4 Phases of Retirement by Dr. Riley Moynes

The 4 Phases of Retirement – Are you prepared to retire?


I recently listened to a TEDx talk by Dr. Riley Moynes and it resonated with me.   My interest peaked because at my age and stage in life I get asked, (a lot) when I am going to retire.   My answer has always been when I am ready or feel I am not able to contribute to “my” state of well-being.   Which means when I am no longer capable of living on this earth.   To me, retirement is a state of mind and I do not conform to the norm because I choose at a young age to be different.  This does not mean the norm is right or wrong, it just means this was my choice and does not suit everyone.

You see, I have never worked a routine 9-5 job and rarely answered to a “boss” or had a routine. I am fortunate enough that I have been preparing for retirement since I started working as an independent self-employed person at the age of 20.   Not everyone has the mindset or wants to work independently and I know that.   However, when retirement comes into play it will affect all of us in different ways.

The majority of people I know have worked all their lives at a job that required them to be on the clock.   Be it the corporate environment answering to superiors or working eight-hour shifts, day in and day out.   When working independently as a salesperson, you are never off the clock, you create your clock and answer to yourself or your clients.   The beauty of this is that you determine when to work, who to work with, and when not to work.  Depending on how hard you work you get to enjoy plenty of free time to do other things in between.  I do understand that not everyone is capable of living in this environment and I get that.  However, when you do decide to retire from whatever career you are in, Dr, Moynes explains there are 4 stages of retirement you must be made aware of.

Here is what I learned and took away from Dr. Riley Moynes's talk: 

He explains there are 4 phases of retirement and if we are lucky enough to get to the 4th stage we will finally enjoy retirement and “squeeze all the juice out of retirement.”

Phase 1  is called the Vacation Phase:

Before you retire you need to be aware of the 2 things.  First and foremost, you need to be financially ready to retire before you make the big announcement.  And you also need to be aware of the physiological impact it will have on you. 

We are amid a retirement tidal wave and there are going to be a lot of people playing PICKLEBALL and going on VACATIONS in the years to come.  Like a lineup at a Disney World Ride the amount of people retiring is going to be enormous and the baby boom is in full retirement mode right now.  Phase 1 is also called the honeymoon phase and is all about doing what you want when you want, sleeping in, going for a walk, and taking a vacation.  No one is there to tell you what to do, and you have no routine.  FREEDOM!  Or so it seems, this lasts for about a year or two, and then it becomes boring.  

Phase 2 begins when feelings emerge of no routine or purpose.  We begin to feel lost and need to do something to be fulfilled. Dr. Moynes says we lose 5 things in this phase:

  1. Routine
  2. Identity
  3. Relationships
  4. Purpose
  5. And for some the loss of Power

He says we won't see them coming and we also might see the 3 D’s:

  1. Divorce
  2. Depression
  3. And Decline in physical and mental health

This phase is inevitable and we must recognize that we will experience some or all of these symptoms.  This is where we need to take control of our senses and get ready to move into phase 3.

Phase 3 we begin to ask ourselves:

“How can I make my life meaningful again?”

“How can I contribute to my life to regain my purpose?”

The answer is to start doing things that we love to do and enjoy doing.  However, be prepared for failure.  This is a trial and error phase and some of the things we love to do, you may not be able to do anymore.   This is especially true if health issues come up.   Recognize the limitations and try and do something else that you are capable of doing and love.  Keep experimenting with things till you find what works and gives you a purpose.   If you don’t, you will fall back into phase 2 and that’s not a good thing.  Don’t give up trying!   

Unfortunately, not everyone breaks into phase 4, but if you do it will bring you joy and happiness!

Phase 4 is the phase to “squeeze all the juice out of retirement.”    In this phase, you will discover your sense of purpose and accomplishment.   You will begin to feel satisfied and you will find who you are and give you the energy to get up in the morning and just be happy.   In almost all cases this is accomplished by being of “service to others.” 

You may enjoy volunteering at a charity, or maybe you might like getting together with friends at a social club, helping family, or learning something new by taking a class about something you are interested in.  Whatever it is make it something you love and give you satisfaction in doing it. 

This should not be a job, (although it can be) it is an activity that you love to do and brings you a feeling of accomplishment after doing it.  It does not have to be physical, but more importantly, it could also be mental.  Exercise your brain by joining an organization where you can share your knowledge.  Join your local Chamber of Commerce, or Rotary, and meet new people in your community.  Share your ideas, in your field of expertise and voice your opinions with like-minded people.  It is amazing how different we all are and the knowledge we possess and express is so valuable to others. 

Phase 4 eliminates the losses of Phase 2, which are:

  1. Loss of Routine
  2. Loss of Identity
  3. Loss of Relationships
  4. Loss of Purpose
  5. And loss of Power

In summary, Dr. Moynes says to enjoy the Vacation in Phase 1, prepare for the losses of Phase 2, experiment with the trials and tribulations of Phase 3, and if you make it to Phase 4, squeeze all the juice out of retirement.

I hope you enjoyed my interpretation of the Retirement Phases by Dr. Riley Moynes.

To view the full TEDx talk on YouTube,  here is the link:

If you are retiring and selling your home is part of your retirement plan, call me for a FREE Market Evaluation.   I am always here to help you.   My advice is FREE and the information is invaluable.

Tony Rinella - B.A. Urban Studies (1981)

Ethos Realty