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Article No.: 1901, January 1, 2019

Article Title: Planning for the Next Phase: Retirement

Author: Linda Gravett, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, CEQC

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Perhaps you’re thinking of 2019 workshops for associates at your organization, or planning ahead for yourself in terms of the next phase of your career.  The fact is that all of us come to a point at some time where we need to plan transitioning from a full-time position to some form ofDr. Linda Gravett photo retirement.  The focus is often on the financial aspects, which are of course very important.  In this article, though, I want to address retirement plans that don’t focus on money – the psychological aspects of this new phase of our lives.

Even if retirement is a few years out, start reflecting on what you want your retirement years to feel like…to look like.  Is travel a goal?  Spending time on experiences with grandchildren?  Hitting the golf course three times a week?  You may be thinking, “I don’t have any grandchildren” or “I don’t have any hobbies.”  The grandchildren aspect is out of your control; however, now is a good time to start developing interests outside of work.  I recently began to learn how to paint just to see if I had any interest or talent in this pursuit.  I found out that 1) I really enjoy painting and 2) I have a small amount of skill!  I won’t spend all of my time painting over the next several years, yet this is one way to while away some pleasant hours.

As you’re setting goals, consider your values first and foremost.  Ask yourself what’s important for you, your family, and your close circle of friends.  This could lead to volunteer work with specific organizations or even supporting political causes.

Next, reflect on what brings you joy.  If music provides fulfillment, perhaps there’s an opening in your church choir or band, or you could start saving for a piano.  One of my friends learned to play the banjo a couple of years before he retired, and he has become quite good with an instrument many find difficult to play.

Not everyone enjoys being busy all the time, especially if their career has kept them on the road or spending long hours at the office.  Leisurely days may be very appealing, in moderation.  A pool or patio may be your choice, and this could be where your budget is allocated.

Many people I’ve known have retired, then looked around for people to spend time with.  If they haven’t been building relationships over the years, there may be a scarcity of “play buddies.”  Consider now whether you’re building and maintaining friendships and family relationships so there are people you can call for anything from a shopping trip to a cruise in years to come.

A large decision will be where you want to live.  The thought of nestling into your existing home may appeal, or perhaps you’ve yearned to live full-time in one of your favorite vacation spots from over the years.  Start now in exploring areas where you’ll have more free time to visit and you’ll likely find a place or two that warrant more time in the future.  Also consider how easy or challenging it will be for family and friends to get to your new destination.

This final consideration is difficult for most to give thought to, and that’s the legacy you want to leave.  Do you want to provide an inheritance or donation to a beloved cause?  Would you prefer to leave the money while you’re still alive or provide it in your will and trust?  A financial planner is a good choice for help with this discussion because it’s an emotional one, and objectivity is important.

Best wishes for a fulfilling and Happy New Year!

If you have any questions or need more information about this article, please contact Dr. Gravett by email at

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