Stage 3 of the retirement process is The Honeymoon phase.
This is the time when many of the fun trips, projects and activities that you spent all those years planning are executed. Life feels like one long holiday - you can sleep late in the mornings, wear t-shirts and sweatpants all day, forget to shave, catch up with all those relatives and friends in far-flung parts of the country (or the world) or just work in your garden all day. This is what you imagined retirement would be like during all those working years – freedom to do what you want to do when you want to do it, and to just be you!
Some people who have plans to keep themselves very busy in retirement will quickly adopt a full schedule of activities – albeit activities that they enjoy and choose for themselves.
The potential pitfalls of The Honeymoon Phase include:
• ‘Chilling out’ for too long – many people report that they ‘wasted’ the first 18 months to 2 years of their retirement (ironically, the time when they were at their youngest and, often, their fittest)
• Planning more than you can cope with – some people report that their energy level plummets (temporarily) when they retire
• Spending more money on holidays/vacations/travel and general enjoyment than you can really afford and leaving yourself without a comfortable contingency fund to fall back on
• Excessive withdrawals from your retirement fund for other purposes such as home improvements or helping out your kids with 'loans'
• Relying on your partner to be your only source of companionship and entertainment. Whether your partner is also retired or not, you can’t expect them to be ‘everything’ to you – you need hobbies, interests and friendships that don’t involve your partner too!
• If you live alone, like your own company and prefer solitary activities such as reading and gardening, there can be a tendency to become isolated. If you know that you have these traits, you need to make regular efforts to get out to meet up with existing friends and make new ones.
Call back soon for Part 4 in this series - Disenchantment.