Change is the new (normal) retirement

I recently worked with a group where every one of the participants complained about being exhausted by the constant barrage of change that has become the new ‘normal’ in their workplaces. They felt overwhelmed by the number, scope and frequency of changes that were being imposed on them and wanted relief from the stress that all that change brings.

If this sounds familiar and you’re of a certain age, retirement may seem like an obvious way out. We’ve all heard people (or maybe you are the one) talking about how great it will be when we are done with work and can just chill and relax. No more worries. Change, and the stress that comes with it, will be a thing of the past.

SPOILER ALERT – change is the new normal in retirement as well! As a recent retiree and retirement coach, I’m learning that you will probably experience more change in this last third of your life than at any other time. Or at least you will experience it in a denser cluster. You’re going to have to deal with a host of changes that touch every aspect of your life immediately upon leaving the workforce and then a steady stream once you’ve retired.

And just like all of the changes you’ve experienced in the workplace, the key to success in retirement will be to have a comprehensive plan to manage that change.

In his book What Color is Your Retirement, Richard P. Johnson, PhD, says the happiest retirees have developed a plan to replace the five main benefits that work provides: a pay cheque, opportunities to connect and socialize with others, a sense of identity/purpose, and structure and meaning to your day.

If you’re like many Canadians, you have a financial plan to replace your pay cheque but you probably haven’t addressed the other aspects of life fulfilled by your work. Like any other stage of life, retirement is nuanced, complex and full of opportunities. The less preparation you do prior to retirement, the more adjustments you are going to have to make when you leave the workforce.

The good news is you always have choices, and you can often control the pace and how those changes will be implemented. And fortunately, you’ll be able to draw on some of those coping skills that you developed dealing with all that workplace change!

Taking the time to plan for all aspects of your retirement can mean the difference between an easy or stressful transition from the workforce. How smooth will your transition be? If you’re looking for some help, check out these free resources.



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