The American Psychological Association wrote a fantastic article published in January of 2014 called, “Retiring minds want to know. What’s the key to a smooth retirement?” (1)
In the article, the APA states that, ” retirees experience a ‘sugar rush’ of well-being and life satisfaction directly after retirement, followed by a sharp decline in happiness a few years later… most retirees experienced the rush-crash pattern regardless of the age they retired.”
Regardless of age, retirement is great for a while. There is nowhere to be, no deadlines, no stress, and no pressure to perform.
But after retirees settle into the new normal, what at first seemed like freedom, reveals itself as a new type of prison.
According to the Psychologist Jacquelyn B. James, PhD, of the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, “people need to invest as much if not more time in their social or psychological portfolio planning before retirement, to figure out what makes them happy.”
It’s simply not enough to focus on building financial assets. Many of those people who retire just don’t know what to do with their time, and the whole experience is one giant ugly surprise.
After all, there is only so much reading, watching TV, shopping, traveling, and visiting friends that one person can handle. Once those activities are exhausted, what comes next is usually restlessness, closely followed by guilt for being unsatisfied in your retirement.