Satisfied With Retirement? — Yes or No?

Satisfied With RetirementThis question, are you satisfied with retirement, is not often asked enough. This is a stage of life looked forward to by many and quite often it is met with disillusionment and uncertainty.

Let’s explore this topic a bit to discover some of the apparent and not-so-apparent reasons for this. Regardless of the exact age, a person retires, this can be a very fulfilling part of life and actually a “new beginning” of further growth and adventure.

“I see retirement as just another of these reinventions, another chance to do new things and be a new version of myself.”

— Walt Mossberg — 


What is a Satisfying Retirement Anyway?

Well, one thing is for sure it is much more than money. Sure, finances can be an issue, but there are practical ways to address this. Financial assets to fund a desired retirement lifestyle such as Social Security, IRAs, the sale of a business, 401 (k)s, and pensions require good financial planning preferably with the assistance of a competent fiduciary investment advisor.

But this is really only half the saga of a satisfying retirement scenario. Money doesn’t bring happiness and satisfaction. We all know people that are financially secure but do not possess a peaceful state of mind. These folks will not find it easy to be satisfied with retirement.

Once a retirement plan is in place it is important to be aware and focus on some of the areas of retirement that are often neglected. These are attributes that money cannot buy.

Retirement Assets are Both Tangible and Intangible.

For example, a mindset that is full of possibility and positive expectation. This not only inspires us to stay fully engaged in life but has tremendous health benefits as well. According to an article in the JAMA Network, optimism increases cardiovascular health and other studies have shown increased longevity from an optimistic frame of mind. Our brains can be rewired for optimism.

Staying within the topic of health for a moment, consistent exercise contributes to a healthy mind and body as well. It’s hard to feel down-and-out when working out. A bit of exercise and a nourishing diet increase our mood, energy, and overall immune system functioning. It’s never too late to start. A short walk a few times a week is a great way to get things rolling.

Another important aspect of a satisfying retirement is our social network. This includes positive interactions with friends and family as well as hobbies and activities that we enjoy. Volunteer work can be fun and rewarding as well. After retiring we lose the social network at work (which may be good or bad depending on your former work setting) as well as getting out and about as part of our daily work routine.

Having a sense of purpose is important as well and that is why many choose a semi-retirement lifestyle that allows for time freedom but also working part-time in areas that we enjoy. For those who would find meaning and purpose in volunteering, there are resources available. Many retirees have admitted that they gain more satisfaction and happiness from assisting others than they do from only doing things for themselves. Check out Volunteer Match for information along these lines.

Another important aspect of being satisfied with retirement is keeping mentally active by being a life-long learner. I personally have no problem with this as I enjoy reading, researching, and learning more in many areas of life. Interestingly enough that when I was in college I did not enjoy reading much and would rely on taking good notes in class, but shortly after college I became enamored with books on various subjects. Now there are many benefits to this type of mental exercise just like with physical exercise. There are free college courses for seniors, classes at local senior centers, online classes, as well as the local library.

Related to a strong sense of purpose and staying mentally active is an appreciation of all that we have at this very moment. This type of gratitude for the present moment has tremendous benefits for our overall health and happiness. I also remember reading that it actually reduces people’s urge to buy stuff. Practice appreciation and gratitude mentally and/or in a journal for a few weeks and the benefits will be apparent.

Another important aspect of being satisfied with retirement is a good sense of humor. Regardless of challenges, life is too short to be overly serious about stuff.

One last thing that I will mention that helps with being satisfied with retirement is pet ownership. Research in Men’s Journal indicated that owning a dog can add years to your life. It will also get you out exercising when walking your canine friend. Birds, cats, or any animal you prefer will bring companionship. You can even foster a dog for a few days or weeks, or get home visits from a therapy dog. Therapy Dogs International is a great resource.

Retirement brings many challenges and life decisions, but it also offers many opportunities as well. It is really up to us to determine how satisfied with retirement we really are.


Are We Really Satisfied with Retirement?satisfied with retirement

As I just mentioned, this is a question we each have to answer based on our mindset and choices. Although we may have entered retirement with certain expectations that may not have materialized, it is never too late to reassess things and head in a different direction. Often all it takes is increased awareness of the options available to us.

Many are only coping with retirement because they are bored with retirement. The first few months may have been novel and exciting as a change of pace, but without any set plan or purpose in place, boredom can soon set in.

There is much retirement planning information available to us and it just requires a little research to figure out what is best for us and our families. With a few retirement basics in place, we can create the ideal retirement that we desire.

There was a study done in 2017 by Transamerica where it was discovered that ninety-seven percent (97%) of folks with a strong sense of purpose were pretty much happy during retirement, while seventy-six percent (76%) without that quality of mindset did not enjoy themselves as much.

Time spent with family and friends, enjoying hobbies, doing some volunteer work, and traveling around a bit does make a difference in how satisfied with retirement we really are. Let’s get some clarity of what we most desire and then have some fun creating our ideal retirement scenario.

Enjoy the journey,

Joseph William

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4 thoughts on “Satisfied With Retirement? — Yes or No?”

  1. This subject is getting closer and closer. I won’t say like a freight train coming headlong down the tracks at me – though at times it can feel like that. Right now I am about a year away from retirement. There is no escaping the reality that this will be a significant change for me. Certainly financially to begin with but also, I will transition from a situation now in my regular job where I am responsible for 300 staff to just having to look after myself and my immediate family. I have no doubt that this will be a major change in identity that I will have to come to terms with. I have plenty of activities to keep me busy, but I think perhaps this change of responsibilities will be something that will be a challenge. Best regards, Andy

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Andy. This can be seen as a great opportunity or new beginning to reinvent yourself in a way that maximizes all those valuable years of experience with your current interests and passions. It’s not only a way to fill the gap left from leaving that type of responsibility at work but a way to increase income and make a positive impact in the lives of others while doing things you enjoy. All the Best.

  2. Thank you for this article which was a really plesant and interesting read. I love you’re positive approach and the mention of a need for the preserving of a good sense of homour in retirement years. There is always more to learn, more to do and more to get passionate about in life. New skills can be developed and while it’s a big change to retire, it can, as you say, be the start of new growth and a new adventure.


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