Transition to Retirement


In Retire Smart, Retire Happy: Finding Your True Path in Life, Nancy Schlossberg discusses the retirement transition that will affect the boomer generation.

A helpful way to figure out how profound a change retirement has been or will be is to examine your roles, relationships, routines, and assumptions both before and after retirement. What roles will you relinquish in retirement? What new roles will you acquire? How will your relationships and routines change? People crave the freedom retirement brings, but a lack of routine can contribute to people’s sense of floundering. There may be retirement costs besides the financial people are not prepared. Finally, what assumptions do you have about your life, the world, and retirement? Are any of these assumptions affecting your ability to have a fulfilling retirement experience?

Prior to retirement, work often defines a person’s life. It’s the basis for their routine, many of their relationships and their identity. When they retire, that identity can be lost. There is a well defined and ordered working world that disappears when a person retires. While working, a person’s day is determined by the requirements of the job. When you retire, you alone are in charge of your day and time. The idea of success shifts and is largely developed by activities, hobbies and relationships you are involved in.

While earning a living may be the primary reason people work, intangible aspects of work such as relationships, achievement, challenge, purpose, and power need to be cultivated in a new way in retirement. The typical retirement activities of golf, fishing and loafing, while enjoyable for a while, will not replace work and a feeling of meaning.

One key to retiring successfully is to figure out what work has meant to you. Success in retirement often means finding replacements for work so that life can still have meaning after your job has ended.

If you’re already retired, then answer questions in past tense. If you’re not retired, how would you like these things to change?

How will the roles mentioned above shift in retirement? What roles will you relinquish in retirement? What new roles will you acquire? How will your environment change?

How will your relationships change?

How will your routines change?

What assumptions do you have about retirement? Do these assumptions affect you in a positive or negative way?

Spend time thinking about your new retirement. As the boomer generation reinvents retirement, they need to spend time thinking about life as an aging adult.


About Cathy Severson

Cathy Severson helps baby boomers find more meaning and purpose in their lives and work. Get your copy of her complimentary e-book Guide to Retirement Activities a comprehensive look at work, volunteering and leisure based on an individuals’ personalities. Call for a complimentary 20-minute consultation to answer your most pressing concern. 928.775.4949 or email Cathy at

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