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I spend much of my time dealing with what’s called seller's remorse. This is when someone sells their business and then finds they wish they hadn’t. Besides seller's remorse, there’s also retiree’s remorse. Just like being unhappy after selling your business, you might become unhappy that you left your job.

I’m hoping that neither of these are something you’re experiencing now. But, if you are… here are some tips that might help you get through your remorse a little easier.

What causes seller and retiree remorse?

I believe the main reason we have any remorse about leaving our job or business is because we lose the social connections that we have. We also often lose meaning in our life because what makes us into who we think we are disappears.

I call this a lack of a compelling vision for the future. When the phone stops ringing, it’s important to have something to fill the void.

For most of us, we’ve spent a career where we have some place to go. When you retire that some place disappears. What are you going to do and how are you going to spend that time? Unless you have a good answer to this question, the chance of you having some remorse is high.

You often talk about managing transitions. What do you mean by that?

There are four areas of transition. They are:

  1. Anticipation - This is where you think about and expect a change is about to happen. In this case retiring.
  2. Ending - This is where something in your life ends. Here it would be retirement.
  3. Passage - This is the hard part. This is where you go from what you had (working) to where you will be. (retirement) This is the stage where retiree’s remorse happens.
  4. New normal - This is when you’ve made the adjustment of leaving the working world to whatever is next in your life. Or, it could even go from leaving one type of working world to another type. Either way, it’s when you feel you’re in control of your life.

Each of these stages happens and of the four, passage is the most difficult to make it through. Because you’re moving from one stage of your life to another, there is change that happens. We know that change can be difficult and for most people going through retirement this is where you get to re-write your life scripts. This can and often causes some pain or at the very least a readjustment in your life.

Why is having a fulfilling retirement important?

I think the answer to this question is easy. When we retire, even if it’s at 70 or later, we still have a lot of life ahead of us. If we’re lucky, our health will be good and we get to enjoy many years of working on things we want or things that might have more meaning for us than what we did during our working years.

This is the time where you get to use your wisdom to help others if that’s your thing. It’s a time where you want to make sure whatever you’re doing is fulfilling for you. Without this you might just wonder what it’s all about and not be happy with the decision you made to leave here you were.

You mean golf will not be enough.

Yup, that’s what I mean. Golf isn’t enough. The bad news is you will have to develop some new interests. The good news is you will have to develop some new interests.

Retirement is a time where you get to think about the things in your life you wish you had done. Now, you likely have the time to do it.

We are always interested and willing to help you think through the options you have after you leave your business or your job. It might be a conversation that will add tons of value to your life.

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Topics: retirement, transitions, Seller's remorse, retirement remorse

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