Another common belief is, that retirement is one long, single phase of life – a vacation perhaps. You’ll be walking on the beach every morning, taking naps after lunch and drinking wine at four.  It sounds lovely until you consider that a 30 year long vacation probably isn’t realistic from a cost and lifestyle perspective and also may not meet everyone’s needs as they age and life changes.

There are 3 main phases of retirement that will drive a lot of your experience but in addition to those phases, there are also multiple stages as we could never expect even a five year period of time to remain completely static.

There is pre-retirement marked with the fantasy and excitement that leads up to retirement as you anticipate the wonderful changes retirement is sure to bring. This is followed by the big day and the year after retirement which can be stressful while you adjust to a new lifestyle and navigating balance without work. This is often followed by that honeymoon phase people mistake for being life throughout retirement where you are enjoying extracurricular activities and spending money you’ve worked so hard to save. Given that honeymoons rarely last, this is then followed by routine and even disenchantment as we seek purpose and meaning. That seeking process is described as a reorientation to find new meaning and fulfillment before they falling at last into contentment and routine.

That doesn’t sound like “one single phase” to me at all.