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Not an overnight event
Retirement requires an investment in your psychological portfolio, says psychologist and author Nancy Schlossberg.
Securing retirement

Spotlight: Nancy K. Schlossberg

There is more to life than money. Money you have to have, you have to have a base of money so you don't feel deprived. But given that, there is a lot more to life than money.

Your 'psychological portfolio'
Transitioning to retirement.
More to life than money.
Income withdrawal syndrome.
Coping with income withdrawal.
Recovering from "nonevents."
Should you relocate?

Speaking of money, what is "income withdrawal syndrome"?

What I found, in talking to some financial experts, when you have had a certain salary for a long time, when that check doesn't come in regularly, people go through what I call "income withdrawal syndrome."

They become panicky even though it's been explained to them what will replace that money and where those checks will come from.

And then they worry, if those checks are coming from their capital, about depleting it. They think, "I might outlive my money," and become afraid.

No matter how the financial adviser explains to you what you're going to get, there is this fear that you'll either deplete your assets or you won't have enough.

Now, the man who had a million-dollar-a-year pension, he wasn't worried about money.

How do people cope with income withdrawal syndrome besides securing million-dollar pensions?

In two ways. Time is one. Time takes care of a lot of things, and over time when you see that you're not going down the drain and there is stability in your financial plan, that is a great comfort.

Secondly, one of the best ways that people deal with transition (is) they incorporate it into their lives over time and they are no longer focused on that. Usually, they change their focus. For instance, "How am I going to spend my day? How am I going to make a contribution? How am I going to make sure that I still matter in the world?"

What happens if people don't get to retire when they plan to?

I did a series of studies on nonevents, and they are transitions that you expected or had a reasonable expectation of. You expected it to happen and when it doesn't, it can change your life as much as a transition event. And it is called a "nonevent."

-- Posted: June 23, 2008
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