Mentally preparing for retirement

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Last updated: February 15, 2023

Retirement Planning is our most valued service, so it’s a good job it’s one of the things I love helping clients with most. Seeing someone’s reaction when I tell them they can afford to retire now, or earlier than they thought, is priceless. It’s a pleasure to know you’re helping them to plan and realise a dream.

There’s a lot more to it than figures, though. Hence the title of this blog. Affordability is only one part of the puzzle. An often-bigger challenge, and something I spend a lot of time talking to clients about, is ensuring you have the right mindset to retire. Here are a few key takeaways:

Bring purpose to your days

I reply to the golden question clients ask: “When can I afford to retire?” with “When do you want to?”. That is often followed by “Tomorrow!”. Of course, many of us feel the pressures of work and long for more time to ourselves. Even so, when it comes to it, a good plan to fill your time post-work is important.

If you’ve been working for 30 years, going from a routine to having the whole day to yourself can be challenge. Making sure you feel fulfilled and have a purpose in retirement is key. That can be anything meaningful to you: from spending time with friends and family, charity work, fitness – you name it.

Build up to your fully-retired date

Dipping your toe into the world of retirement can be a comfortable way to ease into a new way of life. Once we’ve worked with you to understand an affordable retirement age, we can create a plan to build up to it (or wind down, if you like!).

More often than not, taking gradual retirement is valuable. This might involve working fewer hours or stepping back from a senior role. Many business owners do this and find themselves in a consultancy role, only accepting work they find fulfilling. Or, if you are employed, you can discuss part-time options.

Be honest with yourself and acknowledge your feelings

There is a lot online about feeling anxious and a little lost when you retire. You might feel like you have to be positive about retirement, laughing as people joke they’d love to be in your shoes. But only you know how you’re feeling. Don’t be ashamed to admit things don’t always feel as rosy as people expect, it’s a new start and it’s natural to feel uneasy.

Grab a pen and paper and start writing things down. It’s just for you, so be totally honest. Committing things to paper is a great way to start working out the barriers you’re facing.

Even if you’re being honest with yourself, you might not be able to articulate things on your own. That’s why it’s a good idea to seek proper financial planning advice. It’s often called ‘Lifestyle’ financial planning as we try to focus as much, if not more, on you as we do on the numbers. It’s not just dry facts and figures about whether you can afford to retire, but the emotions and ambitions you have as well.

Find an impartial person to help you make decisions

When it comes to retirement itself, working with a Financial Planner can really help. We talk people through retirement plans every day, and having someone encourage you to spend more (sensibly), or to listen to your concerns, provides valuable reassurance and peace of mind.

Personally, I think having or finding some hobbies and a rough agenda for when you finish work is key to a successful retirement. I also encourage clients to think about what they really want to spend money on. We can then build this into the plan and ensure it's affordable.

Top 5 Tips to remember

When you get to the fully-retired date itself:

  1. Plan what you're going to do with your time.
  2. Start thinking about a hobby or interest that you would like to pursue or give even more time to.
  3. Make sure you’re happy with the network you have in place. Your social circle can get smaller when you leave work.
  4. Finding out what you really enjoy out of work is important. Try different holidays, day trips, clubs/societies, sports, hobbies etc.
  5. Try not to hold back. It’s common for people to spend a lot less than we’ve told them they can afford. Spend with clarity and confidence, based on the plan we’ve put in place. This is one to consider once you have spoken to a Financial Planner or had professional advice.

If you’re considering retirement and could benefit from a professional opinion, feel free to give us a call. It’s one of our favourite things to talk about - our aim is for you to leave the conversation with reassurance and a positive outlook. All of our services start with a meeting at our expense, so nothing has to be set in stone. We can begin with a chat.

This content is for information purposes and should not be treated as financial advice. We would always recommend speaking to a professional before making decisions regarding your wealth.


The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Even a long-term investment approach cannot guarantee a profit.