life decision. Depending
on your own personal longevity and taking into account
medical events, you will have the luxury of changing and
transitioning several times.
Time limits don’t exist. Passions and proactive transitioning
evolve over time. Your interests change. Personal changes such
as births, deaths, marriages, sicknesses, and other similar
events can influence your decisions.
The passion stage can even take a different form within a
passion. One thing can lead to another. Opportunities and
threats are both a factor.