Mindset — The Most Important Part of Retirement Planning
We help clients move from the work phase of their life to the retirement phase daily. And while just about everyone worries about “Will I have enough money?” the most important part of the transition actually takes place in their heads. A retirement mindset is the start of the retirement process and the key to successfully making the change. If you’re starting to realize that retirement is going to be your next life phase, let me give you some suggestions for managing your mindset into retirement. These ideas come from the book “Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes” by William Bridges. (This book was written in 1979 and is still the best book on handling life changes that I’ve read.) Here are the main points Bridges makes:
- Change is inevitable so best be prepared to deal with it (not a new idea, obviously; Heraclitus the Greek philosopher who lived approximately in 500 B.C. was one of the first to comment on the inevitability of change).
- It’s not the change itself that’s hard, it’s the transition.
- There are three distinct phases of change: leaving the old, transition from the old to the new, new reality.
- The best way to get through a transition is to have a clear and vivid picture of the new reality that draws you forward.
In order to transition into the retirement phase of your life, you must have a mindset that takes into account these four principles. That is:
- Understand that, unless you plan to work until you die, you will have to change your life.
- Once you accept that retirement will happen, there are three distinct phases; best to plan for them.
- Create a clear and vivid image of what retirement will look like for you to help draw you forward into the new phase.
If you start with a positive, optimistic mindset, you can successfully make the transition to retirement. But it all starts with the space between your ears — your mindset.