Have you considered how your life will change once you stop working? You may envision yourself travelling, spending time with family, or focusing on your hobbies. These may very well be what you will be doing in retirement, but there is another experience that many retirees encounter – and that’s the emotional struggle that comes with determining their new identity. Because we often intermingle our identity with our work, we can be dealt quite a shock when determining “who we are” in retirement.

Author Calvin Goetz, co-founder of Strategy Financial Group, LLC, an Arizona registered investment advisor, has dedicated more than a decade of his professional career to serving the financial and retirement planning needs of clients across the nation.

Many people identify strongly with what they do and the relationships they keep. You may identify as a corporate executive, a physician, an attorney, or a business owner. In retirement, professional identifications may begin to fade away. This leaves a gap in how you identify yourself, but it also creates an opportunity for new growth in your personal development. So, how do you re-think your identity and your place in the world?

There are different ways to approach finding one’s new identity in retirement according to retired counseling psychology professor, Nancy Schlossberg:

Be a searcher. This is someone who looks into different activities and hobbies once retired, similar to a high school graduate trying different things before settling on a college major. Searchers may seek out different volunteer opportunities, take on new projects, or try a new hobby.

Be an adventurer. People in this category typically seek out an entirely new adventure – an architect may become an artist, or a dentist may become a baker. Adventurers see retirement as a way to make an exciting change in life.

Be a continuer. Continuers take something they did in a previous career and adjust it to continue on through retirement. For example, a journalist might become an author or start a blog. Continuers maintain some form of their work-related identity but it manifests in a different way.

Be an easy glider or retreater. Easy gliders are people who don’t have a set schedule and may do something different each day, and retreaters are those who stay at home until they decide what path they want to take next.

Preparation for retirement goes beyond making sure you have enough income; it requires patience, adjustments and consideration into your new purpose in life. Prepare yourself emotionally and acknowledge that you are transitioning into a new lifestyle, with new friends, experiences, and most likely a new identity.


Financial adviser, retirement wealth strategist, founder of Strategy Financial Group and author of “Climbing the Retirement Mountain” and “The Retirement Roadmap,” Calvin Goetz is an Investment Adviser Representative who holds the Series 65 securities license, is life and health insurance licensed in the state of Arizona and is a member of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor Group™ and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA). For more information, visit StrategyFinancialGroup.com