8 Tips to Phase into Your Retirement Life

Author: Mark Danaher

8 Tips to Phase into Your Retirement Life


It is important to plan carefully for your life after retirement. Planning to leave your career of many years can be quite daunting and challenging. It is important to determine just when you want to leave your current career. The toughest part of any “retirement” is when to make the move. This does not happen overnight, but requires careful planning and thought as you begin the process. Making a plan for your first couple years of retirement is essential.

Some advance planning will help immeasurably in making this transition easier and smoother. You need to retire when it is right for you. Here are eight tips to help you successfully phase into your retirement life.

1.  Do Your Research – Talk to human resources and see if they have a phase-out option where you can begin to work part time or shorter hours as you segue into retirement. Reflect on what you like and don’t like about your current career. Are there skills or activities that you want to continue as you head into your retirement years?  Brainstorm a list of activities and tasks you can do well that will benefit both you and the company. Think about how you can design your job to fit your needs, but also show the company that you will be productive and effective as a part-time employee. 

2.  Be Adaptable – You never know what may happen or what opportunity may present itself. Keep your options open as the company or someone in your network may give you a different view and possibility. Career theorist John Krumboltz’s Planned Happenstance focuses on unplanned events that can lead to better career opportunities. You need to be ready with your plan, but you also need to be ready for luck and happenstance around your transition.  You never know where the next opportunity may come from.

3.  Be Active – No matter what your age, you need to be active and to take care of yourself. As you age, you should be making this a priority in your life. Simple things can lead to great benefits. Schedule a daily walk for 30 minutes, go to the gym, or practice mindfulness during the day.  There are many things we can do to keep ourselves in shape physically and mentally. An active lifestyle is vital to leading a healthy and productive life as your move in your next chapter.

4.  Understand the Process – Each of us will experience different emotions as we retire from our career. There will be a wave of emotions and feelings from the days leading up to retirement to a couple of years after that day. Adjusting to your new daily routines, roles and relationships takes time in this new phase. Reflect and think about what you want in retirement. Be patient as it takes time to adjust and carry out plan in your new life.

5.  Review Your Passions – In your current work, you have a purpose and passion in life around our career. As you begin to phase out of this role, what do you want to do? Think about those dreams you had. Are there one or two things you have always wanted to do? Challenge yourself to try something new and move out of your comfort zone. What can you do in your time to ignite the dreamer in you to explore and see what happens in your next adventure.

6.  Examine Your Financials –Take a look at your money situation. Are you financially stable and able to work part-time? Can you retire full time and volunteer? Reduce your spending to your retirement level income for 6 months before you decide to phase into part-time or full-time retirement. This way you get a good view of how the reduction in money will affect you each and every day. Make adjustments in your plan based on this experience. These six months will give you the ability and confidence to handle the adjustment to move into your next phase of life.

7.  Leave Your Employer on a Positive Note – Stay a productive worker up through your entire career. It is important to be effective and not talk about anyone in the company or the company itself in a negative way. You never know whether this network of colleagues may play another role in your life or one of your family members’ lives.

8.  Have a Plan – Consider how you are going to live in the next phase of your life. Sitting on the couch every day gets very boring fast. Consider all aspects of your life from your daily routine and activities to your networks and relationships. Putting together a life plan can be one of the best investments you can make.   Planning goes a long way to keeping you engaged and happy in retirement.

Balancing volunteering, work, activities and travel in the next phase of your life is important. We are all unique individuals who will go through the retirement phase a bit differently. The important part is to plan and reflect on what you want and to be ready for those unexpected opportunities and challenges.

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