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Better Living Tips

Retirement planning is more than finances

Many people look forward to enjoying their retirement, and they know they need to be proactive in their financial planning in order to maintain their standard of living. However, HUBBA Lab Manager Carmen Ng says that actually many people underestimate the physical and psychological impacts of retirement that go beyond financial considerations.

Retirement brings many changes, and people generally find that the reality is 30 percent lower than what they expected. When suddenly faced with extra hours each day, a lot of retirees feel empty and overwhelmed. They may also have difficulties letting go of their former working roles, and may need to readjust their communication patterns when at home, taking part in activities, or meeting new friends. This is more obvious for people who formerly were managers; but regardless of your previous job, it’s best to start planning and adjusting your mindset a few years before you actually retire.

Cycle of adapting to retirement
  • Honeymoon phase: Retirees enjoy having so much free time and the chance to realise some long-awaited short term goals, such as travelling.
  • Awareness phase: Having achieved short-term goals, they now begin to face having a lot of free time every day. They could feel depressed and lost, so it’s best to now establish new life goals.
  • Reorientation phase: They should execute new goals (eg. a second career, study or volunteer work); plan and use time wisely; and start anew to get back into life.
  • Stability phase: This is when they can enjoy a full and structured lifestyle.

People who are near retirement age may take a step-by-step approach to retirement. For example, they can go part-time for a year or two before retiring altogether. This can reduce the feeling of suddenly having a lot of extra time, and will allow them and those close to them to slowly adapt to the changes.

Retirement is not an individual affair; family members are often the most affected. Therefore, Carmen suggests that it’s best to first come to a mutual agreement about future expectations and living arrangements. Let’s listen as some retirees share their transitional experiences.