The idea of retirement conjures different lifestyle images and meanings for any given person. While some are counting down the minutes to completing their final career milestone, others are almost absurdly resistant to winding down. Ironically, it’s not uncommon to find retirement cheerleaders quickly bored and those most resistant saying they should have retired sooner. So what makes for a successful retirement? I believe it’s the old adage of…

  • Someone to love
  • Something to do
  • Something to look forward to

Those resistant to retirement feel they have these three things and want to preserve their situation. The idea of change then puts the success of their retirement in jeopardy. However, it’s important to realize that this adage is describing a moving target.

What if your resistance to change is to appease a spouse, but they pass on? Would it be so awful to position yourself so you could love not only the spouse, but be in the company of friends, children, or grandchildren? What if your fear of retirement is losing your “something to do?” Isn’t it quite likely that joining a new community would provide you with ample opportunity to participate in interesting discussion, travel, social outings, volunteer efforts, part-time consulting jobs, and more?

Do you really look forward to your job, or is it simply comfortable? Being in such a deep comfort zone means we’re not growing and therefore not stimulated. This is imperatively important to tackle given the rise of dementia. Try being uncomfortable for a change and see if you find yourself quickly finding something new to look forward to purely because it’s creating intellectual growth. Consider this, I avoided public speaking at all costs in prior jobs. Since launching Powwow I find myself recording videos weekly and presenting to groups monthly. I keep coming back for more because I’m growing as a person and learn something new with each experience.

Conversely, those counting the minutes to retirement may have a “grass is greener” attitude about retirement rectifying their lack of someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. Unfortunately, without proper planning the sheer act of retiring won’t automatically mean a successful retirement. For instance, “something to look forward to” has to be more than retiring itself. It has to be about the freedom retiring provides us to accomplish the things we love and want to do. If you’re excited to retirement, make sure to account for these three things and not get too caught up on golf (because from what I hear it won’t fill up your calendar like you think).

Read Should I Sell Product as A Side Hustle if you’re considering a second act during your retirement.

Watch my video if you or a parent need to figure out how to spend your time in retirement. 

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About the Author

Quentara Costa helps the sandwich generation prioritize kids, self, and aging parents. For years Quentara was the primary caregiver for her father who was diagnosed with Alzheimers at the age of 70. Since his passing she’s become a mother of two sweet girls. Professionally she received a master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning from Bentley University and has held the CFP® designation since 2010. Community involvement includes hosting the Merrimack Valley Senior and Caregiver Group and volunteering for Budget Buddies.

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