Retirement represents a seismic shift in lifestyle—the psychological repercussions can really shake the ground beneath your feet.


While retirement planning professionals are expert at giving financial advice, sometimes the best people to go to for emotional guidance are those actually living it. That’s why we asked retired TIAA participants, in TIAA’s 2016 Voices of Experience survey, what advice they would offer anyone nearing retirement:


  • “Expect a period of missing the activities and interaction with people at work.” Many retirees stressed the importance of engaging in numerous activities (i.e., 10 or more) to keep busy and feel fulfilled. (Passive pleasures, like watching TV, don’t count!).
  • “Try to ease into retirement. I consulted half-time for one year and quarter-time for another year.”


If your job allows it, this slowly-does-it strategy comes highly recommended. Going from working forty hours a week to zero can be as jarring as a sudden brake on a fast-moving vehicle.


  • “We must keep inventing our lives as we age. The life I imagined when I first retired is no longer possible after 20 years, so I have changed my priorities.” Retirees should plan for the inevitability of slowing down, and think of ways to remain active and engaged as they age.


Key takeaway: Craft a plan that matches your personal goals and lifestyle, but elastic enough to change along with your changing circumstances. Your retirement plan should be every bit as unique as you are.




Note: The results come from two surveys: The first was a random sample of 1,022 adults, age 18 and older living in the United States, conducted Jan. 12-16, 2017 for TIAA. All interviews were conducted online. The sample was proportionally obtained by demographics such as age, gender, region, and income to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the national population age 18 and older. The second was TIAA’s 2016 Voices of Experience survey.


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