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The keys to retirement success

Literature: Author gives nine truths that will help retirees make most out of newfound time

Posted: May 16, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 16, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Author Julia Valentine, above, offers nine “retirement truths” that help ensure retirement is the treasure of your life. Author Julia Valentine, above, offers nine “retirement truths” that help ensure retirement is the treasure of your life.
Author Julia Valentine, above, offers nine “retirement truths” that help ensure retirement is the treasure of your life.

They don’t call them the golden years for nothing. Many research studies show that life after 50 can be the most treasured time of your life, especially during retirement. Retirement is the time when you have already fulfilled your obligations to others in life and are now free to make some new choices with yourself as the priority,” said Julia Valentine, speaker and author of “Joy Compass: How to Make Your Retirement the Treasure of Your Life”.

Valentine, who interviewed thousands of people for “Joy Compass,” found that creativity played a large role in a retiree’s contentment level, especially if finances are an issue.

She observed an 87-year-old woman who was looking for ways to make ends meet. Since the woman couldn’t find a job, possibly due to age discrimination, alternative solutions were necessary.

“This woman rented a room and started giving Greek lessons. Immediately, her income went up,” Valentine said. “That’s an example of how someone, at 87, found a way to enjoy the lifestyle she has and be in a location she wants to be in.
We’re going to see more of this type of everyday creativity, which is far from the scenario of you have to get a job or you’re doomed.”

Men and women often respond differently to retirement, Valentine noted.

“We all need to feel valued and needed. For men, this could manifest a bit more in terms of professional success. I’ve had men tell me, ‘I came back to the office to visit and no one said hello to me. They used to be so nice,’” Valentine said. “To lose that job title and respect, if that’s how you feel valuable, can be very painful.”

Retired men that fit this profile often make the perfect mentors, Valentine continued.

“This way, you can share your knowledge and stay involved in the industry. You’ll get so such recognition,” she said.

According to Valentine, there are nine “Retirement Truths” that will help retirees make the most of their newfound time:

Retirement Truth 1: Aging brings wisdom, not decline
It has been said that what you think about, you bring about. Telling yourself you are going to flourish in retirement can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. At the very least, you might take slightly better care of yourself and, in turn, find your way into the virtuous circle of feeling better emotionally and physically, doing more interesting things and ultimately enjoying yourself more.

Retirement Truth 2: Age is just a number
Chronological age is merely the number of candles on your birthday cake, while psychological age is your perception of how vital and vibrant you feel. Since the latter is a subjectively experienced age, you have a great deal of latitude in constructing beliefs that will either help you or limit your ability to flourish after 50. Construct wisely.

Retirement Truth 3: Creativity helps design your lifestyle
Discovering and exploring your everyday creativity is going to make a difference between boredom and the pure joy of being alive. Everyday creativity is invoked when the object of your creative efforts is your own life. It taps into our deepest need to feel useful and valuable. A creative life approach fosters flexibility and resourcefulness, helping you choose new pursuits, evolve with the changing times and design a satisfying lifestyle.

Retirement Truth 4: Fulfilling true needs is essential
Knowing what you want and, more importantly, what you need, is difficult but critical. You cannot be happy without it. Research shows meeting one’s personal needs is essential for psychological health and, consequently, for more profound happiness, serenity and a high quality of inner life.
Retirement Truth 5: Know your motivation
Knowing why you do something is important because it will motivate you to go through with the action. Motivation is how we access the energy necessary to do anything, whether that means saving, acquiring new skills or staying fit to enjoy life after 50. Understanding your own intentions and desired result of any decision or activity will result in clarity, less frustration, more of what you want and less guilt about foregoing what doesn’t meet your needs.

Retirement Truth 6: Fail to plan, plan to fail
Research proves that a successful, happy retirement is impossible without planning based on self-examination. People who plan end up with twice the wealth of people who do not. Beyond financial planning, it is imperative to take time to figure out what lifestyle needs must be fulfilled to make you happy, and then find specific ways to ensure those needs can be met. Retirement lifestyle design then becomes the driver for making good choices and building the foundation of physical, emotional and financial health that ensures joy and fulfillment after 50.

Retirement Truth 7: Evolution trumps fear
Do not be dragged along by the changing times when you have the freedom to preside over the process. While evolution may not always mean improvement or progress, life’s progression is certainly an inevitability that should be embraced, not eschewed. Change should be revered, not feared, as with change comes new learning and growth experiences — new opportunities and ways to contribute, to be significant and to create meaningful experiences for yourself and for the people around you.

Retirement Truth 8: Joy requires harmony
A joyful life can only be truly achieved if your inner and outer worlds are in harmony — the alignment of your life’s needs and direction with your inner resources, like attitude, abilities, talents, skills, experience and personality traits. People wholly integrated at this level are conscious of their needs, emotions, impulses, pleasures and pains. They enjoy an amazing quality of life with frequent peak experiences and are more at peace.

Retirement Truth 9: Quality of life requires more than money
It is easy to mistake comfort for quality of life. An astonishing quality of life encompasses both material comfort and joy.
To live with joy, it is imperative to not only identify and understand your emotional needs, but actively work to meet them.
Do this and the second half of your life will be even better than the first.

“I personally think that retirement is the best time in one’s life, in terms of freedom that people get,” Valentine concluded.
“Just look at your attitude toward getting older. If you think things are getting worse, they will. ”

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