What is retirement really like? As the baby boomers enter retirement, they want to age differently than their parents. While golf and travel may still be part of the vision, most new retirees realize that retiring isn’t about old people. With twenty or thirty years left, that’s a lot of time to fill.

What’s your vision of growing older? We all know the myth of living happily ever after on the golf course on the one hand. Or the person who goes back to work because they don’t know how to fill their time.

After the first year or two of a ‘honeymoon’ phase, most retirees have either successfully made the transition or struggled. Even though the image of retirement is one of a carefree life, you may be surprised to learn that many people suffer during this phase of their lives. Certainly money can be a factor as to whether or not someone is satisfied, but it isn’t the only issue.

Researchers discovered four categories that people fall into after they have settled into retirement. If you’re already retired, which group do you belong? If you aren’t retired yet, which group do you most identify?

Four Categories of Retirement
At one end of the spectrum are the Clueless. This group may comprise as many as 40% of retirees. They may experience depression and loneliness. They are often bored with their free time choices. They feel the most disconnected from others. They report the least amount of planning or thinking about retirement beforehand.

The Aimless comprise another 22% of retirees. This group is still looking for a sense of satisfaction in retirement. They report feeling neither positive nor negative about retirement. Like the Clueless, they gave little forethought to retirement and are now trying to figure it out. Less than 20% had made plans for hobbies and only 36% have a notion of how much money they would need in their later years.

Directionless consist of 19% of retirees. This group is happy to adjust to a less frantic lifestyle and enjoys the lack of stress of work and raising a family. They are not interested in learning new things, finding meaningful work or getting hobbies. They don’t have any great aspirations, and therefore don’t experience much disappointment. They are content to putter around the house, enjoying their family and friends.

The Motivated Redirected are at the other end of the continuum with 19% of people. They view this period as one filled with new challenges, adventure and personal fulfillment. They have planned for retirement both financially and for activities. They are involved in travel, staying connected to family and friends, and live a healthy lifestyle. They are engaged in meaningful work that may be paid, or unpaid with challenging hobbies, or other leisure activities. They do not keeping busy for the sake of busy-ness, but want to fulfill a sense of destiny. Often there is a change in perspective from individual needs to being altruistic that in turn strengthens their sense of self.

The biggest factor that separates the Clueless, Aimless and Motivated Redirected is taking time to think about the future and plan for the life you want. Think about what is important to you and be willing to experiment with your life to find the enjoyment that can be had during the phase.

Author's Bio: 

Cathy Severson, MS helps you make the most of your retirement. Baby boomers understand this isn't your parents’ retirement. Find out how to make the rest of your life the best of your life with the complimentary e-book 7 Ingredients for a Satisfying Retirement.