Are You Squandering Your Most Valuable Resource in Retirement?
You are free from a life of having to work for money, so what is your most valuable resource now? It’s the same as it has always been- time. You only have so much left (and you don’t know how much). We have been fortunate to see what happens with people after they hit this much desired milestone, and it’s not always what you think it should be.
“Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made out of.” ~Benjamin Franklin.
While some people continue to make meaningful memories, contribute to society, and develop existing and new relationships, others seem to flounder and become more and more dissatisfied as time goes by. Some people end up squandering their time and it directly affects their state of mind, health, relationships and eventually their pocketbook. Happy and productive people have these five behaviors in common:
- They are social– they have strong relationships with people of all ages and are regularly creating new
- They continue to grow and contribute– they are interesting and stay interested in the world.
- They have a great attitude and continuously stay open to change– they continue with these traits even when limits are placed on them in their later years.
- They take care of themselves– they make good choices to support their finances and their physical, mental, and spiritual and emotional health.
- They ask for help and advice, but guard against total dependency– they know they don’t know it all and have no problem talking things out with people without giving up and completely leaving their care to someone else.
Are you weak in any of these areas? Ask yourself some questions:
- Sociability: Who are the five people closest to you, and what are those relationships like? When was the last time you made a new friend? What outlets do you have to create new relationships?
- Growth & Contribution: Where do you push yourself to learn? When was the last time you learned a new skill? If you died tomorrow, what work would be left undone? What outlets do you have to give back?
- Attitude and Change: Are people attracted to you, or do you feel like they tolerate you? When was the last time you “shook things up” and how did you do that? What are you scared of changing most in your life right now?
- Self-Care: How is my health? Am I ignoring what I need as an individual? Do I always put others first and then get frustrated? What is my self-care routine and how are my results?
- Help and Advice: Who are the people in your life who you can really talk to about real-life issues? How do you identify problems you have and solve them proactively? How are you planning for the future and the changes that may come?
You know The Planned Approach: we don’t like pointing out problems without identifying some solutions.
- If you are challenged with sociability: Time to reconnect and reach out to friends and family members and schedule regular times to connect with them. A weekly call, until it is a habit, is a great idea to get started. Take some flowers or cookies to a neighbor and invite them for a social distance walk to get to know them. Join something- anything. com is a cool website when the COVID crisis is over. In the meantime, many organizations are offering online services that can help you met people through chats. Be open to new forms of communication, too, right now. Teleconferencing, social media and just good old-fashioned letters can be powerful connection tools. If your living situation isn’t conducive to seeing and meeting people, it may be time to make a change.
- If you are challenged with growth and contribution: Time to go back to school, possibly literally. Take some classes. Get a job. You need something you have to do on rainy days when you just want to lay in bed. Force yourself now to change habits of your daily routine to find something purposeful to do four to six days a week. A word of warning, this will not be perfect or easy- it’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to be a little bit hard- that’s where the challenge and growth comes in.
- If you are challenged with attitude and change: If you are grumpy, you may be bored (see above). If you’ve got the above suggestions down, you may need a change in your life, or you may not be seeing all the good in your life, or both. A journal or a series of conversations with a close friend who is honest with you (or a therapist) could be the ticket to turning this around. Ironically, this might be perfect timing, as most therapists have ramped up online sessions/help. They will likely be able to ask some hard questions, and maybe help change some behaviors.
- If you are challenged with self-care: What is your current self-care plan, and does it provide for your current needs or do you need to update it? What resources and people can you find who can help you make improvements to your routine and support you with it? What action steps could you take immediately to help you take care of yourself? How will you hold yourself accountable?
- If you are challenged with asking for help and advice: What has changed in your life that you may need more help or advice? What are the next stages of life going to look like for you and how have you research and planned for them? Who is the person who will tell you that you are crazy and not just agree with you? How will you be sure you keep some influence over your life in the future, even when you can’t do everything you need and want to do for yourself? Have you communicated these plans with the right people, and do they agree?
Getting to a stage in life where you don’t have to work for money any more can be both a blessing and a curse- just like every other life stage. The people who feel the best are ones who embrace the change and the stage. At The Planned Approach, we want to make sure all of our clients have a high quality of life, not just money in the bank.