When most people think of preparing for retirement, they think of the financial aspects of retirement since it can take significant resources and capital in order to maintain your desired quality of life during your golden years. However, finances are just a part of being ready for retirement. There are emotional and psychological factors that can affect the quality of your retirement experience that you should be aware of.

Financial advisors vs. sociologists

Financial advisors and sociologists tend to differ in how they view retirement. The prior will look at retirement in three phases. The first phase, which tends to be more expensive, is an active phase where retirees may be doing activities that they never had time to do during their working years. Then, the retiree will begin to settle down in the second phase which results in decreased expenses. Finally, in the third phase, expenses pick up again due to health issues related to aging.

Sociologists, on the other hand, look at retirement more comprehensively and holistically. In the 1970s, Robert Atchley, a well-known sociologist divided retirement into six phases: pre-retirement, retirement, contentment, disenchantment, reorientation, and routine.


During this first phase people start to think about financially preparing for when they eventually retire. A financial advisor can help you formulate a strategy to ensure an acceptable quality of life during the years you stop working.


When you go from working full-time to official retirement is the second phase. You may still work part-time if you need to supplement your retirement income.


This phase is when you actually begin to enjoy your golden years and the payoff of all of your years of working. If your finances are solid, this honeymoon period can endure for a significant amount of time.


After a while, many retirees will start to feel disenchanted with retired life, even if their financial position is strong. They may experience such feelings as loneliness and disillusionment. It is not uncommon during this phase that you will feel like you are useless.


Eventually, you may move beyond the disenchantment phase and begin rediscovering yourself and start to come to terms with who you are as a retiree. This can be difficult if you had strongly identified with your career and job title prior to retiring.


This final phase of retirement is when you will start accepting your retired lifestyle while new daily routines are formed. Hopefully, this will be when you feel a new sense of purpose and start enjoying your golden years again.

Creating a comprehensive retirement plan

As you can see, retirement is about more than just making sure you have enough money to live well. You will want to take a more holistic approach to retirement planning and also consider what type of activities you will want to engage in to replace the time you usually spend working a job. This will assist you in minimizing boredom, disillusionment and loneliness that can commonly set in for retirees.

The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice.