Now, what do I do?

The word retire means to disengage, withdraw, or shut oneself away.  Because this brings with it a detrimental impact on one’s emotional, mental, and physical health, it is not a healthy way to live in retirement. 

It seems like every day, studies are written about how retirees today are looking forward to a time to rejuvenate, recharge, re-invent, re-purpose, and re-wire.

Some retirees are clear on what to do to bring their plans to fruition, while others are stuck trying to figure out “What’s Next?”  Below are questions and tips to get started on getting unstuck.

Strategies for Determining What to Do with Your Life During Retirement

Consider the past

  • What have you done in the past (either in or outside of work) that you do not want to do in retirement? Be specific.
  • What personal wear and tear did you endure during your career? What are you willing to do about this now?
  • What lessons have you learned from other major transitions in life? Can these lessons serve you well as you transition into retirement? 
  • If you went back and documented significant childhood experiences, what positive themes continue to show up that you may want to bring into the next phase of your life?

Assess where you are now

  • What do you want in this next phase of life? Really want? 
  • Is there anything you need to process or mourn before moving forward?

Man and Woman Planning for Retirement

Think about moving forward

  • What aspects of your career did you enjoy, and what motivated you?  Examples: knowing you have a purpose, feeling valued and appreciated, remaining curious, continuous learning, and being involved with others. 
  • What ideas do you have for replacing these, not necessarily replacing them with the same task or situation, but the feeling you had when doing it? 
  • How much time are you willing to give to finding “what’s next” and creating a structure to move forward?
  • Do you have any fears holding you back?  What are you willing to do to overcome the fear(s)?
  • What “rules” are you considering following as you move forward?  For example, I need/should do X or be X.  Are they productive or non-productive?
  • What do people (family, friends, co-workers) come to you for?  Is this something you want to continue to provide?
  • Who could you rely on to be an accountability partner/confidante as you decide what to do next?

For a significant percentage of retirees, the transition into the next phase of life can be challenging.  Moving from a career into retirement is a process, not an event. And it’s different for every individual.  Some may adapt quickly, while others may take much longer, sometimes over a year.  The sooner one begins thinking about and planning their vision for the non-financial aspects of retirement, the smoother the transition will be.

I recently heard a thought leader share that transitioning into retirement allows the individual to go from a role to their soul.  It’s not necessarily what you do; it’s who you get to become! So, take the time to really think about what you want to do now that you’re retired.

Good luck on your journey.


Sue Mintz

Sue Mintz, Founder of Retirementhood™, is a coach, speaker, writer, and facilitator. She educates and guides soon-to-be or current retirees on becoming the best version of themselves in retirement by planning a lifestyle that is purposeful, healthy, fun, and one that fulfills long-awaited goals. She has been certified through Retirement Options, a division of Career Partners Intl, LLC., and is an Authorized "Now What®" Coach/Facilitator. She is not a financial adviser. For more information about Sue and the services she offers, visit or contact her at

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