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Are You Emotionally Ready to Retire?

We talk a lot about retirement around here, and for good reason. Every person retires eventually, but there’s a big difference between retiring well and just retiring. In order to have a great retirement, you have to plan—the earlier, the better. And while finances are a huge part of a successful retirement, you also need to prepare in other ways. Preparing for retirement means preparing to go through the emotional stages of retirement too. That’s just as important. 

In fact, in October 2022, the AARP did a study that found 57% of retirees and 41% of nonretired people had never thought about planning for their emotional needs once they retired.1 And nearly 50% of retirees said that they didn’t think about finding ways to feel fulfilled once they retired.2

What Are The Five Emotional Stages of Retirement? 

When preparing for a healthy retirement, many people often forget to think about their emotional health. In fact, there are five emotional stages of retirement you should be aware of: 

  1. Pre-retirement: This is a period of about five to ten years before you actually retire, and the time when you actively begin to think about what you may want your retirement to look like.

  2. Retirement Honeymoon: You’re excited to be finished with your career and ready to focus on new possibilities.

  3. Disenchantment: This phase kicks in when your honeymoon phase begins to tarnish. Maybe you’ve become bored or restless from a “vacation mindset” or you’re ready to find a renewed sense of purpose with your time.

  4. Reorientation: This phase helps you rebuild and focus on what you really want out of this season—especially your purpose.

  5. Stability: You know your purpose, what you want out of life, and have accepted your season fully. You’re ready to face the days with joy and seek the adventures that lie ahead with purpose. 

How to Become Emotionally Ready to Retire

Now that you know what the five emotional stages are in retirement, you can better prepare for them. Remember, every retirement is different and everyone’s emotional capacity is different. That means the amount of time you spend working through each emotional stage will be different too. And that’s okay. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to better prepare yourself for the season ahead:

What will you do to find fulfillment? 

Many career-first professionals find so much fulfillment in their golden years through serving. Retirement is a great time to give back to the community or even your family.

Leave space to grieve seasons past and anticipate the season ahead. 

When we don’t let ourselves pause long enough to grieve our past seasons, we will never pause long enough to make space to appreciate the present season or the season to come. 

Find your people. 

Community is important—no matter what stage of life you’re in. But it’s especially important when you’re in retirement. There are always people in your season who could use a friend, you just have to be willing to find them. 

Communicate your plans.

Now that you’re retired, your children (or grandchildren) might expect more of your time. Make sure to communicate your retirement plans and hold fast to your boundaries. Only you know what’s right for you. 

Get on the same page with your spouse. 

Don’t assume that your spouse knows what you want in retirement. Spend some time dreaming together and find common ground on how you each want to spend your time—both separately and together. 

Seek counsel. 

If you’re retired and having a hard time emotionally, seeking wise counsel and someone to talk to can help tremendously. Find a mental health professional in your area. And if you’re in your pre-retirement stage and wondering if you’re financially ready for retirement, we can help. Reach out to a SageSpring Wealth Partner—We’d love to help ease any anxiety you may have about the season to come. And if you’re wondering what phase of retirement you’re in, download our free Retirement Guide. We’ll walk you through the phases of retirement so you can plan accordingly. 

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Jeffrey T. Dobyns


President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS 

Jeffrey T. Dobyns

President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS

Beyond crunching numbers and investment strategies, at SageSpring, we’re about building relationships. When you encounter Founder & President of SageSpring, Jeff Dobyns, it’s easy to understand why this is at the very heart of who we are as a firm. You won’t find stuffy formalities with Jeff; instead, you can expect to find him sharing a warm smile, communicating a compelling vision, or patiently untangling life’s complex challenges with clients. He believes in truly getting to know clients, understanding their aspirations and priorities, and navigating their financial plans with a tailored, comprehensive approach. Our team members have often been caught taking notes on Jeff’s effortless relationship skills from a distance, and we admire them for striving to learn from one of the best. 

Jeff’s financial expertise and wisdom are the perfect match to his innate people skills. Jeff holds the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChLU®) designations, and has held executive positions with financial planning firms for more than two decades. 

His dedication extends beyond the office to the boardroom and the local community, where Jeff is passionate about giving back. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Men of Valor, a prison ministry and mentoring program. Jeff also serves on the board of Send Musicians to Prison, which shares hope, healing and restoration with the imprisoned through musicians & artists. Jeff actively supports other initiatives in the community by sitting on the board of The Signatry of Middle Tennessee and the Halftime Institute of Nashville. 

Witnessing his four children, Gracyn, Hunter, Tanner, and Logan, excel on the field is almost just as rewarding, if not more, than celebrating the victories of seeing his clients overcome obstacles and build wealth. Spending weekends boating on the lake, hiking mountain trails, and fishing with his family are the moments Jeff cherishes most. It’s this grounded perspective that reveals the true meaning of wealth for Jeff: not just numbers on a page, but the freedom to create experiences that enrich your life and the lives of those you love. When you choose the Dobyns McMillin Wealth Team, you choose more than financial expertise. You choose a partner who champions your dreams, celebrates your victories, and walks besides you on the path to achieving your unique goals.

**Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.