Keys to a Satisfying Retirement

  • Be aware of the adjustments involved in the retirement transition process; take your time, be kind to yourself.  It may take 18 to 36 months to adjust.   A satisfying retirement typically requires some work.

  • Think about what work has brought you.  Are there things you need to replace in retirement?

  • Early on adopt a small daily/weekly schedule; maybe a regular exercise schedule or lunch dates.  But do enjoy the luxury of time:  not having to rush in a shopping line, taking time to slow cook a meal, being able to “visit”.

  • Have something to wake up for.  Think about purpose.  It doesn’t have to be something that will change the world: helping others in simple ways, creating art or music for yourself, writing, planning a garden, or getting exercise in each day are all purposeful activities.  Redefine what “work” can be.

  • Have a social support.  Be ready to work at this.  Develop friends in a variety of areas, of ages, of intimacy levels.

  • Have a high level of activity both physical and emotional.  Take some risks, stay curious. (Have a healthy spouse).  

  • Work on perspective, humor, gratitude



Part 2/2 What is your retirement legacy?

Having grandchildren often spurs on a desire to leave a legacy.  We can play important roles for them in passing on family histories and beliefs.

Ask yourself what family themes or characteristics have stood out over the generations.  Was family achievement emphasized?   Was staying within the bounds of home encouraged or were offspring told to seek their fortune elsewhere?   Was your family one that did not show emotions readily and held things “close to the chest”?  Or did your family tend to be quite forthcoming about personal issues or family troubles?  There are often many themes, but one or two usually fill prominent roles in your family.

And what are your values now after a lifetime?  Our legacy tends to reveal the things we value most.   The “Values Game” can help get you started figuring out what those might be: 

Collect these stories, these photos, these family values and also what you yourself have learned from life.  You are leaving something more valuable than money behind for the next generation.   You’ll be leaving at a real part of yourself.   And in the process of doing this, you are examining your own life in more depth and giving it greater meaning.


What is your retirement legacy? Part 1 of 2

Many of my clients are focusing on their “legacy” in retirement.  By this, I don’t mean creating an endowment for their college or providing a trust for their grandchildren.  They want to leave behind something even more meaningful.  They want to leave a story of their life.  They want to share what they have learned through life’s trials and tribulations.  They want to express their values, and they want to share words of wisdom, hard earned lessons, and family stories with their children and grandchildren.  Here are some ways to start creating your personal “legacy”:

  1.  Enroll in an online website where you can slowly reflect and tell your story.   On the “Remembering Site”  ($25), you respond to specific questions about your life.   These help to jog your memory about things from your past you may have forgotten. You can answer these online or write the responses into your personal journal.  You’ll find it interesting how easily the memories then start flowing, one leading to another. 

  2. Get those old family photos out!  To preserve them you can scan them onto a disc yourself or literally toss them into a box and send them off to a scanning service such as:  ScanCafe    For a nominal fee, they will scan them for you then give you an opportunity to delete what you don’t want and rearrange them.

  3. Delve into your ancestry.  Help is available through your library or at websites such as:  If you are really curious, check into having your DNA analyzed to get more information about your ethnic mix and distant relatives.  One such source is  ($99)


I married you for life, but not for lunch

Let’s explore the “I married you for life, but not for lunch” phenomenon.

Nearly a quarter of couples admit they haven’t talked about what their lives might be like in retirement. Relationships and patterns of behavior become fixed over the years. Everything is fair game for reappraisal. You may need to renegotiate roles. You will have a lot of time together.

Our assumptions of what our partner might want and what we might want may be totally different things.

Who should retire first or should we retire at the same time? Where will we live? Do we share interests? Do we want the same things? How shall we spend our money? Will one of us feel invaded if we’re used to having the house to ourselves all day? Will going out with our own friends threaten our partner’s sense of togetherness? How will you cope if something happens to him/her?

These are the kinds of questions and discussions that I explore with clients, especially if they are doing couples retirement coaching.