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How to Prepare Emotionally for Retirement

Whilst the majority of people can’t wait to retire and start taking it easy, a lot of people find that when it comes to retiring, it can actually be a lot more scary, intimidating and complicated than they once thought.

This leaves many people wondering how to prepare emotionally for retirement.

In this day and age, retiring before the age of 60 or 70 is not something everyone can afford to do.

In fact, for some people, they will never be able to afford to retire from work. How old you are when you retire depends on a number of different factors, and depends on your specific circumstances and financial situation.

People who work hard for their entire lives might be counting down the days until they can retire. Afterall, they have earnt it.

Nevertheless, going from working five or more days a week for the majority of your life to retirement can be a huge shock, not only to the body but to the mind, too.

If you are considering retirement but feel anxious or worried about what your retirement might look like, then you are not alone.

In fact, it is normal for people to feel fearful, resentment, confused, nervous or sad when it comes to your retirement.

It is important to remember that if you are feeling any one of the above things, then you are not alone. If you are wondering how to prepare emotionally for retirement, then read the below information.

Please call our 24-Hour Helpline: 0330 058 1579

Why am I scared of retiring?

There are many different reasons why someone might feel scared or anxious when it comes to retirement. In fact, some people allow this fear to take over and choose to never retire from their job.

Some people choose to stay in their current job, whilst others choose to only work part time throughout their retirement.

Quite clearly, if you cannot afford to retire then you will only naturally feel scared and anxious about what your retirement might look like, and for this reason staying in work might be the best and most sensible decision.

1. Financial worry and concern

If you are likely to struggle financially when it comes to your retirement, then it is only natural that you would feel worried or scared.

Whilst everyone gains access to their state pension (if you live in the UK) this might not be enough to live off of in the current financial climate. In fact, lots of pensioners are living in poverty.

Lots of people wonder how much money they need to retire, and struggle to reach a point and number at which they are happy to retire on.

If you do choose to retire, you will have to rely on your private pension, any stocks or shares you might have, selling assets or drawing down from your savings pot to see you through your retirement.

Studies have shown that people feel particularly stressed about their finances when they have a dramatic change to their cash flow.

Unfortunately, when it comes to retirement most people’s income and cash flow completely stops, which has a huge impact on their mental health [1].

2. Your status

In addition to financial worry, many people who are considering retirement worry about their status in retirement.

This is particularly true and difficult if you have had a very demanding job throughout your life, or have been in a management role or position within a company.

For example, someone who has been a business owner their entire life, or has been a Managing Director or COO of a company might struggle to step down from their high flying career to become a retiree.

It is only natural to feel worried about how you might cope without that level of respect from your employees every day.

3. A change to your routine

Some people who are looking to retire from their careers might feel anxious about what their day to day might look like.

For many people who go on to retire, they really struggle with the lack of routine and structure in their day to day.

For most people who have worked their entire life, the idea of living without routine and structure might seem too overwhelming.

This is the reason why a lot of people who retire tend to pick up new routines, hobbies and habits when they enter retirement.

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4. A change of relationships

People who retire might struggle from a change to their day to day relationships. For example, they are no longer spending time with people at work who they used to spend every day (Monday – Friday) with.

However, on top of this, you will now be spending more time with people who you used to spend only a little bit of time with every day.

For example, you will now be forced to stay at home more often and will have to spend time with loved ones more often.

This will include your partner, your children, your grandchildren or close friends. For some people who have had particularly challenging and demanding careers, this can be a huge change and can come with its own problems.

5. A lack of purpose

Lots of people who retire from a career might struggle with a lack of purpose. Lots of people, particularly at the end of their career, get a lot of happiness and satisfaction from their ability to help their company grow and thrive.

Going from this to retirement can often leave people feeling like they no longer have a purpose.

6. A sense of finality

When you approach retirement, you might start to feel anxious or scared about the sense of finality that comes with retiring. In this sense, retirement is a sign that you are getting older and that you are slowing down for the rest of your life.

However, lots of people find that when it comes to their retirement, they often find that they have a new lease of life.

It is only natural to feel anxious about slowing down, but there are a number of ways you can ensure that you are keeping yourself happy, healthy and busy throughout your retirement.

Please call our 24-Hour Helpline: 0330 058 1579

What are the 5 stages of retirement?

As with most things, there’s a process involved when it comes to retiring. Lots of people think of retirement as a one off thing, which you will either feel happy or sad about on the day of retirement.

However, this is not the case. In fact, there is a process when it comes to retirement. There are actually five different stages of emotions when it comes to retirement, which are all listed below.

1. Anticipation

The first stage of retirement is said to be the anticipation stage. This stage involves feeling anxious, excited, worried or scared about retirement.

During this stage, you will also be preparing for your retirement. For this reason, this is often known as the pre-retirement and planning stage.

Most people start to feel anticipation towards the idea of retirement anything between 5 and 10 years prior to actually retiring. Most people see pre-retirement planning as solely a financial activity. However, this should not be the only way you plan for your retirement.

At this stage of retirement, you should take time to figure out how you want to spend your retirement and what hobbies and activities you want to spend your time doing.

Essentially, you should be starting to think about what your life in retirement might look like.

2. Liberation

The next stage of retirement is known as liberation. This is also known as the honeymoon stage of retirement, where people start to idealise what their retirement might look like.

This is when you realise that you are now, or will soon be free of the grind and nine to five, and will be able to spend your time however you want. For lots of people, this can feel extremely liberating.

For some people, this stage doesn’t last long, as it is easy for a lot of people to start to feel anxious about the idea of having so much time on their hands.

3. Reorientation

A lot of people who do retire enter a stage of reorientation. This is where you make changes to your lifestyle to suit your retirement.

Some of these changes might be what you expected and others might be a complete shock to you and to those around you.

You might find that retirement is exactly what you thought it would be. Alternatively, you might find that it is nothing like you expected it to be.

At this point you might need to do a lot of self reflection and time to reflect on what your retirement is going to look like.

4. Reconciliation

Reconciliation stage is the final stage of retirement and is where you find some form of stability, physically and emotionally. This stage is where you find some form of routine with your retirement and create yourself a new normal.

At this stage, you have completely accepted how you will be spending your time and feel a sense of peace and happiness in your day to day life.

It is important to recognise and understand the different stages of retirement, so that you acknowledge that you are likely to experience a range of emotions at different stages throughout your retirement and even the months leading up to your retirement, too.

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Top tips on how to prepare emotionally for retirement

It is only natural to feel anxious when it comes to your retirement, which is why we have compiled a list of ways on how to prepare emotionally for retirement.

1. Get your finances and money in order

If you are wondering how to prepare emotionally for retirement, then one of the most important things that you can do to prepare for your retirement is to get your finances in order.

This could mean different things depending on what type of savings or pension you might have.

For some people, this could mean that you have to collate your savings and pension funds into one. For others, this could mean getting in touch with HMRC to see what state pension you are entitled to.

You should also work hard to create a budget plan for yourself during your retirement.

If you have a lot of savings, then this could mean that you choose to invest your savings so that they bring you more returns and financial stability long term.

If you need more help and support when it comes to your finances throughout your retirement, then you should speak to HMRC or Citizens Advice.

Whilst preparing your finances for retirement might seem stressful in the short term, you will certainly help yourself in the long run.

If you are looking for more ways of supporting yourself and your family financially throughout your retirement, then you should consider taking out an equity release plan, which will allow you to gain access to the equity that has built up in your home.

You will be able to spend this money however you want, and can opt for it in one large lump sum, or through a number of smaller payments, known as a drawdown plan.

Although some people might not see financial certainty and organisation as something that is important to your mental health, knowing and understanding your financial situation going into retirement will save you a lot of emotional stress and turmoil.

2. Take part time retirement and wind down slowly

If you are wondering how to prepare emotionally for retirement, then you should consider retiring slowly.

Lots of people who are preparing themselves for retirement choose to wind down slowly in the months or even occasionally in the years before retiring.

This could potentially mean that you choose to work part time for a number of years or months before retiring. In fact, there are a number of part time jobs available to retirees.

Other people choose to take less projects at work, or draw clearer boundaries when it comes to the hours that they work or the number of meetings they attend.

This decision is all about drawing and creating boundaries, which can sometimes be difficult whilst you are still at full time employment.

3. Prepare for ups and downs

It is only natural to wonder how to prepare emotionally for retirement. It is also important to remember that your retirement will have ups and downs, like anything else.

Many people idealise their retirement, and do not remember that life continues whilst you are retired, which means that your life will still have all the same ups and downs as it did when you were working. It is important to take the good with the bad, and take everything as it comes.

4. Maintain a healthy and balanced diet

Most people think about maintaining a healthy social and love life when it comes to how to prepare emotionally for retirement.

However, in order to maintain a healthy mindset, even in your retirement, it is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

If you do not eat well, then you won’t be in the right mindset to keep up any hobbies or socialise with friends or family members.

It can sometimes be difficult to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle when you are retired, especially if you live alone.

Studies have shown that people who live alone in their old age often struggle to find the motivation to cook themselves three meals a day and even often revert to eating less nutritious food.

This is incredibly important to maintain as you get older, so that you are doing everything that you can to keep a healthy body and mind.

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5. Invest in a new pet

If you want help on how to prepare emotionally for retirement, then you should consider getting a pet. Lots of people who retire decide that they need to invest in a new pet to keep them company throughout their retirement.

This is often the case when someone lives alone, and can help individuals to feel motivated and needed throughout their retirement.

This could be investing in a dog, a cat, a hamster or simply a goldfish. Whatever pet you choose to go for, make sure that you are in a position financially to support that animal and all of its needs.

6. Create healthy habits and routines

If you want help on how to prepare emotionally for retirement, then it is important to create and maintain healthy habits and routines when you retire.

Studies have shown that creating and maintaining routine throughout your life says a lot about how happy and content you are.

You do not have to fill your time with hundreds of habits, and stick to each one like clockwork, but it is important that you maintain busy throughout your retirement. Not only will this create a healthy mindset, but it will also ensure that you are physically active.

The more you get out to participate in hobbies, the more likely it is that your body will remain fit and healthy, your mind will keep active. In addition to this, studies have also shown that things like your memory can be significantly improved if you keep your mind and body active and busy on a weekly basis.

Below are some popular and common ways people spend their time during their retirement.

  • Badminton
  • Going to the gym
  • Swimming
  • Playing darts
  • Walking groups
  • Hiking groups
  • Puzzle groups
  • Quiz groups
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Gardening
  • Arts and crafts
7. Make a list of everything that you want or hope to do

If you want help on how to prepare emotionally for retirement then getting organised might be the best place to start.

If you start to feel overwhelmed about everything that you want to do during your retirement, then it might actually help to make a list of things that you want to achieve during your retirement.

This could be down to the little things, such as start to walk the dog more, find some nice lunch spots or it could be chores such as paying more attention to the gardening.

Alternatively, this could be some big things such as booking a one in a lifetime trip or holiday. Whatever your ambitions are for your retirement, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when you haven’t written them down. You could even order them in terms of priority for you.

8. Keep in touch with old friends

If you want help on how to prepare emotionally for retirement, consider your closet network and support unit.

When people retire, lots of people fall into the trap of losing touch with old friends. That could be family friends or work mates.

However, cutting ties with old friends in your retirement won’t be good for your body, or your mind.

This is why it is incredibly important to keep in touch with friends throughout your life, particularly as you get older. You could ensure that you spend time with friends in your retirement by scheduling time to meet and get a coffee with them.

Alternatively, you could pick a day and meet up on a weekly basis to go for a walk or go round for a cup of tea.

You should also harness social media and technology as a way of keeping in touch with people. For example, you could Facetime friends who might not live far away, message them on Facebook or email them directly.

9. Look after your body and go to the GP if you have any concerns

If you want tips on how to prepare emotionally for retirement, then make sure that you prioritise your own health.

As you get older it is incredibly important that you prioritise your health. Whilst many people find it difficult to prioritise their health whilst they work, once you retire, you will have more time on your hands to exercise and cook the right food for you.

You should try to exercise more, and make it a part of your routine throughout your retirement. You could always opt to join a local health club or gym, or join your local running or walking group.

You should also keep an eye on your body, and look out for any major warning signs for any illnesses or diseases.

You should go to the doctors immediately if you are worried about any symptoms you might have, and should make an effort to get check ups from your local GP on a regular basis to make sure all is in order.

Please call our 24-Hour Helpline: 0330 058 1579

10. Pamper and treat yourself

If you are wondering how to prepare emotionally for retirement, you should remember to be kind to yourself. Afterall, you have gone through a significant life change, and it is only natural to feel emotional or anxious during this time.

This is why it is important to prioritise your mental health during this time, and pampering yourself is a great way to do this.

You could always book a spa day, book a round of golf or simply book yourself and your loved ones in for a nice meal at your favourite restaurant.

If money is tight, then you could always cook yourself a lovely meal at home or create a film night for you and your family.

11. Try meditation

Lots of people rack their brains on how to prepare emotionally for their retirement but would never consider something like meditation or mindfulness.

If you are feeling particularly anxious, sad or even depressed for a long period of time about your retirement, you should talk to a professional.

However, if you are only just starting to feel this way, then you could always try meditation as a way of overcoming any unwanted or negative emotions.

Meditation has helped millions of people across the world recover from mental health issues or unwanted, negative feelings and emotions. If done correctly, you will feel a sense of clarity and calmness.

In fact, numerous studies have now also shown that meditation has a particularly positive impact when it comes to helping older people throughout retirement [2].

There are plenty of online videos available to you which will provide you with guided meditations and advice on how to meditate properly.

12. Volunteer in your local community

Numerous studies have also shown that volunteering in your local community throughout your retirement will make you feel happier, less lonely and more fulfilled.

This could be anything from volunteering at your local church, your local school, your local community centre or litter pick.

Whatever you choose to volunteer with, you should try to make sure that you feel interested and somewhat passionate about what you are doing, otherwise you might not stick with it [3].

If you are worried about how to prepare emotionally for retirement, then start talking to people in your local community to see whether or not there are any local volunteering opportunities.

Please call our 24-Hour Helpline: 0330 058 1579

Speak to someone if you are worried about how to prepare emotionally for retirement

If you are worried about your mental health going into your retirement years and don’t know how to prepare emotionally for retirement, or are worried about someone else, then the best thing that you can do is to speak to someone for help and support.

There are a whole host of places you can turn to for emotional support, including your local GP. If turning to your local GP simply isn’t an option for you, then you could call any one of the following helplines for support on how to prepare emotionally for retirement.


Silverline provides you with free, confidential advice and guidance for older people who might need emotional support and advice. They provide conversation and friendship for anyone who is lonely or might need someone to confide in.

They provide entirely free support over the phone and are available 24/7. If you need help and support from Silverline on how to prepare emotionally for retirement, then call their free and confidential helpline on 0800 470 8090.

Age UK

Age UK is another entirely free and confidential support and helpline for anyone in later life who might need it. They provide people with advice on how to prepare emotionally for retirement, and will also provide you with financial advice.

You can call Age UK for free on 0800 678 1602.

Support Line

Support Line is another organisation who offer advice and support to those entering retirement.

Support Line focuses the majority of their efforts on the most vulnerable in our society, which includes older people who might be struggling emotionally, mentally, physically or financially. You can call them for free on 01708 765200.

How to prepare emotionally for retirement – consider equity release

At Equity Release Warehouse, we recommend that you ensure that your finances are in order before you choose to retire. Lots of people choose to do this by taking out an equity release plan with Equity Release Warehouse.

Equity release is a great option or anyone over the age of 65 years old who wants access to the equity that has built up in their home.

You have to own a property within the UK worth at least £75,000 and qualify for your lender’s equity release scheme.

The great thing about equity release is that you can use the money on whatever you want, whether that is paying off any bills, paying a loved one’s mortgage or University fees.

Alternatively, you might choose to spend the money on creating a better retirement for yourself and your partner.

The truth is that retiring can often have a positive impact on an individual’s mental health, as long as you successfully prepare yourself emotionally, mentally, physically and emotionally for your retirement.





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