Welcome to this first  module, focused on helping you to get ready for retirement either before it happens or immediately after it has happened

Tackle the module in bite size chunks, don’t feel the need to do everything in one go and allow plenty of time to digest and apply the information covered

The module includes helpful ‘Activities’ for you to complete, it is strongly recommended that you undertake them to get the most out of the content and the key learning points

Allow yourself time to reflect and take on board the advice, key messages and suggested tasks in the programme to enable you to move forward with your retirement

This module will enable you to

  • Quickly and easily access valuable and up to date advice, information and resources

  • Manage the significant change in your life to become successfully and happily retired

  • Reflect on your journey so far and what the next stage in your journey might look like

  • Appreciate and manage you personal transition during the move to becoming retired 

  • Ensure that your self-limiting beliefs are not a barrier to being successfully retired

  • Identify and understand your core values and their importance to your retirement

  • Outline the eight areas where your values, needs and wants may need to be considered and met to ensure you have a happy and fulfilling retirement  

This programme focuses on providing you with a framework and structure plus a set of tools and techniques to enable you to have an enjoyable and meaningful active retirement 

There are numerous excellent websites that provide all of the up to date support information and data about retirement that you may need

To make it quick and easy for you, some of the most helpful information websites are listed below and can also be downloaded with other useful websites by CLICKING HERE

http://www.agewatch.net

https://www.ageuk.org.uk

https://www.thechallengehub.org

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk

https://www.ageing-better.org.uk

https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk

https://www.carersuk.org

https://www.retirementlivingstandards.org.uk

https://www.yourpension.gov.uk

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk

Becoming retired is a big life change that (whether by choice or necessity) offers you

  • Lots of positive opportunities and options to enjoy and value

  • Some potential negatives and traps to be avoided or managed

There are three broad stages to managing any major change, including becoming retired

  • Endings – new circumstances frequently involve leaving other things behind

  • Acclimatising – sometimes it takes time to assimilate and get used to significant events

  • Beginnings – new situations often bring new and exciting choices and experiences

These three common stages of major change and how they relate to becoming successfully and happily retired can best be summarised as follows

Lets have a look at each of these three stages in a bit more detail

Endings

Retirement is a process of walking through a doorway into a new phase of your life

Walking through a doorway always, in some way or other, includes leaving things behind

Some of these things you’ll be glad to leave behind and some you’ll be sad to leave behind 

Either way, it is important and valuable to

  • Recognise and feel comfortable with what is ending, both positive and negative

  • Acknowledge and accept any ‘ending’ aspects that you may be ‘grieving’ about 

  • Honour and respect the past and ‘mark’ the ‘endings’ in a suitable way

  • Identify, retain and take forward any useful learning from what is ending

Acclimatising

During major change you don’t suddenly go from ‘what was’ to ‘what is to be’ in one step

Change isn’t an on/off light switch, there is an in-between ‘acclimatising’ stage where you're

  • In the process of letting go of your ‘endings’

  • Grappling with what the ‘beginnings’ will be

It is possible at this stage that you have feelings of ambivalence and ambiguity about

  • How you will transition yourself to this next stage of your life

  • Defining what you would like retirement to look like for you

  • Working out what the best next steps will be to move yourself forward 

  • What temporary and longer term ‘structures’ you need to make it work

Beginnings

Whether by choice or not, retirement offers many of options, decisions and opportunities

You are more in control of what happens than you have ever been, it just might not feel like it

There is nobody telling you what to do, it is entirely up to you to choose what happens 

This can feel liberating and excited as well as being challenging and nerve racking

In making your choices and then making them happen, you may have

  • So many options you need to prioritise and plan what you want to do and in what order

  • Limiting factors or issues to be identified and removed, minimised or managed

The rest of this active retirement programme provides a range of tools and techniques to enable you to manage the ‘acclimatising’ and ‘beginnings’ phases of your retirement

Before we move on to do so, let us first look at some useful activities around your ‘endings’

Your journey through the decades so far will probably have

  • Had its ups and downs, highs and low and good times and bad times

  • Involved changing priorities and drivers, both positive and negative

  • Included some ‘winding lanes’ as well as some ‘straight roads’

All of these experiences have contributed to you being where you are now and becoming the person that you now are

Retirement can be a good time to reflect back on the decades to help you to understand and appreciate what it is you want from the coming decades

Each persons journey in the run up to retirement is uniquely different, but might broadly be visually represented in the phases shown below

Reflecting on your journey so far and what you have learnt and experienced, complete the following two sets of activities where

 

  • The first one looks at your past life stages

  • The second looks at the present and the future

As seen in the last column of the last activity above, implementing your retirement plans may involve some new learning

We need to dispel a common myth about aging, namely that you 'can't teach an old dog new tricks' – you can!  And the following  piece of proven research dispels it!

Psychologists suggest that there are two types of intellectual development or learning

  • Fluid intelligence – this is about learning related to thinking in the abstract, problem solving and identifying alternatives views 

  • Crystallised intelligence – this is about learning that is acquired from both previous learning and from past experiences

One is not better than the other and one is not more important than the other, they are complementary and we all use them in combination

Where they are different is in rate at which we are able to acquire learning as we get older, as illustrated in the diagram below where, as you will see

  • Learning via fluid intelligence peaks in middle adulthood, whereas learning from crystallised intelligence keeps rising into quite late adulthood 

  • So, even if you do eventually become less effective with abstract or creative learning, you continue to be more than capable of ongoing learning into later life provided you keep feeding your brain with interesting and useful information 

We are not born knowledgeable or competent, we learn competencies and we acquire information and understanding by learning

Once we have learnt something, we often 'unconsciously' use our skills and abilities, we are effectively on 'auto pilot', but how do we get to that point?

The answer is that we often need to go through a process of learning as illustrated below, where we come to recognise the need to learn and then do something about it

To enable ourselves to learn, we will frequently need to take a step back and doing so can feel awkward, it isn’t what we usually do in our day to day lives

This learning model above is applicable for everybody at every age, however, the additional challenges for people who are retiring can be that

  • A long working life will often mean that many skills, strengths and abilities are 'unconscious competencies' because you have been using them for such a long time

  • This factor is further exacerbated if you have been in the same, or similar, roles for a substantial period of time

  • One or more longstanding self-limiting beliefs can often be nagging away at the back of the mind that need to be overcome or re-written, as we will see later in this module

  • Your active retirement may very well involve learning, for example, new activities, hobbies, interests, exercise habits, skills or abilities 

  • Be patient with yourself and allow yourself plenty of time and space to recognise

  • Where you are on the learning cycle at any moment in time and how to manage it

  • That a lot of the time in your latter career you have been unconsciously competent

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Whatever the circumstances are, whether you have wanted and been looking forward to your retirement for sometime or, alternatively, it has been thrust upon you unexpectedly at short notice due to redundancy, or perhaps one of many other situations have triggered it, retirement is big change for you that needs managing so that becomes an enjoyable and fulfilling experience

With any significant change in our lives and careers, there is also a personal transition

Change is the external event, transition is our internal response to it

Change is what happens to you, transition is what you then experience

Transition is a personal and unique journey, involving up to seven stages

The seven stages are not chronological, you can jump around over time

 

 

It is OK to be at any stage, it is not OK to get stuck in the 'blue' stages

Share your feelings with the people you trust, don’t bottle things up

Lets look at each of the stages and how they might relate to becoming (and being) retired

Surprise

Even if you have been thinking about retiring for some while, it can still come as a bit of a surprise how you really feel about it when it actually happens compared with how you expected it to be

At various stages during your retirement, it is highly likely that your reaction to some of your current and forthcoming experiences will be one of unexpected surprise 

For example, you may be surprised at ​just how much you

  • Miss the camaraderie of fellow workers and socialising in the work place 

  • Wrapped your life around the structure, demands and needs of your job

  • Would feel challenged as to how to organise and use your newfound freedom 

Denial

Sometimes, our mind

  • Just can’t take in a piece of information initially and needs time to accept and digest it

  • Finds acceptance too painful to bear and keep testing if an issue is actually true or real

  • Prefers not to react to an issue or attach any meaning to it, but rather just park it for now 

  • Tells us to act as though a change hasn't happened and carry on as if unaffected by it  

Being in denial is a perfectly normal reaction during transition and there is nothing wrong with being there for a while if it helps you to manage the situation, however, it can become very unhelpful and a hinderance to us if we stay there for too long

Staying in denial will, eventually, prove a damaging place to remain, so for us to move forward we need to accept the realities of what has happened

Reaction

Your emotional reaction to change can be either

  • Positive – welcoming the change and feeling emotions such as excitement, enjoyment, enthusiasm, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe

  • Negative – feeling emotions such as fear, nervousness, anger, stress, unhappiness, sadness, rage, loneliness, melancholy, annoyance

Sometimes we even experience both positive and negative emotional reactions at the same time!

Emotions can also be experienced many times and can reappear when you are least expecting them, so you need coping mechanisms to

  • Tap in to the positive ones and use them to bring your retirement plans to fruition 

  • Manage the negative ones so they are not damaging to your happy retirement

Over this and subsequent modules you will discover many practical coping mechanisms

Reconcile

This stage is about coming to terms with the situation to enable you to start taking control

Reconciliation means

  • Accepting the circumstances, however unpalatable or unwelcome they may be 

  • 'Drawing a line in the sand' and starting to look forward rather than looking back 

  • Allowing your 'thinking' response to drive your behaviour, not your 'emotional' response

Realise

This is the 'light bulb' moment when you start to see what the change means for you

You begin to accept the reality and inevitability of the change and how you feel about it

You start

  • Thinking about and planning what needs to be done and when and how to do it

  • Recognising that the change offers opportunities and things that are worth pursuing

Mobilise

During this phase of personal transition you

  • Tend to have more stable and proportionate emotions and emotional responses

  • Stop looking inwardly and start looking outwardly to begin making things happen

  • Recognise that change offers options for you to identify, assess and choose

  • Feel energised and genuinely 'up for it' to get cracking and get into action mode

  • Begin seriously considering and putting together your thoughts and action plans

Grow

In the growth phase of personal transition you will

  • Treat every experience as a learning opportunity that will enable you to improve

  • Recognise that unpleasant experiences are only bad ones if you don’t learn from them

  • Feel empowered and confident in what you have done and achieved during the change

If you manage your transition well, retirement will provide you with many opportunities to learn and grow

It is crucial that your self-limiting beliefs do not inhibit or stop you from becoming happily retired, so what are they and how can you manage them?

Self-limiting beliefs

  • Are the negative tapes that play at the backs of our minds

  • Develop from childhood onwards, they are learnt not innate

  • Strongly influence how we think, speak, act and behave

  • Often originally had a useful purpose e.g. to protect us

  • For example 'I mustn’t speak out' previously helped us to avoid feeling embarrassed

  • But the negative impact now outweighs the protective value of the belief

  • Are unique to each of us, but some of the more common ones are

We can replace our self-limiting beliefs with self-liberating beliefs

Below is an example of how a self-limiting belief can be replaced

Replacing self-limiting beliefs with self-liberating beliefs takes practice and determination, but is incredibly emancipating if you can

Practice the new belief in small matters to see how it goes

One suggestion is to use a physical object (e.g. pocket coin) to remind you of the new belief

Specifically in relation to retirement, some of the most common self-limiting beliefs that can become self-fulfilling prophecies if they are not changed into self-liberating beliefs include

  • 'You can't teach an old dog new trick'

  • 'Social media is too complicated and has passed me by'

  • 'I'm too old to learn about new ways of doing things'

  • 'I won't try to do it in case I look foolish at my age'

  • 'They won't want somebody of my age being involved' 

  • 'Now that I'm retired, nobody will value what I have to offer'​

Your values are

  • The basic beliefs that guide your words, thoughts and behaviours

  • What is important to you, one way you judge yourself and others

Values are important because, like oxygen

  • They’re vital to well being, yet you don’t consciously think of them

  • You only realise their importance when they’re restricted or stifled

Knowing your values is crucial as

  • They are important in enabling you to be make wise retirement decisions

  • You need to know and feel comfortable living and projecting your values

Being able to spot and understand other people's values

  • Will enable you to understand how they like to interact and be treated

  • Will enable you to successfully 'tune in to' and empathise with other people

In addition to satisfying your identified six core values above, your will also have

  • Needs – things essential for you to maintain yourself successfully in your retirement

  • Wants – things not essential, but that would significantly enhance your retirement

There are eight areas of activity in your life where you may wish to consider how they relate to your values, needs and wants and how you might want to make changes to ensure that you have a happy and successful retirement, as illustrated below

In formulating your retirement plans

  • Not all of these areas of activity will be relevant to you

  • Some of these areas may become relevant in the future

  • Some will be critical to your happiness and success

Lets have a look at each of these areas of activity and consider how important each of them may be to you and look at new potential ways in which you might move forward with them

In the next module, we look at each of these areas of activity in more detail and also review some useful information, tools, techniques to enable you to start making things happen in each area that is relevant to your active retirement 

In relation to preparing for your retirement, this module has enabled you to

  • Easily and quickly access key information as and when needed

  • Manage your retirement and the major changes that it may generate 

  • Review your journey so far and what the next retired stage might look like

  • Appreciate how we learn and prepare for some new potential learning curves

  • Deal with the stages of your personal transition to becoming retired

  • Identify and overcome any significant self-limiting beliefs you may have

  • Recognise and assess your values and their significance for your retirement

  • Consider what you might want you may wish to to to satisfy your needs, wants and values across eight key areas to enable you to have a happy and successful retirement

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