Mind Set

Your Mind Set is an important influencer of your retirement.

Robert Conyne

2021-02-23 2 min read

Mind Set

A powerful prognosticator affecting life events can be found in our expectations for the event itself and our perspective of how positive or negative the event actually is unfolding.  These elements are central to one's Mindset, or the established set of attitudes held by individuals.  Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, has illustrated the characteristics of a "Growth" mindset (for example, "Challenges help me grow") and a "Fixed" mindset (for example, "I avoid challenges whenever I can").

Let's use the stock market as an illustration, fully realizing that I am not a financial planner, so maybe take this example with a couple grains of salt. But here goes, anyway.  If an investor expects the stock market always to move up and to the right (as suggested by the direction of the flowers on this page), and any personal stock investments to do the same, when there is a sudden drop in both then an immediate conflict with expectations is presented.   Depending in part on those expectations, high anxiety can set in, and it may become for some even difficult to sleep.  Consequently, all too frequently some investors may take abrupt action, such as selling stock, in an attempt to "right the ship, " lessen anxiety, and be corrective.  This act may be unwise because it fails to take account of perspective--a longer range viewpoint.  In this case, a realistic Mindset might acknowledge instead that somewhat regular drops in the market are completely typical and that perhaps the better action would be simply to do nothing and wait for the market to correct itself, which it historically has done over time.

Similarly, if prospective retirees expect retirement to always move "up and to the right", also,  they may be setting themselves up for discomfort and unnecessary anxiety.  Because it will not.  It will not move ahead like the six flowers depicted here, rather, as with investing, retirement will be marked by some ups and some downs.  An important Mindset strategy for managing one's retirement positively is to set realistic expectations for it, along with taking a long-term, not a short-term, perspective.

Of course, it's desired that retirement be relatively stable and fall decidely more on the "up" than the "down" side.  I invite you to refer to "Our Services" page on this Website; select "Frequently Asked Questions" and scroll down a bit to the section on "What does adapting to retirement mean?"  I'll highlight briefly the 3 phases of retirement discussed there:  Honeymoon (first 6 months of so), Let Down (3-18 months or so), and Reorientation (after around 24 months or so).  It's helpful to put this information into one's Mindset.  Although for any one person these 3 phases may not apply exactly, they do hold general predictive value.  Knowing about them can help one to set expectations, to plan, and perhaps to avoid the deeper setbacks that can appear--the Let Down phase, for instance.

Managing both expectations and perspective is important for a realistic and positive Mindset and for a retirement that can progress in a healthy direction.