Transition into Retirement by Following These 5 Steps

By Chris Duderstadt

April 1, 2024

Transition into Retirement by Following These 5 Steps

Key Points – Transition into Retirement by Following These 5 Steps

  • Transitioning into Retirement Can (and Should) Take Years of Planning
  • Your Retirement Is Your Encore
  • Is Your Job Your Full Identity?
  • What’s Your Lifestyle Going to Look Like in Retirement?
  • 5 Minutes to Read | 23 Minutes to Watch

Are You Beyond Ready to Retire?

If you’ve spent the past 30-40 years working, think about how many hours you’ve spent at work if you’ve averaged a 40-hour work week. 40 hours a week multiplied by 52 (weeks in one year) multiplied by 40 equals 83,200 hours over 40 years. If you suddenly decided to retire tomorrow, what if you live for another 30-40 years? Once you’re no longer working, you could have tens of thousands of hours of free time. What are you going to do with them? Let’s talk about the importance of planning to transition into retirement.

Schedule a Meeting Get the Retirement Plan Checklist

This Is Your Encore

You’re probably well aware that a big part of the planning to transition into retirement involves saving for retirement. We’ve published hundreds of articles/podcasts/videos about the financial aspects of wealth management and retirement planning. But this article is actually going to focus on the important nonfinancial aspects that you need to keep in mind when transitioning into retirement. We’re going to review five steps that the National Council on Aging says to consider when transitioning into retirement.1 We couldn’t agree more with them, so let’s dive right in.

No. 1: Identity

When you’ve started conversations with people during your career, how have you introduced yourself? You might just say your name, but oftentimes there will be a follow-up question about what you do. Do you say, “I’m an (insert job title) for (insert company).” If you do, know that you’re far from being alone.

Whether you plan to keep working for several more years or want to retire soon, do you want your identity to be closely tied to your job? If you really like your job, you might be fine with that. And that’s OK! But if you’re champing at the bit to retire, you need to determine what you want your identity to be. We’re guessing that you don’t want to introduce yourself as a retired (insert job title). It’s time to find out who you really are as you transition into retirement.

No. 2: Vision

If you’re a client of ours or are familiar with Modern Wealth Management, you may know Bruce Godke. He’s a financial advisor who recently took a step back from actively providing investment advice to Modern Wealth clients and prospective clients. Bruce spent countless hours helping them transition into their post-retirement lives and prepare financially for retirement.

However, Bruce became so focused on his work that it became a massive part of his identity. Once Bruce came to that realization, he knew he needed to figure out who he really was and what his vision was for retirement. Bruce’s quest to figure that out has started with a six-month worldwide cruise with his wife, Heidi. He’s enjoyed learning more about the world, Heidi, and himself, and has been sharing updates with us.

While Bruce is excited for the adventures ahead of him on the cruise, he knows that the financial advisor part of his identity isn’t something he wants to completely give up. That’s exactly why he’s launching Modern Wealth’s Your Encore program to share with people how to transition into retirement from a nonfinancial perspective. We’ll share more details upon Bruce’s return, but in the meantime, think more about what you want your retirement lifestyle to look like. Also, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more of Bruce’s blog posts in our Education Center.

No. 3: Goals

Once you’ve developed a vision for your retirement lifestyle, what’s going to motivate you to stick with it? Maybe you’re like Bruce and want to travel. If traveling is very important to you, let’s prioritize that within your financial plan. Instead of taking one vacation a year, let’s look into taking one a quarter and/or adding an annual international vacation to your spending plan if that’s something you’re interested in.

If your vision for retirement involves a lot of other things in addition to or instead of traveling, think of some goals that can keep you going in retirement. They don’t have to be interests that have big costs associated with them earlier.

No. 4: Work

For people who really enjoy their jobs, the transition into retirement can be difficult because they miss going to work. If this is the case, maybe you can talk to your employer about semi-retiring into a part-time role that offers you a much greater work-life balance. If you had very strong relationships with your coworkers and/or clients, how can you try to maintain them? Doing volunteer work or another part-time job you’ve always been interested in are also possibilities.

It might sound crazy, but one of the greatest struggles for people in retirement is avoiding boredom. The transition into retirement is something that needs to be planned for so that boredom or depression don’t cloud your retirement.

No. 5: Life Pillars

The life pillars that the NCOA mentioned as their fifth step to transition into retirement involving staying active physically, mentally, and emotionally. We can’t stress enough that true wealth isn’t just about the amount of money you have. If you think about it, there are four types of wealth—financial wealth, social wealth, health wealth, and time wealth.

We just alluded to how maintaining friendships with coworkers and clients might be important to you. For many people, spending more time with friends and family in retirement is the top priority when transitioning into retirement. That’s social wealth. Some of that social wealth might require financial wealth, and both require planning as you transition into retirement.

That social wealth is something we all want to last forever, so staying healthy as long as possible is critical as well. Hopefully, the health wealth will mainly be focused on exercising and eating healthy to live longer (and accrue more time wealth). But it can also involve paying for visits to the doctor, medications, hospital stays, etc. You can probably start to see how those four types of wealth are connected.

These “life pillars” are something we also reference in our Retirement Plan Checklist, as we wanted to make it clear that transitioning into retirement involves financial and nonfinancial life planning. This white paper consists of 30 yes-or-no questions that assesses your retirement readiness and includes age-and date-based timelines that include several retirement planning considerations. You can download your copy below.

Transition retirement

Retirement Plan Checklist

We’re Ready to Help You Transition into Retirement

One of the biggest issues that people have with the transition to retirement is knowing where to start. Well, that’s where our team of professionals comes in. Rather than immediately talk to you about what to invest in, we want to learn about you. We can’t tell you what you should invest in without knowing what your goals and risk tolerance are.

It’s our goal to build you a financial plan that gives you more confidence that you’re doing the right things with your money, freedom from financial stress, and time to spend doing the things you love. To begin figuring out what that plan should look like for you, start a conversation with our team below.

Schedule a Meeting

We hope this article has prompted you to start thinking more about the transition to retirement. Remember that this is YOUR retirement; not your friend, coworker, or neighbor’s retirement that you’re about to transition to. We look forward to helping you build your goals-based financial plan with you when you’re ready to begin the transition to retirement.

Transition into Retirement by Following These 5 Steps: Watch Guide

00:00 – Introduction
– Identity
– Vision
– Goals
– Work
– Life Pillars
– What We Learned Today


Past Shows


Other Sources


Investment advisory services offered through Modern Wealth Management, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.

The views expressed represent the opinion of Modern Wealth Management an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Modern Wealth Management does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.