4 Emotions New Federal Retirees May Experience

Retirement is a life changing event, and new retirees are likely to experience a variety of emotions as they make the transition.

Retirement is a big life-changing event. It is a time that provides you with the chance to travel more, spend time with your family, or do nothing at all. However, federal retirement does not come without challenges. In a way, federal retirees experience an emotional roller coaster ride.

After working 30 plus years for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Susie decided it was time to retire. Twelve years later she still has to pinch herself every morning to make sure that she’s not dreaming. Retirement was an eye opener for her. All of a sudden, she had free time to garden, exercise, and catch-up on her reading. It was quite the adjustment. Some days she has no idea what to do with herself!

Federal employees who have spent countless hours working to save and build a solid nest egg are realizing that the end is drawing near. The time is approaching to focus more on passions and hobbies. You know, the things in life you wanted to do but had to put on the back burner over the years. Through preparation and a positive point of view, you can make the next chapter of your life the best one yet!

The next chapter of your life will be completely different than the one you have lived thus far. You can sleep in as late you want and stay in your pajamas all day. Forget hour-long meetings or having to travel to a conference event. Your life will be “your life.” 

Here are 4 emotions new federal retirees can experience.


As you near the end of your career, you may feel a sense of joy. You get to start a new chapter in life that only you can write.

Beforehand, every day was spoken for. Monday through Friday consisted of a nine -to-five job.

In federal retirement, each day grants a chance to do something you desire to do rather than what is required TO DO. This new-found freedom could allow you the chance to pursue your passions and interests. When you’re no longer required to clock in and out every day, you’re able to focus on what matters most to you. 


For those who have never been retired before, this will be foreign territory. There might be times of uncertainty about the future regarding whether or not you will make it financially.

Some federal retirees have expressed concern over their health. Specifically, will they live a long healthy life in retirement?

When emotions begin to take over, remind yourself that your life is your own. You are in control! Avoid negative thinking about everything that can go wrong and instead imagine what could go right! That way you don’t miss out on being present in what life has to offer.

One key to reducing anxiety is to have a plan. Consider working with a financial planner who understands your federal benefits. Read some great books like The Retirement Boom by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, and Rita Foley to help you build out what a significant retirement might look like.


As an employee, our days are predetermined. Meaning, we have a routine. We get up, get dressed and eat breakfast, drive to work, go about our meetings and endless paperwork, then drive home in the afternoon. Day in and day out, Monday through Friday, it is the same routine.

In retirement, you choose if there is a routine. Each day is a new day and you get to decide what is on the agenda. Try new things or explore new places. The choice is yours. 


Relief provides a feeling of reassurance and relaxation once anxiety and stress have been released.

Since we were young we have experienced good times and bad. Life has been full of uncertainty. The cloud of doubt as to whether or not you will make it to retirement is no longer lingering over your head. Instead, your time is yours to enjoy and spend how you see fit. This is your time. Your year. Your moment. Make the most of it.

The transition from federal employee to federal retiree is not an easy one. It takes time and patience to start all over again. Essentially you are recreating yourself. Hang in there. Be aware of the emotional obstacles that you may face along the way. Enjoy the ride any way.

Disclosure: The information contained in these blogs should not be used in any actual transaction without the advice and guidance of a tax or financial professional who is familiar with all the relevant facts. The information contained here is general in nature and is not intended as legal, tax or investment advice. Furthermore, the information contained herein may not be applicable to or suitable for the individuals’ specific circumstances or needs and may require consideration of other matters. RBI is not a broker-dealer, investment advisory firm, insurance company, or agency and does not provide investment or insurance-related advice or recommendations. Brandon Christy, President of RBI, is also president of Christy Capital Management, Inc. (CCM), a registered investment advisor.

About the Author

Brandon Christy, CPA, PFS, is the founder and president of Retirement Benefits Institute, Inc. He is an established leader in contracted federal retirement benefits education, and his company has trained over 10,000 federal employees to help them gain clarity and confidence in retirement.