Retiring? What’s Your Escape Plan?

A prisoner’s dream is to break out of prison and escape to freedom!

And guess what? 60% are found within the first 24 hours.  80% are found within the first week

What keeps their dream from coming true? Their only plan was to escape; beyond that, they didn’t have a plan.

This is often the case with retirees. After escaping to freedom and enjoying a retirement “honeymoon,” they may feel lost and unsure what to do with themselves or their time.

I’m not saying that leaving a career is like escaping from prison. I am saying that before retiring, not only is it essential to plan the exit and perhaps a well-deserved celebration, but it’s also important to plan what to do after the exit and celebration!

Michael Stein, author of The Prosperous Retirement: Guide to the New Reality, writes, “I have come to the conclusion that more retirements will fail for non-financial reasons than for financial reasons.”

Here are a few results of retirees not planning for the non-financial side of retirement:

  • Doctor visits increase because retirees are unmotivated and depressed, affecting their physical health.
  • The absence of work leads to boredom and purposelessness.
  • “Gray divorces” result from couples who struggle after one or both reach retirement.
  • Loneliness sets in because engagement with others is less than it was in the workforce.


To increase the chances of a fulfilling retirement and avoid being a statistic for failure, retirees should create a holistic retirement plan accounting for the financial and non-financial aspects of retirement. Focusing on these Five Lifestyle Arenas, from What Color is Your Retirement, by Richard Johnson, Ph. D., will help.

Career and Work: Yes, retirement means leaving a career, however some retirees may want opportunities to continue using their skills to feel purposeful. This can be through volunteering, a part-time job, or starting a business.

Health and Wellness: We are living longer. To maximize longevity, focus on regular exercise, healthy eating habits and sleep patterns, social interaction, and managing stress. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol use.

Finance and Insurance: Money plays a significant role in our lives and affords a sense of security when finances are in order. Retirees must continue to check in with themselves and a professional adviser, feeling confident with the plan in place.

Family and Relationships: It’s not unusual for the dynamics between family members and friends to change after retirement. It’s important to discuss anticipated changes: What will change, what will remain the same, and how to manage through what’s coming without fuss!

Leisure and Social Activities: This is what all retirees look forward to and deserve. It’s not only important to plan what will bring joy and fulfillment. Retirees also need to consider where to live that will bring enjoyment and safety.

Personal Development: While working, employees depend on company resources for personal development. After retiring, this responsibility falls on the retiree. The key is to stay curious, continue learning, and remain relevant in today’s world!

Cheers! I wish all retirees a successful escape!


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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