Tools to Help Your Retirement Transition
What do you do after the retirement ceremony? The new retirement transition is dependent on the resources you have available to you in the form of: Situation, Self, Supports and Strategies. These concepts were initially discussed by Nancy Schlossberg in Retire Smart, Retire Happy: Finding Your True Path in Life
As a retiree, look at each tool and evaluate its ability to help in your successful transition.
1. The Situation refers to the circumstances surrounding the retirement. Best case scenarios are not always present. Were the circumstances about retirement your choice? Are you free of family responsibilities? How is your health? Are you prepared financially? What are strengths of your situation? What are the challenges affecting your situation?
2. Self refers to the personal strength you bring to the transition; the internal forces that will help you. Are you resourceful, resilient, flexible, and able to deal with ambiguity? Are you able to use free time or do you feel more comfortable with a busy schedule? Do you need to set goals? How tied to your job is your identity? What’s your attitude about your circumstances? Do you have activities, hobbies and interests you can pursue? How have you reacted and adapted to other lifestyle changes in your life?
3. Supports refer to the external forces available to you during your transition. Are you financially comfortable and solvent? Do you have supportive family and friends who will understand during the transition? Will you get support from co-workers? Are you living in a supportive seniors community? Do you belong to spiritual or other communities (formal or informal) that you can lean on for support?
4. Strategies are the specific coping mechanisms you bring to retirement. People who cope effectively use many strategies depending on the Situation. Strategies may involve taking action, seeking advice, asserting yourself, negotiating or brainstorming. You may have to reinterpret your situation by reframing, ignoring or developing rituals and humor. What are the aging effects you are face? You can manage mental health aging by using relaxation skills, expressing emotions, physical activity, counseling or support groups.
As you think about retiring, review the major events of your life. You approached and navigated through those transitions with certain strengths. How will those coping mechanisms help you transition into your new retirement?