Retirement Lifestyle Planning - Five Habits of Highly Successful Retirees
Five Habits of Highly Successful Retirees
Years ago, Stephen Covey taught us that there are some simple habits that highly effective people adopt. It’s also true of highly successful retirees – people who are flourishing.
Edward Jones and Age Wave have conducted several excellent studies about how people prepare for and adapt to retirement. Their analysis of these studies shows that people with the highest quality of life in retirement have five things in common:
1. They attend to their health.
One of the things that most people say they are going to do when they retire is improve their exercise and eating habits. Yet, sadly, research tells us that less than half of those who expressed that intention actually followed through.
It’s never too late to make these changes. Even if you never had time to exercise in the past you will still benefit from doing it now. The same is true of healthy eating. But you need a plan to do both of those things or nothing will happen.
Two actions that will help you follow through with your intention are:
- Write down what you intend to do.
- Ask someone to be your accountability partner – to check that you are doing what you intended. You are far more likely to do something if you have told someone you are going to do it and you know they will be asking you if you did it.
2. They stay socially engaged.
We all know that there is a strong relationship between physical activity and our vitality. Now there are a number of studies that tell us that there is also a strong link between having social connections and our mental and physical well-being – and it appears to be even more important in this stage of our lives.
One of the studies that tells us this is the Harvard Study of Adult Development which has been conducted for 80 years. Over that time, researchers studied the participants’ health and their broader lives. They looked at participants’ triumphs and failures in careers and marriage, and the findings include some startling lessons.
“The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships have a powerful influence on our health,” said Robert Waldinger, director of the study, psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Taking care of your body is important but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.”
3. They have a clear sense of purpose.
One of the big holes retirement creates is losing the feeling that you are making a difference. Having a sense of purpose and meaning is necessary for successful aging according to Dr. Roger Landry, a preventative medicine physician, in his book Live Long, Die Short: A Guide to Authentic Health and Successful Aging. Landry’s book is based on a ten-year study conducted by the MacArthur Foundation that changed the way the medical profession looks at aging.
Some great sources for how to uncover your purpose are Richard Leider’s books and YouTube videos.
4. They mindfully manage their finances and keep them on track.
Your financial advisor is your resource to support you with this key contributor to flourishing in retirement.
5. They are willing to course correct to achieve their retirement dreams.
You don’t have to get it right the first…or second...or third time. Being willing to course correct requires resilience. Resilience is a skill. Being able to bounce back from life’s setbacks is a skill that can be learned by everyone at any time.
When you have the tools of knowledge and insight you are much better equipped to prepare for and successfully navigate the sometimes-rocky waters into retirement. You will be able to flourish and make the most of the opportunities and challenges of your new life.