Based on her extensive body of research studying retirees, psychologist Dr. Nancy K. Schlossberg has identified six ways in which people approach retirement. Understanding your own “retirement type” helps you put your own strengths and resources to work in a positive way, says Schlossberg. Few retirees, however, will actually stay on the same pathway forever, and may shift from one path to another as their needs and interests change.
These retirees continue to use their existing skills and interests, but modify them to fit retirement. For instance, Schlossberg is a retired professor who no longer teaches but writes articles related to her former field.
Someone who enjoys unscheduled time and letting each day unfold. Easy Gliders don’t have an agenda, and they’re perfectly comfortable not having one.
A Retreater will take time out to think or perhaps disengage from life. This is the only potentially negative retirement personality type: While some might only be taking a temporary sabbatical from activities while they reassess their goals, there’s a danger of fading away as a couch potato.
These are the retirees who care deeply about the world, but engage less actively. Think of an art director who retires but still goes to museums or a politician who remains a news junkie.
Someone who explores new options through trial and error. Searchers might talk to people in fields they’re interested in and volunteer for different projects. If they don’t like one avenue, they’ll try something else. This is much like what happens to students who don’t know exactly what they want to do when they graduate, so they search and struggle to find their way. If you find yourself here, you may benefit from career counseling and support to find a new direction.
People with this personality type view retirement as an opportunity to start new endeavors, make daring changes in their lives and trying new things. Adventurers will often take regrets they have about things they wish they’d done during their working lives and funnel them into a new plan.