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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another Step

Making the Most of Retirement[1]

     While searching through the Net I came upon this electronic book focused on retirement. It consists s  of 13 chapters. I figured that some of you would find Chap 1 so interesting that you would look up the source that is listed at the bottom of this blog entry. This chapter (#1) will help sharpen your understanding of the challenges which develop as an individual enters and moves through the retirement period. 

Eight Phases
     Research has found eight "phases" of retirement for most people. These phases actually begin several years before retirement and continue through a course of progressive adjustments throughout the final phases of life.
     Phase one begins about three to five years before retirement.  This phase is usually referred to as "Fantasy" time as it consists of primarily of dreaming and planning for retirement and the new options which will be available after retirement begins.
     The second phase begins about one and a half years before retirement. This period is the "Excitement" time.  As the actual date of retirement is now within sight, serious struggles in obtaining necessary details about retirement benefits, income, health coverage, etc. Problems are often encountered that could have been solved if dealt with sooner, but, because of the proximity to the retirement must be dealt with as they are.
     "Stress" time is characteristic of the third phase.  This occurs upon actual retirement.  This is a time when everyone dealing with the retiree needs to be aware of and compensate for pressures and stresses the newly "freed" individual is subjected to.
      For about the first two years after retirement the "Honeymoon" phase (4) occurs.  This is a time of catching up on delayed projects,  and enjoying the new freedoms of retirement.
      The fifth phase starts at about three to four years after retirement.  This is the period of "Retirement-Routine, Rest and Relaxation."  The individual has accepted, at least for the present, the adjustments to switching from a job every day to the flexibility found in retirement.
     The "Disenchantment" phase (#6) is about four to six years after retirement. This is a period in which the retiree often develops a lack of self esteem.  The person begins to feel the need for productivity.  Because there is not a service or product produced, as when the retiree was employed, the haunting question of "Who am I?" surfaces.  As a result there is often a floundering feeling of being lost and ill at ease.
     Fortunately from the sixth to eighth year most people go through a "Reorientation" phase.  This is a period when learning to accept and enjoy the "roles" of retirement is usually mastered.  The challenge during this period is to develop a new sense of self worth and new direction.
The final phase can be identified as the "Settle Down to Routine" period. This is usually a time of contentment. 

     "Growing old doesn't have to mean growing slow or growing ill," according to Dr. Gene Cohen, deputy director of the National Institute on Aging. Good health habits and attitudes are important going into old age. But serious illness may plague an older friend at any case.
      Rabbi Harold Kusher in "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" 
(Schocken Books, 1981) states: "We either stay away entirely...or we come and try to avoid the reason for our being there. The first step is to realize that it is your presence, not your words, that means the most."



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