Category: Retirement Success and Inspiration

This Active Retiree Shares His 3 Keys to Retirement Success

This Active Retiree Shares His 3 Keys to Retirement Success

Imagine you are in the peak of your career, in the top pack, and with a change of the head honcho, you are suddenly packing your personal things and bringing them home to stay. ‘Retired’ at age 53 was not in this ambitious guy’s game plan, yet he discovered whole new possibilities and is living a rich and fulfilling retirement life.  What’s his secret?  Read on!


A Guy You Can Count On

I first met Pierre-Yves, known as P-Y, at a community meeting over three years ago. He was the first person to volunteer when I asked for help on a community project, and he is still dependably committed to the project.  He’s that type of guy. You can count on him. Disciplined. I guess that’s what 33 years of RCMP life will do to you.

He’s the president of his neighbourhood association, captain of his tennis roster, plays hockey in his son’s league, goes to the gym regularly, volunteers in an entrepreneurial  behaviour intervention youth program, calls his 91-year-old Mum every morning, convenes large family gatherings AND has a thriving consulting business.  Not to mention, he also earned a master’s degree in retirement.

 “People tend to sell themselves short once they retire.”


Health First

Some people play hockey to stay in shape, P-Y stays in shape so he can play hockey, ski with his grandkids and do all the other things he loves. Taking care of your health is the first key to a successful retirement for P-Y.  Staying fit and maintaining a good energy level were a priority for P-Y throughout his career and still are now.  He scheduled gym time in his busy first career and continues in his retirement.

“Once you leave work, the most important asset you have is your health, and the second is your network.”


The Perfect Segue

Key number 2. Build your network. P-Y likes meeting new people and learning new things.  He has grown his network both purposely and serendipitously.  One consulting project led to another, which led to collaboration with academics at an international level, which broadened his circle, and now he’s the go-to-guy on public safety topics for top-tier journalists. His world changed from one of structure and hierarchy to one full of possibilities beyond his imagination.  How?  He nurtured and expanded his network.

“Your network can translate into a lot of growth in your second career. Even now, after 10 years, it’s still paying off.” 


It’s more than having lunch with your past work buddies. P-Y invests time and money to attend relevant conferences, nationally and internationally. “The more opportunity to meet people, the more opportunity you have.” He seeks out face time with new leaders in his field and keeps abreast of the current issues facing his potential clients. Which leads us to his third key.


Maintain Your Relevancy

This is the antidote to the old notion of retirement where you retreat from life. “Relevancy is healthy for retirement.”  Finding and being open to opportunities to contribute, being relevant, is the common denominator for P-Y in retirement.  Not only for his clients, but also for his community, family, relationships and future generations.  Hence his community involvement, daily Mum calls, family gatherings, youth mentorship and continued learning.

“I will never actually retire, I will always look for opportunities to grow personally and to help the community.  It’s been fun so far.”


P-Y has seen colleagues walk aimlessly through retirement and believes that the earlier you plan your retirement lifestyle the more fulfilling it will be.  “Relevancy is the key and you need to have the tools in the toolbox to keep this relevancy alive.”  Relevancy brings connectivity, something that can be easily lost in retirement. To me, P-Y is a good example for ‘self-directedness”, an important retirement trait shared in my last post.


Words of Wisdom


 “Remain relevant and have the physical and mental means to do so.  In all aspects of your life.”


Care to share?

Retirement: One Trait Needed to Live the Life You Dreamed

Retirement: One Trait Needed to Live the Life You Dreamed

There is one trait you will want to embrace that will make the difference between a listless retirement and one that fulfills you.  It’s a skill you likely practiced daily in your work career, but may have lost the opportunity to do so in retirement.  It marks the difference between the ‘old’ retirement – that of the rocking chair life, and the new retirement which is as unique as you.


 Lost Opportunity

At work we had the opportunity in some way to take charge of our tasks, our schedule, our day to varying degrees.  How you formulate your presentations, how you finesse your sales pitch, or how you solve the problem of the day. You find a way to apply your uniqueness in carrying out your role at work.

In retirement, we lose the opportunity, not the skill, to direct activities our way.  We may no longer have important problems to solve or people to collaborate with.  We lose the opportunity to organize how we work and what we do in a meaningful way. We may feel a little lost, inferior and directionless.

“If you take away one’s ability to make decisions, you take away their life force.”  Dr. Richard Richardson


You’re at Risk if…

You are used to other people planning your activities.  We all need some degree of order and organization in our lives.  Some of us let others decide for us and we follow along. Our social agenda, household budget, and leisure time are just some items that can be organized by others. We may amble through life without expressing our own uniqueness.

We run the risk of living a life designed by someone else.


 The Trait that Makes the Difference

 Want more from your retirement?  A good dose of ‘self-directedness’ is the cure.  Yes, that ability to map your own direction, purpose and attitudes. Self-directedness is one of the 15 retirement success factors determined by Dr. Johnson’s research, founder of Retirement Options.

Be the captain of your own ship on your journey of personal growth. 


Yes, that means taking charge of your retirement.  Don’t just sit back in that rocking chair and let it happen.   Get up and make the choices that fulfill you … and act on them!  It’s about designing your own, unique retirement plan and/or one that suits both you and your partner.  Reflect on how you will find a new purpose in life (learn how in this post).  What personal growth do you want to explore?  What hobbies and leisure activities peak your interest?  What will bring you life satisfaction?  It’s your life, plan it your way!


One Word of Caution

A little bit of flexibility goes a long way.  Let’s not be so focused on our own goals that we bull-doze over our partner’s or love ones’.  We don’t want to be that stubborn old person, who says “my way or the highway”!  Right?

Care to share?

Boomers: 3 Posts to Start 2018 Right

Boomers: 3 Posts to Start 2018 Right

Your health, happiness and retirement are likely on your mind if you are a baby-boomer. As we move into the third stage of our lives, our ‘next third’, we are facing considerable changes and likely some uncertainty.  How will my health hold out?  Am I ready to retire?  What will I do to be happy and fulfilled?  Here are three posts from the Next3rd blog that will help you set your intentions for 2018:


Over 50? How to Reboot your Bod

You may have been blessed with good health until now or perhaps those aches, pains and extra pounds are starting to hamper you. Either way, now is the time to pay more attention to your health.  Study after study, tell us that exercise and good nutrition help us age well.

This post highlights tips from the insightful and practical book series “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. Chris is now in his 80’s, physically active and seems to be building a new business full of purpose.  Need more inspiration?  Read about Dave, a former engineer turned triathlete coach in his early retirement in this post! (Two posts for the price of one!)


Ready to Retire? 15 Success Factors

You may think your retirement will be a permanent vacation, but think twice.  Retirement brings some of the biggest changes in our lives.  As we age, we may become more resistant to change and thus live a life fraught with fear, resentment or even depression.  Loss of identity and purpose, neglected relationships, and rigid mindsets are some of the pitfalls that can seep into our retirement years.

This post highlights key factors that enable a successful, fulfilling retirement to help us live life’s third act with zest and vitality.  I have been dedicating individual posts to each retirement success factor over the past year.  Six more to explore!  Dreaming of your ideal retirement? Learn from Sue and Dean, who sold their home to sail away in their retirement in this post.  (Yep, another 2 for 1 deal.)



7 Habits to Create a Happy Retirement, a Happy Life

As we age, we return to our own individuality.  We care less about fitting the mould and towing the corporate line.  Recognizing that money can’t buy happiness, we begin to look beyond our careers for life satisfaction.  Perhaps its releasing your pent-up creativity, or pursuing new leisure activities, or just re-connecting with old friends.

This post explores the six arenas of life that contribute to life satisfaction identified through research on adult development.  It also offers seven habits that can truly create more happiness in your life based on recent research on happiness.  One habit for each day.  Look at that!  A new, easy daily practice for you.  Want to meet someone who made big changes for a happier life?  Read about Marlene in this post.  You’ll be inspired!  (2 for 1 again!)


Happy New Year!  I hope that this and other Next3rd blog posts inform and inspire you to live your best life in your next third.

Care to share?

Are Your Adult Kids Sabotaging Your Retirement?

Are Your Adult Kids Sabotaging Your Retirement?

62% of Canadian boomers feel their retirement is jeopardized because of the financial support they provide their adult children according to a recent TD Bank survey. Nearly half of adults in their 20’s live at home.  Supporting your adult children can hurt your retirement plans and your sanity.  Here are three tips to help you co-exist with your ‘boomerang’ kids while protecting your retirement nest egg.

25 is the New 19

It may not be arrested development, but an economic reality to share your home with your twenty-something children.  Secondary education and housing costs may be out of reach for your kids while starting salaries are low.  A crisis, such as divorce or job loss, may bring the kids back home, perhaps with their kids.  Or, your brilliant adult child has decided to pursue that Masters or PhD, partly on your ticket.

150% more adults aged 25-34 years live at home today than in the 70’s


 1.  Agree on House Rules

Whether they’ve never left, or they’ve come back home, clarifying expectations with your adult children at the onset will help you coexist more smoothly.

When boundaries are unclear, stress and conflict increase.


The key word is ‘agree’.  It’s like having roommates.  As my daughter used to say, “you’re not the boss of me.” Listen to each other.  Start with house rules built on respect for each other.  You each have the right to your own privacy.


  • Comfort levels for:
    • Music & noise
    • Visitors
    • Neatness
    • Awake/sleep hours
    • Independence vs. family togetherness time
    • Separate living zones


  • Household contribution:
    • Chores
    • Cooking
    • Groceries
    • TV, internet, cell service use
    • Use of vehicles (or not)
    • Rent, utilities


 2.  Take Care of Yourself First

You love your children and want to protect them, help them and nurture them.  As we are told in the airplane, put your oxygen mask on first and then your child’s.  Your kids have a whole life ahead of them to grow their financial base.  You?  Less time.  Protect your nest egg.

It’s that boundary thing again.  Plus, you are modelling prudent financial management to your kids.  Win win!

 Know how much you can afford to help without hurting your retirement. 


Not sure?  Meet with your financial planner or wealth manager and run a scenario of future expected expenses and income.  Yes, it will be based on assumptions, but it will give you an idea of what you’ve got and what you need to live the retirement life you imagined.  Factor in the additional expenses of your dependents, and you’ll understand your boundaries.


3.  Agree on a Timeline for Departure

At some point, our kids need to launch.  Most of them want to, and look forward to being independent.  Agree on a workable time frame for departure. (There’s that ‘agree’ word again.) Your kids will know they need to manage their finances and affairs accordingly.  You will know how long your support is required and can plan your life and finances appropriately.

“Offer encouragement not advice” – Dr. Richard Johnson


As much as we love our kids and enjoy their company, we’ve got to let them spread their own wings. Have faith that you’ve taught them well and that they will land on their feet!

Care to share?

Retirement: How to Find Purpose After Career

Retirement: How to Find Purpose After Career

Our career gave us purpose, goals, growth and tasks on which to focus.  Yet, research has shown, we still need a sense of purpose after our careers to live a rich and satisfying life.  Retirement gives us a new opportunity to discover what truly sparks our vitality, but many career-hardened boomers struggle in this endeavour.  Here is a valuable approach to discover your new purpose.  Get ready for that “aha” moment!


Why Purpose?

I can see some of you rolling your eyes.  I’ve had a few skeptics in my strategic planning sessions who thought discovering the organization’s core purpose was a waste of time.  Au contraire.  Knowing your true mission saves you time.  It gives you direction, helps you in decision-making and gives focus on how to spend your efforts, energy, and resources.

Do you volunteer for this or that group?  Do you invest in this or that activity?  Do you spend time with these people or those?  How do you apply your skills and talents? How do you grow? How will you spend your time?

More importantly, research has shown that your overall wellness is linked to having purpose and meaning in life. A purposeless life can lead to depression and is often expressed as “frustration, anger, a feeling of worthlessness and internal angst” explains Dr. Peter Johnson, co-flounder of Retirement Options. Working toward something that is important to you, energizes you and fires your vitality.  It gives meaning to your life.  Isn’t that the ultimate goal in our 3rd act of life, our Next3rd?


“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” 

– Viktor E. Frankl



Yours to Discover

Your purpose is in there, inside you already.  It probably has been buried since childhood, covered with external demands and tasks asked of others over the years.  Now you can mine it. Let’s go digging.  It may be muddy at first, but over time and with focus, your purpose will become clearer.



The Venn Diagram Approach

Andy Stanley reminded us to reflect on ‘why we are here’ in the 2017 Leadercast “Powered by Purpose” conference. For those less into existential thinking, his simple Venn Diagram just might hit home.



“Instead of asking what am I most passionate about, ask what breaks my heart?’” 

– Andy Stanley


“What breaks your heart?” That’s hitting the bone. Your answer will give you insights into what you truly care about and what problems you may be inspired to help solve.  Your first seeds of your life’s purpose.

Take an inventory of your skills, talents and wisdom that you can offer.  Revisit those personality profiles you may have completed in the past for more insights. How can you apply your gifts to the problems or challenges you’ve noted above?  You may want to do something completely different than in your past career.  This is your opportunity to bring out the real authentic you.

Who were you thinking of when examining what breaks your heart? Troubled kids, the polar bears, your family?  Who can you help by applying your gifts?


Meaning in life often comes from serving others.


What is the overlap or the intersection between these spheres of what breaks your heart, your gifts and who needs your help?  What is at the centre of your Purpose Venn Diagram?  There’s your first iteration of your current life purpose!  Is that “aha” that I hear?


Just Do It

Congratulations.  You’ve planted a seed to your life’s purpose and meaning.  Now act on it.  It’s not the thought that counts so much as the action driven by that seed that gives you life meaning.  It’s an iterative process.  As you act to fulfill your life’s purpose, your mission and life meaning become clearer.  Enjoy the quest!


Purpose feeds action.  Action feeds meaning.


Care to share?

This Couple Shares Wisdom on Retirement Togetherness 24/7

This Couple Shares Wisdom on Retirement Togetherness 24/7

They had demanding, top-tier careers in the fast-paced world of high tech.  Busy, A-type, long days at the office with world travel thrown in, type of careers.  With little time for planning, they each retired early, at 50, and have been happily together, a lot, ever since.  What’s their secret for harmonious retirement togetherness?


Retirement Trailblazers

Full disclosure.  I have known Denise and Karl for 25 years.  Most of that time, has been during their retirement. Conversations with them are always interesting and thought-provoking, and usually involve good food and wine.  Denise was a trailblazer in her career, usually the only woman in the room, and Karl was leading change in a change-adverse organization. When the opportunity came, they each had to decide quickly about early retirement.  Karl retired first, and Denise followed about four years later.


“Society wasn’t ready for us”


Denise and Karl were leading the new wave and paradigm shift in retirement and society hadn’t caught on yet.  They were young, healthy, had good financial resources, and wanted to do things. (They haven’t changed.)  What was available to the new retirees was, in a word, depressing.  Retirement living, activities, travel or hobbies offered were geared to the less able elderly.  So, they paved their own way, together.


Pace Adjustment

How did these former executives adapt to retirement life?  It took both Karl and Denise about six months to adjust to their new life.  Initially, they missed the benefits of work such as the social interaction and teamwork.  Otherwise, their lives hadn’t changed that much.


“We never said, let’s wait until we retire. If we wanted to do it, we did it.”


They continued their leisure, hobbies and interests they enjoyed before retirement.  Travel, dining out, visiting friends, equestrian, wine and other interests continued.  Having a variety of interests was important.  “If you sew five days a week, it becomes a job.” The only change was their pace.   They have the freedom and flexibility to set their own pace.  But, her pace is a tad different than his!


That Togetherness Thing

Karl and Denise definitely have different personalities and neither of them are ‘pushovers’.  She’s got to be busy, doing things, learning things, going places.  He’s the calm, yoga-practicing, meditating, art-appreciating type.  They are together almost all the time.  In the time I have known them, I have never heard one complain about the other. Never.  Not one nit-pick.


“We really enjoy each other’s company.  We like each other.”


That’s the key.  They are best friends.  They want to do things together.  They want to experience retirement together. And they have made a conscious choice to do so.  Choices like having one car, a nice one, even though they live in the country.  Errands, activities or socializing – they do it together.


“Never say no.”


That’s Karl, the self-described introvert.  If one wants to do something or follow a new interest, they discuss it first and come to an agreement that works for both.  They find a way they can enjoy the new interest together.

Case in point, wine university in France.  Wine is Denise’s love.  She wanted to live in France for a year and study to become a Master Sommelier. Wine is a secondary interest for Karl, but he wanted to practice his French and work in the vineyards.  And that’s what they did.  Togetherness.


“Do things that you like.  Don’t be a clone of the other.”


If someone does what you want to do all the time, you will lose them.  In retirement, your mate is the most important person, you don’t want to lose their uniqueness, their individuality.  Remain who you are.   Which means, you must know yourself. “If it means going on a 5-day trip on your own, then do it.”


Words of Wisdom

Denise: “Do it earlier rather than later.  There’s so much to do, and it may be more difficult to do later.”

Karl: “Mutual appreciation of each other:  If you’ve got that, you’ve got it made.”


Both Denise and Karl continue to be fully engaged in life following their individual interests, together.  Best buds!


“It’s amazing what two people can do together, when they really appreciate each other.”


Care to share?

Successful Retirement: What’s Hope Got To Do With It?

Successful Retirement: What’s Hope Got To Do With It?

What are you expecting in your retirement?  Consider how you answer this.  Your response will give an indication of how satisfying your life will probably be.  There’s more. How happy are you now?  Your answer is also an indicator of your future happiness in retirement.


The Difference Your Outlook Makes

Do you see your retirement as a time of promise and new beginnings?  Or are you afraid of what the future will bring? Your expected satisfaction in life is one of 15 factors for retirement success that Dr. Johnson, a leading expert on gerontology and adult development has identified from his 30+ years of practice and research.

“The self-fulfilling prophecy principle is real – act accordingly.” —Dr. Richard Johnson


There is a correlation between what you expect and what you’ll experience in your future, between how happy you are now and how happy you will be in the future.  When we see a future life of contentment, “we gain a sense of personal relief today”.

However, when we are apprehensive and worry about the world around us and what will come, we succumb to a life hampered with anxiety and uneasiness.  We are continuously on the lookout for the next threat that will trouble us.  This outlook robs us of our happiness today and gradually builds an isolating wall of fear around us.


 What’s the Secret to a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)?

Optimism and enthusiasm.  And what drives these endearing attitudes?  You guessed it.  Hope.

“Hope is the power which gives us confidence about tomorrow, an assurance that eventually things will be OK, a security that all is well.”


Hope is experienced in different ways and at different levels by different people.  For some, it is the belief that there is more good in the world than bad, and that the good will prevail.  Others experience hope at a spiritual level and have faith in the wisdom and guidance of a higher power.  “A positive mental attitude comes from hope in oneself and the human spirit.”

 “When we can rise to some level of hope in our own future, we can multiply our happiness today.”


Hone Hope’s Motivating Powers

I am usually an optimistic and enthusiastic person, yet sometimes I do feel the weight of the world.  When I focus on all the bad news to which we are constantly exposed, or look at the damage we continue to inflict on our planet, I can feel a level of hopelessness and resignation.  My outlook of our future becomes dim.   I want to retreat.

But, when I watch a Ted Talk led by a smart, engaged scientist explaining his or her solution to a world problem, I am relieved and reminded of the good in the world.  My hope is restored.  And with that hope, I am motivated to get out there and enjoy the world and the gifts of the day.

“What you focus on, grows.”


When you start to worry about the future, remind yourself of all the good around you.  Build your hope quotient and you will be happier today and in retirement.

Care to share?

7 Habits to Create a Happy Retirement, a Happy Life

7 Habits to Create a Happy Retirement, a Happy Life

What makes you happy now?  What will make you happy in retirement?  Are you waiting for something to happen first, or someone to do something, and then you’ll be content? Ancient wisdom and current science tell us that “happiness is an inside job”.  No need to wait to be happy, you can start now with these seven simple practices!


What is Happiness?

Dr. Richard Johnson, founder of Retirement Options and expert on adult development and gerontology describes the extent of our happiness as:

“The degree to which we experience a sense of delight, fulfillment, pleasure, contentment, and a sense of rightness in all arenas of life”


It’s in our genes, or not.  It’s in our attitudes and beliefs, or not.  According to Dr. Amit Sood, renowned expert on stress and resiliency, Mayo Clinic professor, and author of The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness”, 50% of our happiness depends on our conscious choices.

“Happiness can become an enduring habit.” Dr. Sood


All Arenas of Life?

Really?  Yep, we’re talking life balance.   Research has identified six key facets of life that when attended to, lead you to fulfilling life satisfaction and a successful retirement.  We need all six in our life to varying degrees and when one or more is neglected, and another is all consuming, we are out of sync and our bodies are under stress.  Stress at the cellular level.  Excessive stress is not happiness.

We need a purpose; our meaningful work, be it paid or unpaid. Healthy family relations let us give and receive love. Social relations, from close friends to casual interactions with strangers, keep us engaged in the fabric of life.  Pursuing personal growth, health, and well-being opens our minds and possibilities.  Having a sense of connection to a higher power brings peace, awe and wonder. Leisure brings entertainment and rejuvenation, and yes is a need!

“Happiness is what happens to us, when we attend well to all the arenas of our life”. Dr. Johnson


Be like Yoda

When we pay attention to the six life arenas, we can become like Yoda. Centered. Grounded. We are more emotionally resilient, have better focus, are more fully present and healthful.  Content. Fulfilled.  How can we get there? That brings us back to “conscious choice”.


One Habit a Day

To help us become more mindful, calmer and content, Dr. Sood has identified seven practices that can lead to a happier life.  He suggests practicing one a day so they become enduring habits.  Take a few moments each morning, close your eyes and focus on the practice for the day.

Monday – Gratitude: Focus on the gifts in your life; re-frame the negatives to the positives.

Tuesday – Compassion: Recognize everyone has struggles; be kind, be helpful, not critical.

Wednesday – Acceptance:  We are all works in progress, imperfect. Let it go, be fair.

Thursday – Meaning: What is important about the gifts of today? Who can you be of service to, how?

Friday – Forgiveness:  Yourself and others. Focus on life’s higher meaning and not hurt.

Saturday – Celebration: Honour others and yourself. Bring out the joy.

Sunday – Reflection: Prayer, meditation, quiet connection to a higher power. Be calm.


Try it!  I did and do, and have noticed that I do feel more content and less anxious.   Happiness really is an inside job!


Care to share?

How This Retiree Adjusted to the “C” Diagnosis Smoothly

How This Retiree Adjusted to the “C” Diagnosis Smoothly

He was working his retirement plan, living the dream, engaged with life.  Big travel plans, hobbies to indulge, fulfilling community involvement, fun social circles.  Eight years into retirement, the cancer diagnosis was received, and he took it all in stride.  Here’s how…


Be Adaptable

Gary is a pragmatic, matter-of-fact, logical type of guy.  To hear him talk about his cancer diagnosis and treatment is like listening to someone talk about a mosquito bite.  An irritant, but life goes on.

Before retirement, Gary and his wife attended retirement life planning workshops provided by their employers. Beyond the financial plan, they truly had a whole retirement plan. It was, and is, a full plan.  Community involvement, gardening, golf, hiking, curling, volunteer jobs, travel, elder caregiving, learning, and of course travel – big trip type of travel.

“If you don’t know what you’ll do in retirement, you’ll be lost.”


Gary is busy.   Yet, he is relaxed about his retirement plans. He allows for wiggle room.   If an opportunity for a new adventure arises, he adapts.

And that’s just what Gary did, when he was given the “C” news. Adaptability is a retirement success factor and I would say Gary has this one figured out!

“We just adjusted our plans.”


Thankfully, Gary’s prognosis looked positive, and so they adjusted their activities, commitments and travel plans while he went through his treatments.  Road trips instead of flying. Coordinator versus executive volunteer positions.  And a little less golf and curling. No problem.


Get On With It

As I listen to Gary share his experience, I am struck by how little he dwells on his serious health scare. His reaction to the news?  Let’s find out what it is, deal with it, and get on with it. “I really didn’t think about it too much.”  It happened, there was a treatment strategy, and some lifestyle adjustments.  So what?  I am inspired by his calm attitude.  It is what it is, just get on with life!  Acceptance.

“Health concerns can start to creep in and that happens to everybody.”


Lessons Learned

“Get planning on the big things. If it involves travel, do it now.”


This is a recurring theme shared by the retirees I have interviewed, and I’m thinking we need to pay attention. Whether it’s a big hike, a long trip or a new sport, start now, while you can, so you have no regrets.  “You don’t know what health issue will hit you, so do the big stuff now.”

“Have a plan.”  A life plan, that is, for retirement.  Gary understood the big changes retirement would bring.  He and his wife, embarked upon their life plan a couple of years before retiring, enabling a smoother, easier transition. They developed new hobbies and the social circles that come with them.

“If you’ve planned it, and have a retirement income to match your plan, you are in good shape.”


In His Words

“Do it early. Don’t wait!”


Care to share?

How Not to Be Archie Bunker in Retirement

How Not to Be Archie Bunker in Retirement

Remember Archie of the TV sit-com “All in a Family”?  That narrow-minded, opinionated, grey-haired guy in the armchair barking orders to his wife, Edith?  As we age and move into retirement, we run the risk of becoming that ‘grumpy old person’.  Unless, we develop a certain trait.

Lessons from Darwin

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution taught us that we must adapt to survive.  Dr. Johnson, a leading expert on adult development and gerontology agrees.  He has identified adaptability, the personal flexibility you can exercise at any given time in any given situation, as a key factor for retirement success.  We must adapt not only to survive, but to thrive in retirement.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” —Charles Darwin


Ch Ch Ch Changes…

Won’t stop in retirement.

Contrary to common perceptions, we will likely experience more change in retirement than any other time in our life.

Our body changes and will keep changing. Our lifestyle changes significantly as we end the formal work chapter. We will face changes in our family, from the loss of parents or perhaps a spouse, to the addition of sons or daughters-in-law and perhaps grandchildren.  We may move out of the family home, or to a new community; our social circles will change.  New interests, hobbies and leisure activities may emerge and perhaps your purpose in life will evolve.

Add to these, changes in technology, social norms, politics, demographics, the economy, the environment and other macro influences, and you get the picture.  Change is everywhere, all the time. When we fear or resist change, we seek sameness, search for that elusive certainty and security, and revert to rigid schedules.  We fall into a rut.  We get stale.  We become Archie!

 Adapting to change, not resisting or hiding from it, is the ticket to a smooth retirement ride.


How to Be More Adaptable

My yoga teacher uses the word, ‘release’ versus ‘stretch’ and that is how I would sum up adaptability.  You’ve got to let it go, not force the stretch.  To be more adaptable, we may need to change our attitude, decisions and actions.  It will likely mean letting go of the need for control and certainty and having faith that you, and the world, will be OK.

To be more adaptable means to be more:

  • Accepting than critical
  • Agreeable than argumentative
  • Forgiving than judging
  • Pleasant than harsh
  • Calming than upsetting

Doesn’t that sound like the perfect, wise elder?  The anti-Archie!


Start Removing that Crust

I admit it. I can be a tad crusty as I age.  A bit fixed in my opinions and view of the world. Maybe it’s the “I’ve seen/done that before” cynicism that’s creeping in.  Before we know it, we are encased in a thick crust of inflexibility.  Just like Archie.  It’s takes a conscious effort to remain flexible, malleable and adaptable, but we can do it.  When, we do, our life is richer, interesting and happier.

Care to share?