Preparing emotionally for retirement can be as important as preparing financially, experts say

The importance of preparing emotionally for retirement

Millions of baby boomers are retiring every day, and the focus is usually on preparing financially for the years ahead. 

But experts say it's just as important to get ready emotionally as well.

Andy Ritz left his pediatric practice after 34 years, thinking he was ready. The 64-year-old Ohio resident said retirement has been "fun" so far, and that, while he doesn't regret it, "I'm not gonna say I've enjoyed it." 

Ritz has enough money saved up, four rescue dogs for companionship and an impressive collection of film memorabilia, but he often feels as though something is missing.

"When I go to bed at night and I say, 'What did I do today that made it a better day for somebody else in the world?' And the answer if usually nothing," Ritz told CBS News.

Retirement is a seismic life change that can impact mental health. One study found that the prevalence of depression among retirees is about 29%.

Ritz started working with retirement coach Scott Miller.

"People underestimate the amount of change that is about to take place," Miller said of people entering retirement. He said retirement is about "finding meaning, living with a purpose and leaving a legacy."

Miller said the beginning of retirement, usually fueled by travel plans and other to-do lists, is often followed by loneliness. That's why experts say it's important for retirees to replace social connections lost in the workplace and identify and explore new passions, like using their skills to volunteer or mentor others.

Ritz is following that advice, joining the Rotary Club and helping United Way. He's even interested in the training required to have one of his dogs, Rollo, certified as a therapy dog for people in hospice care.

"If I didn't have social connections, I would stay here in my house and not do anything," Ritz said.


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