Many of us consider success as defined by money. What are you worth, what can you buy, what do you own? The answers to these questions used to be the signifier of a life well lived. Not anymore as the focus of retirement has moved from money to health and well-being.
The Baby Boomers have once again caused a fundamental shift during this next phase of life. They feel decades younger than their parents did when they approached retirement. And just as they threw out their parent’s playbook as they moved into adulthood, they are once again breaking the rules.
Retirement isn’t what it used to be – that is, a short period after your working years. A time for slowing down, to cater to your body’s ailments. Spend less, live less. That was the past. Now, seniors live a full 20 to 30 years after their working days are over, and they aren’t acting like old people – they’re living, and living well. The result isn’t how much money you have, but what does your life look like? Below are the greatest indicators of a happy, successful life for retirees.
Success is now often defined by the people around us. Those who have the strongest family ties live in happy homes and feel loved by their family members who may not live nearby. A fulfilling social life keeps life interesting. It’s fun to do things with other people, and it gets seniors out and about. Strong social engagement is said to be one of the strongest indicators of happiness during retirement years. Today’s seniors are consistently engaged with people around them, which keeps them happy and fulfilled. A web of strong relationships is a chief desire for retirees today.
It shouldn’t come as much surprise that no one wants to be in poor health. Retirees are taking much better care of themselves than previous generations. They’re active, they’re cooking healthy food, and they just generally involve themselves in the world more, which all helps keep the body in good form. The result is a youthful appearance and great mobility, letting them live life to fullest. What could be more envious than that?
Sometimes it’s hard to stop working. Retired Baby Boomers are evidently not content to lie in bed all day. These seniors are often working years past the legal retirement age of 65. Now that we live longer, and health is so improved in the elderly, it makes sense to continue working, not just financially, but to keep mentally sharp. Others are okay to leave the workplace behind, but they become involved in their communities, in committees and charities. Studies find that people are happier when they wake up each day with a purpose.
Many seniors are also chasing life long dreams. Maybe it’s travel, or an art form, or an activity like dance or tennis or cards. New activities not only keep things fresh, they also offer a chance to learn, which most seniors value. When the days open up and time is ripe for the picking, today’s adventurous seniors go after their greatest desires. There’s no price on a fabulous sculpture created with just two hands, or a kayak sliding down a river. Experience is much more valuable than cold, hard cash.