The Reality of Retirement - Adapting to Change

For some, retirement is a longed-for dream of slow days, exotic travel, time with the family (or spent on the golf course) and an opportunity to have time to oneself! The reality of retirement, however, can be very different.

Retiring requires planning, it is an emotional change which requires thought and consideration so that it doesn’t become a huge disappointment.

Part of our value as financial planners is to help our clients prepare mentally for retirement, so their transition is as fruitful, comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

Below we consider some of the adjustments people make in retirement, all of which have been experienced by clients of Holland Hahn & Wills.


Retirement comes in many guises. It can be well planned, excitedly awaited, a seemingly distant dream, or a shock to the system. At Holland Hahn & Wills, we try to pave the way for this onset of emotions by discussing the impact of retirement on our clients.

We can help our clients prepare for what can be a psychologically testing time, in advance of their retirement. For example, the individual could be excited to find new hobbies, desire to travel or visit family, ramp up their exercise activities and put in place ways to adjust to the different pace of life. We discuss what is important to you, and how this can feature in your retirement plans, allowing you to live the life you want in retirement.


A change in environment is unsettling for many people. The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the environment for almost everyone, and there have been many studies on the importance of routine during this unsettling time, not least for those who are home schooling, juggling work, or adapting to a (voluntary or enforced) professional change.

Retirement brings a change in environment. The familiar routine abruptly ends, but could be replaced by a new timetable. Those who crave routine might find it beneficial to establish a new schedule as they adjust to their new lifestyle. Walking the dog might have been impossible due to an early morning commute, but could now provide the motivation to explore pastures new.

3. SET SMALL GOALS (The Bucket List)

Many people have a bucket list, whether to achieve in a month, a year or a lifetime. Sometimes associated with illness, a bucket list does in fact allow people to consider what they want to accomplish before a certain deadline. A retirement bucket list could replace the drudgery of work deadlines and projects whilst keeping a goal-focussed approach.

As financial planners, at Holland Hahn & Wills we like to understand our clients’ goals, dreams and aspirations. This helps us to tailor a financial plan which will enable people to enjoy their retirement as much as possible.


The buzz of a work space can sometimes be replaced by the silence of home on retirement. Regular social events are important, whether with family, friends, old work colleagues or new acquaintances. Hobbies such as golf or tennis offer the opportunity to meet new people, whilst others choose to learn a language to help their travels. The University of the Third Age (U3A) has been a lifeline to my mother in law, who has not only attended classes, but has also led several textile and embroidery classes where she has met both new and old friends.


Charity work, volunteering or even taking on a new role which is not financially motivated can be rewarding and refreshing. Roles such as a school governor, a non-exec board member or a teacher to cite a few possibilities can provide stimulation and social interaction which was previously provided by work. It could be an opportunity to learn more about a local community initiative, or to put valuable skills to good use.


Our aim is to help our clients enjoy a well deserved retirement. This means different things to different clients, but hopefully all our clients take on board the personal financial planning advice we give them so they can enjoy their retirement without financial worries. This change will likely require a revised budget – the expense could be the same, but money may be distributed on different aspects of life. For example, the allowance previously allocated for holiday and leisure activities may increase, but commuting expenses and workwear may decrease.


Our regular discussions with clients have shown us that it can take a while to settle into a happy rhythm of retirement. Hobbies, activities and routines do not always come naturally, and don’t initially provide the fulfilment of a work routine. Being the boss at work doesn’t automatically grant you the right to dictate the orders at home, so patience and flexibility are recommended to allow you to find the right balance.


As experts in the field of retirement planning, we pride ourselves on working to know our clients’ goals and plans. Our role is then to help set financial expectations to enable people to lead their best retirement, whilst keeping their financial affairs free from worry and stress.

I know first hand how different retirement experiences can be. When my mother retired after 30 years as a local GP, she filled her days with new hobbies she had longed to do. Learning Spanish, going to a soft furnishing class, playing bridge with friends, and joining a keep fit class took up a large part of her week, as well as enjoying lunch with friends and picking up her grandchildren from school. My father found it harder to retire from his career as a medical consultant which has, and still defines who he is. Although not governed by money, he ended up coming out of retirement to run some additional clinics as well as undertaking voluntary NHS work mentoring younger doctors. The intellectual stimulation and buzz of his work has been hard for him to recreate elsewhere.

If you know anyone who you think would benefit from our approach at HHW, please do encourage them to get in touch. We would welcome the opportunity to help ease the worry of retirement and are confident that an initial phone call could make the world of difference.

This article is for information purposes and should not be treated as advice. Individual circumstances should always be considered prior to purchasing any financial products. Any views expressed above are based on opinion and information received from a variety of sources which we believe to be reliable, but are not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness. Any expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice.