However much you might be counting down the days to freedom, if you’re in a reasonably-paid, moderate-status job, or running your own business, retirement could be a shock to your system. Once you’ve gloried in the honeymoon period of lie-ins, and enjoyed some well-earned rest & relaxation – what next?

It can be an unwelcome surprise to find the world carries on without you. The self-worth and identity obtained from your career, and the day-to-day banter (and annoyances) of your work colleagues disappear, leaving you with an unfamiliar future ahead.

Our blog discusses ideas for preparing emotionally for retirement, to ensure you make the most of your new found free time and enjoy a healthy and happy new life stage from the outset.

Mentally Preparing For Retirement In The UK

Is not a subject often discussed before it happens. We look forward to the freedom from the daily grind, and hopefully realise the importance of advice and planning to set us up for a financially sound and happy retirement.

Tools such as the:

Pension Calculator:

Early retirement calculator UK

Benefits calculator

plus pension reviews and updates assist us in arriving at a realistic view of our likely income.

Pension Calculator

Steps To Take To Become All-Round Ready To Face And Enjoy Retirement

Work Out Your Budget

It’s no use expecting an annual luxury world tour and premium golf or tennis club membership if you can’t afford it. An essential element of retirement planning should be listing your projected income and expenses so you know what will be left for fun after essentials.

gold piggy bank

You may have reduced daily costs without the commute, lunches and coffees, but increased home bills and leisure costs. You might need to replace a company car or cover private medical costs.

If you have a modest cost of living and potential investment growth and passive income, you may not need as much to retire as you imagine. Financial security and independence is about how much you spend, because this determines how much you need.

Optimise Your Physical Health

Older people who rate their health as poor are more likely to be lonely, depressed, and obese (with related illnesses).

To live longer with a good quality of life:

  • sort out vision and hearing problems

  • plan your environment to prevent falls

  • eat healthy food

  • limit alcohol

  • keep physically active by developing an exercise habit


Develop Positive Mental Health

You will probably encounter a mix of feelings and thoughts as you embark on this major life change. When preparing for your new reality, remain optimistic, take responsibility and make the most of your circumstances.


Plan what you’re going to do with the free time you will have on your hands.

Consider creating a new daily routine.

Be positive, enjoy spending time with retired friends, go out and do things – believe that you still have a contribution to make.

Feeling good about yourself, your achievements and your ability to manage new challenges is essential.

You could phase your retirement, retiring gradually after reducing days worked per week. This can ease the culture shock and provide time to acclimatise to a new life stage.

Or take up a part-time paid or unpaid role, such as consulting or board membership, to increase income and challenge your brain.

Decide On New Life Goals

Choose carefully how you will spend your time and create a new lifestyle.

Develop a hobby or interest while still employed, or self- employed, which you can build on when you leave work.


Your social circle might get smaller when you retire, so proactively make friends by joining a club, community facility, volunteer programme or evening class.

You may miss the intellectual stimulation of the workplace. Stay engaged with the world, maintain your interactions and sense of purpose to maximise your quality of life.

Involve your spouse in deciding upon your changing roles at home, as you will both need to adjust to the new circumstances.

Plan Your Retirement Bucket List

Most people see retirement as an opportunity to fulfil all the dreams they’ve held for years, but haven’t had time to carry out.

Retirement bucket list ideas could include those listed in a survey by Skipton Building Society, such as:

  • Seeing the Northern Lights, buying a dog, travelling around the country by train, getting an allotment, re-visiting your honeymoon destination.

  • Writing a book, taking lessons in cooking, painting or language.

  • Spending more time with grandchildren, taking them to Disneyland, or to see Father Christmas in Lapland.

  • Visiting Route 66 in America, The Great Wall of China, the Maldives and Las Vegas.

  • A trip to Stonehenge, taking afternoon tea at the Ritz, hiking in the Lake District.

  • Doing tasks like sorting the loft out, re-decorating the house, putting photographs into albums, and gardening projects.

Once you have worked through preparing emotionally for retirement and decided you are ready:

How to Retire Early in the UK

If retiring early in the UK, you usually receive a smaller pension than if you worked to normal retirement age.

  • Find out when you can collect your Workplace and State pensions. The earliest you can normally take a workplace pension is age 55, and a state pension is age 66 (from 2020). (Also, take a look at my article: What Is A Good Pension Pot at 55)
  • Ask your employer for an illustration of the pension you’ll get if you were to leave earlier than expected.

  • Get a forecast from any other workplace or personal pensions / SIPPs you have, if you want to start those early too.

  • Talk to a qualified independent financial adviser who can explain your pension fund options and their tax implications, such as buying an annuity or receiving a defined benefit pension sum.

To speak to a Cardiff financial adviser, contact Tony Thomas on 07585 592494 or or book an appointment by clicking the button below.