Personal Finance

Navigating challenges in your first year out of work


Retired You is Still You. Retirement doesn't erase your identity. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

Retirement—a chapter of true financial freedom and perpetual leisure. This is what we picture when we imagine gaining control of the over 2,500 hours usually dedicated to work each year. While the prospect of unlimited freedom is enticing, the reality is far from a lap of luxury. Transitioning from a structured work life to unbridled freedom comes with its own set of challenges.

Change, rest, and transition were the most commonly used words by retirees to define retirement in a Retired but Not Tired survey conducted by the pension administrator, Enwealth.

First, know that change is inevitable – don’t resist it. Bid farewell to colleagues and the familiar workplace, and possibly downsizing from the family home or moving to your retirement home in the village.

Acknowledge this transition, allowing room for both the excitement and difficulty that accompanies it. Retirement is a process, not an immediate transformation.

You have spent the last two decades or more on a defined routine with organised events almost every day. The absence of this fixed schedule can be disorienting. In retirement, you shape your own routine. Establishing a balance is crucial—engage in core pursuits to fill your time, whether volunteering, singing in the choir, pursuing hobbies, or taking up educational courses.

Research indicates that retirees with 3.6 core pursuits report higher happiness. Put emphasis on active engagement and view retirement as a change to a self-managed active life.

Remember, though, that excessive scheduling can lead to burnout. While structure is essential, rest is equally important and your body needs it. Grant yourself the liberty to trim your to-do list when needed. Quality, not quantity, defines a fulfilling retirement.

Retired You is Still You. Retirement doesn't erase your identity. The things that brought joy—family, hobbies, or sports—remain vital. Release yourself from self-imposed expectations, allowing your interests to guide your retirement journey. If you love spending time with your family, playing golf, or reading, indulge in these activities.

Finances is the most widely discussed piece of the retirement puzzle but it cannot be overemphasized. It’s important to have your financial ducks in a row as the shift from a steady income source can induce stress. Even with income from investments, pension, and overall financial health, many people panic when their paycheck does not reflect in their bank as has been the routine.

Open communication with your partner about post-retirement budgeting is essential. Consider part-time work during the transition, easing into full retirement gradually. With all of the expertise you’ve amassed during your career, you should have no trouble finding some consulting work or the like to bring in some extra cash. Alternatively, you could take up agribusiness like most other retirees according to the Retired but Not Tired research by Enwealth.

Our country’s economic volatility, limited pension coverage, and traditionally low savings culture pose unique challenges. The Kenyan retiree must navigate a landscape where longevity risk, healthcare costs, and inflation erode financial stability.

Financial literacy, often overlooked, is crucial for informed decision-making. Consult a financial advisor to understand your pension investment options such as annuities, income drawdowns, and similar opportunities.

Albanus Muthoka is the Assistant General Manager, of Enwealth Financial Services Limited.