A Harvard psychologist interviewed 120 people in or near retirement — and found that the ones who were happy had built themselves new lives


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Some people wake up on their first day of retirement and ask, “Now what?”
That existential crisis can happen when people don’t prepare for retirement outside of health and wealth, according to Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile, who, among other subjects, studies workers on their way to retirement.
According to Amabile, one of the best ways to prepare for life after work is having a daily schedule filled with social activities — otherwise, retirees are in danger of falling into what some of them call the “void.”
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Imagine waking up on your first day of retirement and thinking, “Now what?”

For many people who retire, that’s exactly what happens, according to Teresa Amabile, professor at Harvard Business School. Amabile and her colleagues interviewed around 120 professionals to find out their thoughts on retirement and what they’re doing to prepare for the transition.

Many retirees wish they had known that planning for retirement goes well beyond saving money and maintaining physical health. Other factors, like having a daily schedule or volunteering, can make retirement fulfilling. Otherwise, retirement can be destabilizing.

Some retiree respondents said that “jumped off the cliff” or “leapt into the void,” Amabile said.

SEE ALSO: Forget retirement: Senior citizens are founding small businesses, and research shows more of them are likely to succeed than young entrepreneurs

Amabile suggests that retirees ‘Think beyond health and wealth.’

In Amabile’s study, professionals from three different companies across the country, including the Midwest and Silicon Valley, sat down for in-depth interviews. The subjects ranged from work life to retirement to life planning. Some were over 55 and hadn’t considered retiring anytime soon, some were set to retire within the year, and some had just made the transition. Over a period of five years, Amabile’s team tracked the retirement transitions of 12 workers in particular, some of whom said retirement wasn’t what they expected.

“People will feel like they’re on vacation,” Amabile told Business Insider. “And then it starts to sink in, that yeah, ‘this doesn’t make me feel like I’m truly living my life.'”

Amabile described a honeymoon-like phase that kicks off many retirements. “Most people feel euphoric in the first days, weeks, and even months after retirement,” she said. “But then reality sets in. They use metaphors like ‘I’ve jumped off the cliff. I’ve leapt into the void.'”

Delaying that leap into the “void” can save lives. According to a study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, delaying retirement reduced the five-year mortality risk by 32% for men in their early 60s. And as the Wall Street Journal reports, retirement has been linked to earlier cognitive decline and depression.

But not all retirements are created equal — her research showed that there’s a pattern to people who retire happily, and it goes beyond money.

The most important thing people don’t do, according to Amabile, is create a daily schedule after their days at the office are over.

“Think about how you’re going to spend …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Life

      

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