What is “Successful Retirement?”

Given that we are all unique, the nature of “success” in retirement will be different for each of us in terms of specifics.  And, given increasing lifespans, and the changes that come with shifting financial and physical resources, our perspective will probably evolve over time. However, there are five common factors that affect just about everyone’s view of whether his or her retirement is satisfying and fulfilling.

1. Staying Engaged With Life – People who study successful aging and retirement tell us that using our minds and bodies, and interacting with others are keys to a happy and healthy retirement life.  Good genes and money help of course, but we can’t pick our ancestors and our financial situation is whatever we have made it. The focus of The Successful Retirement Guide is to assist you in identifying activities that will help you remain engaged intellectually, socially and physically.

2. Positive Attitude – Retirement brings many changes and we need to be able to adjust to them and control them to the extent to which we are able. Beyond the transition from full-time employment, over time there will likely be changes in finances, health, relationships, housing and other aspects of life. A positive attitude can help us take advantage of opportunities and “roll with the punches” if need be. We can support a positive attitude by planning what we are going to accomplish in retirement and not just letting things happen to us. Your work life brought you opportunities for accomplishment, status, productivity, structure and companionship. Developing activities in retirement to keep you engaged in a similar fashion will help support your sense of purpose and positive attitude.

3. Healthy Mind and Body – There are hundreds of activities to help us keep our minds and bodies sound and supportive of an engaged lifestyle. We are what we do. If we simply “veg out” that’s what we will turn into. Successful retirees strive to live each day to the fullest, exercise their minds and bodies and challenge themselves to continue to learn and grow personally. The Successful Retirement Guide can help you identify activities that are right for you.

4. Supportive Social and Family Network – While the extent of desire to be with others will vary by individual, the sharing of our lives and experiences is a basic human need. While you were working you had a “built-in” social network in the workplace. In retirement, most of us still have friends and family that were not associated with the workplace, but we may need to supplement these groups with new friends and acquaintances. There are many ways to do this, e.g., by taking classes, part-time work, volunteering, associations and the like. And it remains important to find ways to nurture and celebrate the relationships you already have in place.

5. Financial Comfort – Financial comfort means that the lifestyle you choose to live can be accomplished with the financial resources available to you. If financial comfort does not exist you need to adjust either your lifestyle or your resources. If you don’t make an adjustment when one is needed, the result will be stress which is one of the great destroyers of successful retirements. The Successful Retirement Guide does not give financial advice but it can help you identify activities to keep you intellectually, socially and physically engaged with life whatever your financial resources.

R. Kevin Price, 2008


© 2008-2009 R.K. Price


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