With the ever-changing economy, more Americans are faced with early retirement. It can be frustrating and even terrifying when an event you have prepared for does not happen as planned. I get it! I am definitely a person who likes to keep things on track so I can appreciate the unexpected storm a sudden change in direction may bring.
Here are my 7 Sure-Fire tips to help you adjust to a sudden life change, like early (or earlier-than-expected) retirement.
1.Allow yourself to process your situation.
If retirement has come quickly and out of the blue, it can be difficult to accept. You’re likely to experience a range of emotions. It’s 100% ok to have feelings of mourning, grief, disappointment, or anger. Often with sudden retirement, you may have to simply accept that this wasn’t your choice. Adjust your mentality and accept that you are human and imperfect. I call it allowing the “space for grace”.
2. Evaluate your future
If retirement came years earlier than planned, your present and future may both look significantly different than you anticipated. Take time to re-evaluate and plan for what lies ahead, considering both your needs and wants. You have your permission to adjust or completely scrap the plan you had originally prepared. View this as an opportunity to build a better and more meaningful future.
3. Take charge of your finances
Rally your support network. Together with your spouse, family, friends, and trusted advisors, take a detailed look at your current financial situation and how it will affect your plans for the future. Determine the best ways to adjust your spending and savings habits now in order to be as financially secure as possible now and down the road.
4. Make new goals
When life hands you lemons, it can be easy to become discouraged. Once you’ve spent a few days processing the surprise of your sudden retirement, it’s time to create a transition plan that is smooth and full of hope. I encourage you to not allow yourself to get caught in feelings of uncertainty or despair. Instead, focus on what lies ahead instead of what lies behind—and you will find yourself looking forward to new possibilities.
5. Take exceptionally good care of yourself
The shift from working life to retirement is significant, and the changes can take their toll in a variety of ways. During this period of adjustment, make yourself the top priority. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, and check-in frequently on how you are feeling. When your body and mind are well-rested and well-fed, it is easier to maintain your focus and make decisions. If you are prone to anxiety and/or depression, reach out to your doctor or therapist and let them know if you are struggling.
6. Nurture your relationships
With any big life change, it can be tempting to withdraw from loved ones and isolate yourself. Resist! Even when your negative emotions are at their most overwhelming, remember you have a network of people who love and support you…and who want the best for you. Invest in nurturing those relationships and feel the love come back to you tenfold.
7. Focus on your marriage
It’s important to not let your marriage fall by the wayside as you plan and pivot. Similar to when you tackled life’s milestones together, it’s important to stay unified in your partnership. Make sure you are supporting each other during this transition and that you are keeping your focus on the things (and people) that are most important to you. When we work through challenges with our significant other, our relationships are strengthened and our love for life increases.
Have you experienced earlier-than-anticipated retirement? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below.