Your emotional preparations for retirement are just as important as the financial ones. Your ideal retirement vision should be one in which you're grounded with expectations that align with your reality. But what exactly does that mean?

Defining the retirement mindset

Mindset refers to the attitudes and beliefs you have surrounding a specific topic — in this case, retirement. Leading up to retirement, your mindset can be shaped by a number of influences: how you feel about your financial situation, your goals for retirement and how much progress you've made towards those goals, and generally how you approach major life changes. You may be naturally optimistic, for instance, with an ability to see the possibilities in any situation.

Emotions can influence your mindset after you've retired. There may be an initial rush of elation and a newfound sense of freedom, or a feeling of uncertainty, that sometimes accompany a major shift in lifestyle.

Why mindset matters

Your mindset is important because it effects your actions and decisions before and during retirement. It also affects how satisfied you feel with your retirement experience.

Someone who's adopted a proactive mindset, for example, may feel better about the decisions they've made leading up to retirement and the kind of lifestyle they're going to enjoy after.

Having a positive outlook can make it easier to embrace new beginnings and opportunities in your retirement.

Know yourself to shape your mindset

Readying yourself for retirement requires some personal reflection. Consider these questions to gauge your current mindset:

  • What does retirement mean to you?
  • Do you have any questions about retiring, financial or otherwise?
  • If you have a spouse or partner, how do they feel about retiring? Do they share any ideas or questions you may have?
  • What are your expectations for retirement, in terms of ideas for the future you'll be able to enjoy and how you'll spend your time? Where do those expectations come from and why are they important to you?
  • Are you excited or nervous — or both — about making the transition from work to retirement? What do you think is driving those emotions?
  • What would you need to have or happen to feel confident about your retirement outlook?

Answering these questions may reveal some surprising insights about your retirement mindset. Your answers can also help you develop a framework for creating a long-term plan for retiring.

After all, there's another reason to consider your mindset. When you're clear on how you think and feel about retirement, it becomes easier to discuss your plans with your loved ones and embrace the coming changes confidently. When you're confident, you're more likely to face what your future holds with excitement.

Read more of our series, How to Shape Your Retirement Vision and Bring It to Life:

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