Retirement is a dramatic life change, whether you have been looking forward to it for decades or dread leaving your job, you need to plan for it both financially and emotionally. Financial planning has very straightforward steps, but emotional planning is a little more complicated and less often discussed.

Goals and Activities

It is likely that for most of your life your identity and goals have been wrapped up in your career. It can feel like a significant loss when you no longer have that career. You can plan ahead to develop goals and interests before you retire. You can join clubs, try out hobbies or research interests so you know what you might want to devote more time to once you are retired. You may also want to consider volunteering to see how you can be more involved in your community after you retire.

Social Life

In addition to goals and interests you may also want to think about your social circles. You may not have the same opportunities to interact with your coworkers that you once did. You may find retirement lonely without the everyday social interactions that happen naturally in the workplace. Again interests can help you in this area, a hobby club, volunteering, travel groups and religious organizations are all great places to meet new people. You may want to look for organizations that will expand you social circle beyond just other retired people. Intergenerational activities have many benefits for everyone involved.

Expectations

You need be aware that others may have expectations for your retirement. Talk to your spouse first to develop you plans and goals together so that you both know what you hope to do with your retirement. Talk to your children to find out what their expectations for your retirement are. Were they counting on you to provide free childcare or attend all of the grandkids basketball games? You may want to discuss these things before your time is spoken for.

Living

Where you will live during retirement is also another big consideration. Do you have a house or property that will become difficult to maintain as you age? Would your home hold you back from traveling or discovering other activities that you enjoy? Are you tired of weather that is too hot or too cold? There are many details to consider as you decide where you want to live when you retire. You may want to downsize, move to a dream location or closer to family. Think about the long term and what you want as you get older. Talk about these wishes with your family and what you hope for when you are no longer able to provide your own care.

Golden Years

According to statistics from the Social Security Administration cited by Forbes, people who are alive at 66 years have an average life expectancy of 84.6. Most people could have a 20 year retirement. These are referred to as the golden years for a reason! The more you plan and prepare for these years the more golden they are likely to be.

The key to enjoying your retirement and to enjoying good mental and physical health is to stay active and involved. Whether you get together with friends to play cards, volunteer at a school or travel internationally. Pursuing old interests and discovering new ones will keep you feeling young and help you enjoy every minute of retirement. Don’t forget the importance of social circles. Spend time with family, join a dinner club or go to an aerobics class at the gym. Every time you go out is an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. You may even find time to reconnect with old friends.

As you look forward to your retirement and find new freedoms, it is also ok to mourn your career. Working was a big part of your life for a long time and you may feel sad when it is time to leave. Plan for time to grieve leaving work, but also plan things to look forward to. When you are emotionally and financially ready your golden years will shine!