A client of ours, “Steve,” and his wife retired to Sun City, AZ believing this was for them. “We know two couples who moved here and so we visited a lot and, even, spent a few weekends at their places. It seemed like we too should move here. But we didn’t just leap in. We looked at a few other similar places and our finances and only then made the decision.” “At first, it was ‘living the dream,’ you know! We got with our friends, met many new people, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. One day I was getting dressed for a round of golf and my wife told me since this was the 3rd outing in the past 4 days, I should change my shirt.”
He told us it wasn’t the shirt that concerned him. Although, it probably was stinky. He was thinking that all golf and no “work” could make Steve a rather dull guy. He realized he felt “out of touch.” The more these feelings came upon him, the less he liked it. “I was slowly going bonkers!” Steve and his wife had taken the easy road. They hitched a ride on their friends’ retirement and were attempting to make it their own.
How the people you know retire can be a big influence on you. So, too, can articles about “The 25 Best Places to Retire” or “What Americans do After Retirement.” These articles provide you with lists and descriptions of what other people have chosen. Yes, you get ideas from them but this is such a crucial decision it needs to be based on something far more substantial. Before choosing a new place to live in retirement, take time to find an intention or direction for your retirement years. Once you set an intention, where you go (or stay) can be determined by how best that place supports what you want to do not because it’s highly rated in Forbes. Before leaping into a retirement option, take time- lots of time – to consider what is of importance or significance to you. With that as a framework, when choosing an activity from a list, you do so with a compelling reason.
A study, jointly conducted by Cornell University and The University of Rochester Medical Center, found that having a sense of purpose or direction in life is a major contributing factor to happiness and well-being. Another study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that people with a sense of purpose have much lower levels of stress than those reporting little or no purpose. Low stress level has been (in other studies) directly tied to longevity, therefore, it is highly probable that a purpose in retirement life will enable you to live longer. And better.
How do you go about finding an intention or direction for your retirement years?