6 stages of retirement – Part 4


February 1, 2018

This is the fourth part of a 6-part blog post structured around what the eminent gerontologist Robert C. Atchley1 (PhD) identified and defined back in 1975 as the 6 stages of retirement.

Based on our reading, there seems to be a general consensus among most authorities on retirement that after the ‘honeymoon’ of relaxation, the feeling like you’re on vacation, the relief of leaving the rat race behind, boredom sets in and retirees say to themselves: Is this all there is to retirement?

Reorientation and Colin Powell

Even former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was, apparently, not immune from this syndrome. He talked about it on the speaker’s circuit a few years ago.

According to Kathy Merlino2, a widely-reported commentator on the non-financial aspects of retirement, after a life of being constantly whisked about in limousines and government jets supported by an entourage of assistants, secret service agents and press corps, former Secretary Powell found himself walking down Fifth Avenue in New York, alone, in quest of a hotdog from a street vendor.

Relates Ms. Merlino, he went on to recount how he ended up on the speaker’s circuit. His wife of 56 years told him unless he found something to do with his life, they wouldn’t make it to year 57. Though comical, she was wise enough to realize he needed to do something to recreate his purpose in life. For both their sakes, she wasn’t going to tolerate his moping.

The lesson in Powell’s story is how he reoriented himself by joining the speaker’s circuit and, as a result, created a new challenge for his life.

Retirement is a journey, not a destination

Writing in Retirement Journeys (July 28, 2015) Ted Carr3 discussed some helpful perspectives based on the Reorientation phase of retirement. Now is the time, he argues, to ‘take inventory of your retirement experience and outline ways that will improve your retirement role’.

His inventory covered the timing of his decision to retire, issues associated with missing a paycheck, the loss of a feeling of being productive, even whether or not he was suffering from buyer’s remorse as a result of selling his house.

How to Find Your Passion in Retirement

What Mr. Carr was searching for was a means to re-ignite the passion in his life. And while his quest led him down the path of self-reflection and to finding answers in a book called Forgiveness is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope by Robert D. Enright, others have found solutions from more practical sources.

One source of insight we particularly liked is that supplied by The Wall Street Journal in its blogging series How to Find Your Passion in Retirement4. The editors of WSJ asked the question: Now that you’ve retired, how do you figure out what you actually want to do with the rest of your life?

Realizing that there is no easy answer, they asked The Experts, a group of professors, financial advisers, and cultural figures who spend a lot of time dealing with retirement issues this question: What is the best way to find your passion in retirement?

We think you’ll find their discussion immensely helpful and to read it, simply click on the link below:



Routine is, according to Dr. Atchley, the fifth phase of the 6 stages of retirement and we’ll cover it in our next blog.

Ryan Giese, Portfolio Manager, Scotia Wealth Management: 403-317-7018.
Scott Crowe, Senior Wealth Advisor, Scotia Wealth Management: 403-317-7015.

1 https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/phases-retirement.asp
2 https://kathysretirementblog.com/stages-of-retirement/
3 http://retirementjourneys.com/2015/07/the-6-stages-of-retirement/
4 https://blogs.wsj.com/briefly/2014/12/22/how-to-find-your-passion-in-retirement-at-a-glance/