Learning in Retirement Leads to A Sharper Mind and Longer Life

Photo Credit: Margaret Riegel | Author: Patricia Cohen | Source: New York Times - Education Life |

In my book, Safe 4 Retirement: The 4 Keys to a Safe Retirement, I often discuss the need for retirees to take advantage of their time in retirement to continue to learn, both new and old subjects of interest.  Retirement can be a time when you can finally study that subject you wanted to in college or really be able to understand Shakespeare or learn what in the heck Einstein was really talking about.

In my section about creating ‘A Joyous Retirement’, I discuss that one of the steps to finding joy in retirement is simply, “Learn, Learn, Learn”.  Here’s an excerpt from that chapter:

Step Four: Learn, Learn, Learn

            Don’t get stuck in your old ways with your old thoughts and beliefs.

            Brush the dust off your mind and take a class or read a new genre of literature.

            Listen carefully to the opposite side of a debate. Learn why they’re saying what they’re saying and what positive qualities might exist.

            The ways to go about learning something new are numerous, and I’ve mentioned several in earlier parts of the book, including

  • Take a class. Any kind. It could be at a local college or university. Remember, seniors can take many of these for free or at deeply discounted rates. It could be a cooking class at a restaurant, a poetry class from the library, an herb-growing seminar put on by the local county extension. Even if you’re not sure you’ll be interested, give it a try. You just never know.
  • Read!
  • Turn off the television unless you’re watching a documentary. Only watch the minimum of news necessary to know what’s going on but don’t absorb the negativity.
  • Talk to new people with an open mind. Remember to listen, listen, listen.
  • Travel.
  • You know what to do. Just go out and do it!

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young.  The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” – Henry Ford

The need to learn in retirement isn’t only for pleasure.  Building your brainpower helps your health.  Not only extending your life but helping you in the battle against such illnesses as Alzheimer’s.  Perhaps all of the medical research isn’t in yet but there’s enough to say that learning rather than sitting will help you to not only enjoy a joyous retirement, but enjoy it for a longer period of time.

The article below discusses that getting a college degree can “subtract 10 years from your brain’s age”.  Would love your comments on this.

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check out the the original article from New York Times - Education Life, written by Patricia Cohen


  1. Awesome post! I will keep an on eye on your blog.

  2. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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