General Interest

After Fifty? Thinking of Retirement? Make It A Happy One! (Part 3)

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Let’s look at the final two “secrets” to a happy retirement, as was highlighted by Sidney Lagier in her recent US News’ article. The first 2 secrets were discussed in the posting here of July 25th and the next three secrets are discussed in the posting here on July 29th.� Here are the last 2 secrets.

Not Addicted To Achievement. In a way, I’m glad to see this secret listed here. I’ve never been a fan of addictions because by definition something or someone is out-of-control. Those who have spent time in the workplace have probably encountered an Achievement Addict. This is the person who claws and manipulates in an attempt to gain power, position, or both. It’s usually not a pretty scene to behold. We’ve all seen sweet and gentle souls lay injured on the sidelines while the Achievement Hog grinds Mr. Gentle’s face into the ground on the way to the very lonely top. But retirement can be the Great Equalizer – at least in terms of happiness and well-being. If you spent your career years seeking the “fix” for your achievement addiction, then the research says that you may find retirement to be a miserable state. How sad.

Having Enough Money. The key to this phrase is the word, “enough.” In Lagier’s article (see above), “enough” retirement income means being able to support your pre-retirement lifestyle during your retirement years. That’s going to be a tall order for many of us. In this recent article in AfterFiftyLiving, the Employee Benefit Research Institute says that more than 40% of Americans “are at risk of having too little retirement income.” In addition, 47% of early Boomers are “at risk of running out of money in retirement.” Looks like a sizeable number of us, then, are not headed toward retirement bliss. On a more positive note, though, if you choose to work during retirement, either as a volunteer or for pay (which you may need to survive), either full or part time, then you’ll be more healthy – and that, as was shown in the first article in this series, can lead to retirement happiness.

Happiness during the retirement stage in our lives, then, is very dependent on us: how well we nurtured our minds, our bodies, our relationships, and our bank accounts. If we didn’t score a perfect 100 on all these fronts, though, let’s not despair. We’re charting new territory here. We’re blazing a social trail. So let’s be gentle with one another and make these coming years as memorable as Woodstock … .

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