The Talk: Having purpose in retirement

Author: Jack Tatar | Source: Marketwatch,com |

recent study by Fidelity found that ” sixty-five percent of adult children and parents agree that discussing retirement readiness is an important topic, but 72 percent disagree on the level of detail that has been covered to date; and only 11 percent of children believe the conversations were very detailed .”

One thing I’ve learned in my work with retirement and seeing people live longer and safer in retirement is that attitude is a key driver for success. A positive attitude and having purpose in retirement are “details” that can create a safe retirement and they need to be including as part of “the talk” between adult children and their retiring or retired parents.

A recent study by the Rush University Medical Center’s Alzheimer;s Disease Center reveals that having purpose in ones life in later years showed a ” 30% slower rate of cognitive decline than those who did not .” Dr. Patricia Boyle of the Center in an article by Diane Cole in The Wall Street Journalgoes on to say that ” having purpose reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s and its precursor, mild cognitive impairment .”

As those who are familiar with my writings know that I’m a firm believer in approaching retirement from a holistic perspective, not just from a financial focus. The conversations between adult children and retiring or retired parents related to retirement should also be holistically based.

Dr. Boyle makes the point very well when she points out that for retirees, ” if you’re pursuing goals, you’re probably engaging in a whole host of behaviors that we know to be beneficial for health, such as being socially involved and connected to other people and going out and being physically active .”

The need to discuss and examine one’s attitude and their outlook on life are important aspects of the transition to retirement.

In this series on “the talk” between adult children and their parents about retirement, we’ve already examined the first two parts of “the talk': financial preparedness andhealth.

The third portion of “the talk” should consider the mental attitude of the retiring or retired parent. I often find that a good way to begin this topic is to ask your parents if they know of anyone whose retirement they would like to emulate. It may be a celebrity, family member, or friend, but this can often lead to a nice discussion about how they would like their retirement to be and how they would like to feel in retirement.

During mental attitude part of “the talk” you should discuss the following:

  1. If you’re not yet retired, what have you done to prepare yourself for the seismic shift in lifestyle you’re about to experience?
  2. If you’re retired, are you generally happy and looking forward to each day?.
  3. In general, do you reminisce over positive or negative memories?
  4. Do you give yourself mentally stimulating tasks, like business consulting, crossword puzzles, learning a new language, or taking courses?
  5. Do you associate mainly with positive or negative people?
  6. What do you want to do with the rest of your life?
  7. Do you have a purpose in mind for what you’ll do in retirement?

Retiring and getting older will come with its challenges but maintaining a positive attitude and approach to life will have as much to do with living a longer and safer retirement as having a balanced financial portfolio. It’s important to consider them both as integral parts of any one’s retirement plan.

Remember the answers lie in the details. Don’t leave them out when you have “the talk.”

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check out the the original article from Marketwatch,com, written by Jack Tatar

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