What To Expect When You Retire? A Helpful Guide

Are you getting close to retirement and curious about what to expect when you retire? I’m here to help out and tell you all about the important things you’ll come across when you retire. 

You can expect more leisure time, fewer obligations, and less stress in retirement. And you spend your working hours on new activities, relationships, and relaxation. Also, you will go through a mental process that is called the five stages of retirement. This process is different per individual.

Are you ready to learn more about what to expect when you retire? Let’s dig in and learn more about how you can prepare for your retirement and ideas on how to celebrate your retirement. And of course, what you can do to get the most out of your retirement! 

What To Expect When You Retire

You’re getting close to one of the most important things one’s life, after let’s say a career of +30 years, you can finally see that finish line called retirement ahead. There are a lot of things coming your way in this period, which can be overwhelming. But don’t get stressed about it, let’s see retirement as your new job, your new project that you take on for years. 

It doesn’t matter what your job position was, whether you were a police officer, a teacher, ceo, entrepreneur, or something else. When you retire, you become a retiree. It might sound scary at first, but believe me, it is awesome! 

How do I know? I’m kind of an early retiree myself, I quit my job. I started traveling around the world with my boyfriend, enjoying life to the fullest. Also, I observed many retirees over the years. I love to share this information with you, so you can prepare, celebrate, and enjoy your retirement in the best way possible. 

Life Towards Your Retirement

Retirement is a completely new phase in life, and to enjoy this time in the best way possible preparation is key. Many people start preparing financially for their retirement years before their actual retirement date. This is important because, without a good financial savings plan, you won’t be able to enjoy your retirement in the best way possible. When you haven’t started saving for your retirement, it is advisable to get some professional financial advice. 

Thinking about how your life is going to be when you’re retired is equally as important as having your finances in order. I always say that you need to have something to retire to. Making plans for your retirement, thinking of what you’re going to do in your retired life, creates a purpose. It helps you to make the most of your retirement and enjoy your life in the best way possible.  

Where a retired life is different for everyone, it is good to know that the period that builds up towards retirement, and the stages people experience once retired are quite similar. This makes it easier to prepare yourself for what to expect when you retire. 

In the next part of this article, I’ll share more in-depth information, and sometimes I’ll recommend a different article on this website, where you can find more helpful information. 

The Stages Of Retirement

When you’re finally retired, the most important thing is to get comfortable within your new lifestyle. You don’t need to go to work anymore, and you can fill in your days in a different way. It is a new situation, and for many people, this can be a big transition

Luckily the stages almost everyone goes through in their retirement are quite similar; 

  • Pre-retirement: You’re planning your retirement while working. But retirement is coming near.
  • Honeymoon: Your last day at the office and first weeks in retirement where you enjoy your new-found freedom. 
  • Disenchantment: Just like a wedding: the emotional high has worn off, and reality sinks in. Is this it?
  • Reorientation: You’re re-inventing yourself again in retirement.
  • Stability: You have found your new identity and are comfortable in retirement. You’re living and enjoying your retirement. 

The length of each phase in retirement is different for each individual. However, these phases mustn’t take to long. The longer it takes to reach the stability phase, the more difficult it will be to enjoy your retirement in the best way possible. Don’t worry, you don’t need to go through this transition process in a matter of days. Sometimes it can take months until you get through all these phases. But knowing this schedule helps you prepare and thus enjoy your retirement. 

To retire successfully and find happiness is where you need to replace your work routines with new routines. And that you are comfortable with your new identity in life. The loss of structure, routines, purpose, daily social stimulation and identity are what a lot of newly retirees struggle with. But you can be ahead of that by preparing yourself mentally in the best way possible. And read my helpful and in-depth article: How To Mentally Prepare For Retirement: 21 Tips

How To Prepare For Your Retirement

I already mentioned it a few times, preparing for your retirement is essential. And not only financially. If you never prepared financially for your retirement, it is time to go to a financial advisor and learn more about your finances. 

I’m not a financial advisor, but I have some basic experiences in finance. If you get my ebook Five Steps To Happiness In RetirementI’ll explain more about how to financially prepare.

Life After Retirement

When you’re preparing for retirement, you’re not only preparing financially. Preparing for the things you’re going to do in your retirement life is just as important. 

Remember, number 4 and 5 in the stages of retirement? Knowing what you want your life to look like after retirement helps you reach these stages quickly after you’re retired. It gives you a new purpose as a retiree. But don’t take this process too lightly, it can be a challenging and sometimes overwhelming transition. But with the tips you can find on this website, things get a bit easier. Also, in this article, I’ll explain more about how to find fulfillment in retirement. But first, let’s look at another aspect you can expect when you retiring, the retirement party. 

Planning A Retirement Party

When you officially announced your retirement, it might be time to start planning your retirement party. 

Officially announcing your retirement is another important step that I don’t completely cover in this article. When you’re interested in more information about how to announce your retirement, I recommend reading the step-by-step guide How To Announce Your Retirementthat I wrote. 

A retirement party is not for everyone. Some people just want to retire without having a big party. And that’s okay! It is your retirement, so you can decide how and if you celebrate that moment. However, when you do want to plan a retirement party, there are a lot of things you need to think of. The process of planning a retirement party can be overwhelming, so sometimes it is helpful to ask a friend or colleague to help you organize the party. And if your budget allows it, you can even hire a professional party planner.

When you plan a retirement party some basic things you need to keep in mind are; 

Sometimes your employer can help you organize your retirement party. Some employers even have a budget for employees who are celebrating their retirement. So make sure to ask for that when you start planning your retirement party! 

You can find out more information on the ‘celebrate page,’ where you’ll find all the articles related to celebrating your retirement.

Have Something To Retire To

We covered a lot of information about the things you can expect when you retire. I feel that one of the most important things is to prepare for your life after retirement. You need to have something to retire to. 

Having a purpose in retirement helps you making the most out of your retirement. It creates fulfillment. But like I said, the transition process from working life to being a retiree can be overwhelming and difficult. Luckily you’re not the only one that’s experiencing this process, so there are a lot of tools that can help you get the most out of your retirement! 

You might not be used to answering the question, ‘What do I really want to do in life?’ Or maybe you have already answered that question and created a complete retirement bucket list. Both situations are okay. Planning for your retirement is an individual process, so the things you can expect towards your retirement are also personal. 

Either way, if you don’t have any idea how your retirement life is going to look like, it might be helpful to first find your passion. A delicate and sometimes scary process when you’re not used to it. But when you get out of your comfort zone, you’ll grow as a person and experience the best things in life. 

When you try to find your passion you can ask yourself questions like; 

  • What are the things that excite me?
  • What is a topic that I can read 500 books about?
  • What is a stress reliever for me?
  • What is it I love to do without getting tired?

If you find it difficult to ask yourself these questions, I recommend reading my article 14 Tips For How To Find Your Passion in Retirement.

A Purpose Leads To Fulfillment 

When you find your purpose in retirement, it gets much easier to fill in how your life in retirement is going to look like. If you know what you love doing most, and you can do that, you automatically reach fulfillment in your life. 

I wrote a helpful article about How to find fulfillment in retirement. In this article I also explain the meaning of fulfillment; 

“Fulfillment is a feeling of happiness and satisfaction. It’s also the completion of something, like the fulfillment of a promise.”

Even when you found your passion and fulfillment, you still can expect some periods of boredom or loneliness when you’re retired. It is important to know it’s fine having those feelings. However, when you feel you’re developing severe (mental) issues, I recommend contacting a professional doctor who might be able to help you. 

If you just experience a few moments of boredom, don’t worry! You have a lot more time since your retired, so it is only natural that sometimes you don’t know what to do with your spare time. I would recommend to also enjoy the moments where you do nothing. Maybe you can go outside and go for a walk, or just sit and relax, or read a book. 

Retirement is not about achieving goal after goal or reaching those targets like when you were still working. Retirement is all about doing what you love to do most and having the best time of your life. And if you still get bored and not knowing what to do? Read my article; 25 Great Things To Do When You’re Retired And Bored.

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Kirsten Veldman

Since 2017, my husband and I have been location-independent retirees. With hundreds of articles written, I'm passionate about helping other retirees!

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