Are You Really Ready to Retire? 8 Steps to a Happy Retirement

Last year, Nick Crisci felt more than ready to retire.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Last year, Nick Crisci felt more than ready to retire. After working nonstop for 46 years, the 69-year-old feared the stress of his information technology job was affecting his health. Crisci, who lives in Pflugerville, Tex., prepared for retirement by whipping his finances into shape—paying off his mortgage and shifting some of his investments into Treasury bills to create a cash cushion. He also envisioned how he’d spend his days in retirement: gardening, reading, playing with his grandkids and working on his stamp collection.

But all that preparation didn’t make the transition easy. Since his November 2018 retirement, he has focused on staying busy, getting involved with his homeowners association, joining a senior community center and taking tai chi classes. But “it’s not fun yet,” he says. “I feel tired, not retired.” And the recent market downturn has further undermined his confidence. “I’m sitting here thinking, ‘How long will it take to recover from this?’ ” he says. “Did I pick the wrong time to retire?”

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Eleanor Laise
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Retirement Report
Laise covers retirement issues ranging from income investing and pension plans to long-term care and estate planning. She joined Kiplinger in 2011 from the Wall Street Journal, where as a staff reporter she covered mutual funds, retirement plans and other personal finance topics. Laise was previously a senior writer at SmartMoney magazine. She started her journalism career at Bloomberg Personal Finance magazine and holds a BA in English from Columbia University.