Do You Know the 6 Phases of Retirement?


Retirement has, in recent years, begun to take on new meanings. These days, it’s not uncommon for retirees to enjoy two or even three decades of retirement, with life expectancy running longer and many people retiring early thanks to careful planning.

While it would be great to imagine retirement as one long, pleasant period, the reality is that you should prepare for six distinct phases of retirement during the early years. Each serves a purpose and makes way for the next phase.

Though some stages last longer than others, all are vital to a relaxed and well-funded retirement. The six phases generally carry you through to mid-retirement, when you remain active but travel less, and late retirement, when you need greater assistance. As you plan for retirement, keep these six phases in mind.

Stage One: Pre-Retirement

You should enter this phase five to 10 years before you actually retire. Your challenge is to decide what retirement will look like for you. You may want to talk to some retired friends about their lives and write down some goals. What will your day-to-day life look like? What do you want out of your golden years?

Stage Two: Retirement

Removing yourself from the workforce is a big adjustment, even if you continue with part-time work. The emotional transition can prove challenging as well. Going from interacting with people at work daily to being at home can be difficult. Make sure to have a plan for your financial and mental health. And have an idea of your budget and how much you can spend on fun pursuits, such as travel.

Stage Three: The “Honeymoon Phase”

This is also often referred to as “contentment.” Once the retiree has gotten used to the daily routine and begun to settle in, they may reach a state of happiness. They get used to the new status quo and enjoy the many good parts of retirement.

Stage Four: Disenchantment

The honeymoon has to end sometime. After the newness and wonder of retirement wear off, you may find yourself restless and feeling lonelier or perhaps even wondering what your purpose is. Getting involved with something new, such as volunteering, may help you ease those blues.

Stage Five: Rebooting

You have reached the stage where you can reorient your new identity. It’s time to determine your place in the world and reimagine yourself outside of work. You have decades to hone your interests and focus.

Stage Six: Settling Down

Getting into a routine can help you feel more comfortable in your new situation and give you a structure to your day that you will appreciate the older you get. The “new normal” becomes more normal every day. Once you adjust to your new life, you can also determine what’s working for you and what isn’t — and this may be a good time to discuss that with your planner.


You may realize you didn’t save enough for retirement, or your long-term costs may be headed higher than you expected. It’s not too late to change your strategy, and Jay is available to discuss your needs as you go through the many phases of retirement. Remember, above all, you should enjoy retirement. Adjusting to it is part of the fun.


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