Almost all the advice appearing in these columns deals with those at the beginning of their careers or those trying to progress. However, there are quite a few who will be nearing retirement and this is especially for them.
Ideally, we should start to plan for this important transition as early as possible but are too busy trying to build a career, manage a family, and cope with ever-increasing expenses. There are financial considerations and emotional ones as well and both can be fairly traumatic. I am not qualified to talk about the financial aspect so I will focus on the latter.
First of all, you need to remember that you are retiring from work, not from life. If you have played your cards well, you will actually be looking forward to this new phase of your life where you will have all the time to do what you had always wanted to.
It is the ‘looking forward’ that gets us up and about in the mornings and makes for satisfaction at bedtime. I have met too many people who think that being retired (or a pensioner) automatically puts them at the mercy of society or the system, while only a few appear to thrive in retirement.
You should consult your HR department as well as senior colleagues, who have retired before you, to work out a transition plan. Some companies offer psychological and financial counseling to the employee (as well as the spouse) to deal with the new phase of life. But, seriously, start thinking about retirement in your early forties; fifty and over is a bit late.
Many people find great reward in doing charitable works where they can leverage their time and expertise. Some go and teach while others join boards of directors. You could also take up a new skill, write a book or try and figure out the joys of the internet. Whatever your choice, find your purpose to ensure a fulfilling life after retirement.