Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, June 2, 2014

First Year of Retirement: Is Your Glass Half Empty?

Half empty

While retirement should be a peaceful time in one’s life, it also brings many questions and concerns that are rarely planned for.  Retirees experience a variety of feelings and emotions as they make their way from work life to retirement.  Some feelings are never talked about, but often held by many retirees. 

  • Not Earning Pay. After decades of work, many people feel guilty about receiving pay in the form of a pension without doing any work.  For some, this feels like a “divorce, losing a loved one, or even quitting an addictive substance . . . Of course, there are support groups for divorce, grief, drugs and alcohol, but not for new retirees with this sense of separation many are left to sort it out for themselves.”
  • Brand Authority. The inability to use your former company’s brand name or work title to accomplish things can be a mental factor confronting retirees.  Brands and titles carrying significance often evaporate when you retire.  This situation can chip away at some retirees’ self-esteem and perception of oneself. 
  • All Alone. Retirees often feel down, unaccomplished, and all by themselves.  People who are still working may not understand this feeling, because work creates self-worth, physical and mental exercise, friendship, and a sense of belonging.  Retirees must come to terms with the fact that they are not alone, and what they are going through is an anomaly.  Adjusting to retirement takes time and practice.  “[Y]ou’re in control and responsible for your feelings.  If you want to change them, you have to do something different.”

See Robert Laura, Overcoming Mental Challenges Your First Year of Retirement, Forbes, May 30, 2014.


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