how to prosper in retirement

Habits to help you prosper (in retirement)

I  came across this chart the other day – habits to help you prosper.  I’ve added the words “in retirement” because it struck me how those habits that guide you in your working life also apply when you have retired.  Some of them need a tweak, and adjustment, a different slant.  But generally, good habits are lifelong.

Here is my take on “habits to help you prosper” from a retirement angle.

Habits in retirement

Let’s face it, giving up work is an opportunity to change your life.  Freed from the drudgery of having to earn money, you can chose how to spend your waking hours.  No more a slave to the alarm clock, targets left behind, performance reviews a memory cheerfully forgotten.

But those habits can be good or bad.  Will your retirement be slothful, relaxing, sedentary and completely stress free?

Or should you seek activity, ambition, learning and have some goals for later life?

Let’s look at these titles, in turn, and see how they apply in your third age.

Habits To Help You Prosper

Network

In the original (work based) context, this meant business meetings, cocktail parties, glad handing with those who could help you to rise up the greasy pole.  It also meant an active Linked In profile, essential for the hungry executive with a career in mind.
But in retirement, networking means socialising.  A little difficult at the time of writing due to the pandemic, but those clubs, sporting venues and meeting places will surely return.  And when they  do, building and nurturing a network of friends is a part of prospering in retirement.  We are social animals, we need contact, conversation, friendship.
 

Dream big

What are your retirement dreams?  Do you have any?  Travel?  House renovation? Side hustle?  Hobbies?  Run a marathon? Having a dream keeps us alive, helps us plan for the future and forget the inevitable aches and pains of older age.  So have that dream and make it happen. 
 

Plan ahead

If you can find that dream, make a plan.  Make it happen.  Find a way.  As they used to say in the army, the plan might not survive contact with the enemy. But a plan is a route map, a way of laying out the stages and process to achieve that goal.  Just because you have finished work, you haven’t finished living – so make that plan, write it down – just do it.
 

Get up early

Early is a figure of speech.  It’s relative – you don’t have to rise at 6 each day to prepare for the long commute or catch up on overnight emails.  That’s all behind you – but it’s not wise to spend your retirement lazing in bed until mid morning.  That’s an occasional treat – an active retirement means getting moving first thing.  Having a plan for the day, actions points, thing to be achieved.  Seize the day.  At a slower pace than you needed to in a working life, but still essential for a positive outlook.
 

Stay focussed

So you’ve got your dream, your goal and you have a plan.  You’re not done yet – focus on the next step.  The next challenge or obstacle to overcome – financial, physical, whatever that is.  That dream is not going to happen by itself.
 

Watch less TV

You’r not going to prosper as a retiree from the sofa, watching another Murder She Wrote.  That’s another luxury (!) to be enjoyed, savoured and then moved on from.  Because a sedentary lifestyle of TV watching is the antithesis of an active retirement – it uses up time, consumes no calories and doesn’t add a jot to the achievement of your goal or purpose.  So limit your TV watching, and do something interesting instead.
 

Invest in yourself

The secret to success in anything you do in life is to never stop learning. That does not change in retirement.  It’s always important to continue to learn new skills – it keeps the brain active, forces you to stay up to date in a changing world and improves your motivation and sense of self worth.  Fortunately, there are many resources that enable you to invest in yourself, both online and (post pandemic) via actual meetings.

Read more books

 

There are many benefits to reading more books in later life:

1. Enhancing memory
2. Improving decision making skills
3. Delaying the onset of Alhzheimer’s and Dementia
4. Reducing stress
5. Better sleep

Reading is cheap (maybe free with a good library service), offers the above benefits and helps us with the research necessary to achieve our dreams.

Woman Reading
Image source: Deposit photos

Avoid time wasters

Do you find yourself saying things like:

“What did I do today?”

“Where did that day go?”

“I feel like I didn’t get anything done”.

The biggest time waster of course is social media.  You can easily while away an hour or so on Facebook, and that is perfectly fine – in moderation.  But we all know people who live their lives on social media, updating us with every last detail of their lives. This is not a productive use of your time. Limit your social media use.  Just don’t tell Zuckerberg.

Take calculated risks

In the original, business orientated context, this meant taking career risks to help you stand out in your chosen field.  Or possibily a stock market gamble.

In retirement however, career ambitions have gone and the stock market is an avenue to be approached with caution.  However, for the senior looking to expand their social circle or improve their lifestyle, a calculated risk might include joining a choir, dance classes or speaking group.  The risk is failure and/or embarrassment – but success might open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Write down your goals

“Vividly describing your goals in written form is strongly associated with goal success” says Forbes.com.  A vague and unspecified ambition is sp easily postponed or forgotten completely.  Writing down your  goal (aka a bucket list perhaps?) can also enhance the sense of achievement and be a spur towards realisation.
 

Live on less than you make

Whilst this maxim may have been useful in your earning days, does it survice in retirement?  Depends – if you have a comfortable pension and a nest egg of savings, you might want to indulge in a wild extravagance or two.  But if you live from month to month and have no lump sum to fall back on, continuing to set money aside for the inevitable rainy day would still be prudent.  But the truth is – none of know how long we’ve got to spend the kid’s inheritance, or conversely to make it last.
 

Make your health a priority

Definitley as true in your 60s and beyond as it was in your younger years.  An active lifestyle helps you to live longer and better.  Exercise and diet are lifelong concerns.  As well you know.
 

Do work that matters to you

Work?  Surely not, contradicting the very meaning of retirement.  And yet numerous seniors seek a part time job, or side hustle as they say across the pond.  This is either to supplement a meagre pension or because they enjoy the fruits of their labout.  And that’s where this phrase is timeless – make that side hustle something you enjoy, will stick with and does not cause you more stress than you can cope with.  Not much point in replacing one nine to five career with another – find “work” that can be suspended periodically and avoid long term committements or contracts.  Life is definitely too short for more work.
 

Learn from people you admire

Tricky to translate this one, but learning from other people is always to be encouraged.  Because we can always improve – behaviour, humour, the way we speak to people.  Everyone knows of a crotechty old man without a good word to say – don’t be that person.  Learn from positive people and your life will be happier.
 

Foster meaningful relationships

In retirement, these relationships centre around your family and friends.  But they are just as important as cultivating a good relationship with an influential work colleague.  One of the challenges for a couple in retirement is that they spend many more hours together than they did during their working lives.  Sadly, the number of over-60s couples divorcing has grown – in this age group divorce rose by 85% between 1990 and 2012. 
 

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude

I write about attitude in retirement, and much of that post is also reflected here.  We should be grateful that we have reached retirement age, and that we have the opportunity to enjoy a life post-work.  It is a privilege denied to many.

 

Take action, even when it’s scary

What is life, if it’s not for living?  Creating memories.  So – carpe diem.

 

Parchutists
Image source: Deposit photos

Have a powerful and inspiring “why”

Everyone, at some point in life needs some kind of inspiration if we are to keep on moving forward.  This applies just as much in your sixties and later as it does when your younger self is seeking meaning and fulfilment.  But the benefit of maturity enables you to be more – reflective. You can see what you want to achieve, how you want to be remembered.   All you need is belief that you can.

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