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The Transition From Midlife to Later Life - How Our Perspectives Change in Retirement

When your retirement day finally comes, you may be surprised how different it is than you imagined. While you may dream of exotic travel, golf every day, or an obligation-free life, the reality may not be what you hoped for.

Retirement can happen for many reasons, sometimes without warning. You could decide to retire early or otherwise set the date on your own terms. Maybe you quit because you are tired, burned out, or just done with working. Or it’s possible your career moves past you, or you become “redundant” like so many others during the pandemic.

How Will You React to Retirement?

For some, the unexpected change of retirement can be a huge challenge. For others, it’s like water off a duck’s back. Either way, there are no guarantees. There is no clear transition from mid to later life and you’re in control—so why not build the retirement lifestyle you always dreamed of! 

Updating Your Perspective On Life

The stereotype of the grumpy old grandpa is just that—a stereotype. There’s evidence that our perspectives change from middle to later years, in a positive way. In our later years, it’s easier to be happier and care less about what others think. Things that seemed of grave importance yesterday suddenly seem trivial today, and vice versa. For example:

  • When we’re working on building our careers and family, it’s easy to develop a “more is better” mindset. More cars, a higher salary, a bigger house, more extracurricular activities for the kids. In retirement, you may find yourself shifting to “enough is enough” or even “less is more”. Along these same lines, inner work may become more important than praise or external recognition for accomplishments. 
  • In work life, we’re encouraged to appear confident and knowledgeable at all times. In retirement, it becomes okay to show humility and not have all the answers. You’re allowed to release control, let go, and embrace the ambiguity of life.
  • When we’re in middle life we may worry about growing older. We cringe at gray hairs popping up or an “over the hill” birthday card. Society teaches us to feel negative and fearful about old age. But once you are there, you know that retirement can be anything and age is just a number. 
  • Many of us go through our younger and middle lives with no safety net for health care or financial emergencies. In later life, though, you may put more emphasis on being prepared (and having Medicare and/or long-term care insurance to cover you).
  • We release the pressure of full-time parenting. One of the best things about being a grandparent is you get to enjoy all the fun parts of children—the games, snacks, and sleepovers—without the long nights and added stress.
  • Instead of worrying about the future, there is more focus on the present. As we become aware of our mortality, it’s easy to develop an appreciation of even the most simple things in life. 

These are just some of the ways your perspective might begin to shift as you age. Retirement is a journey, and the journey is different for everyone. This phase in life is a chance to reinvent yourself, update your perspective on life, and avoid the pitfalls (and the big B—boredom).

Updating Your View On Retirement (and Planning Ahead for It)

This is not your grandmother’s retirement—so get rid of any outdated thoughts you might have right now! People are living longer and enjoying healthier, and more productive retirement years. They’re aging in place in their own homes or flocking to vibrant 55+ communities. They’re retiring abroad and striking up “encore careers”. Instead of thinking of retirement as something to save for—consider it a phase of life to thrive in.

When asked, “What are your goals for retirement?” most people say they want to be happy, healthy, and financially secure as long as possible. But how? What can you do to maximize your chances to retire successfully?

The answer is planning. If you want things to turn out a certain way, you have to plan to make it happen. Your choices now will set you up for success down the road. Financial planning with a fiduciary advisor will help you maximize your next thirty years by focusing on your vision, goals, and expectations. They’ll help you:

  • Create a plan that’s based on your values
  • Reduce fees and expenses
  • Minimize your tax burden
  • Develop an investment strategy that sticks
  • Budget realistically for the future
  • Retire joyfully and comfortably

In short, your financial advisor is there to help you get retirement-ready, no matter what stage of life you’re in now. At Wealth Legacy Institute, we take a holistic approach to financial planning, aligning your personal and lifestyle goals with your financial goals, so you can retire happy, healthy, and free.

How ready are you to retire?  Take this 3-minute readiness quiz to find out! 

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