My last blog post covered one of the 4 Pillars of the New Retirement, Health. Today, I want to take a deep dive into what good health means because I am sure you’d have as many opinions as the people you asked.
Going back through the Edward Jones and Age Wave poll, I pulled some interesting facts* to get your wheels turning about the components of good health:
90% of Americans older than 50 say that being healthy is about being able to do the things they want.
87% think that one can be healthy while also living with a chronic disease.
93% of retirees agree that it is never too late to improve your health.
One of the key components the study identified that we don’t spend enough time talking about is happiness. Studies have repeatedly shown that our mental health directly correlates to our physical health. Retirement offers us the wisdom of age and maturity without the responsibilities and stress that go with pursuing a career, nurturing a relationship, and raising a family. We have the opportunity to enjoy the process of slowing down and spend some time smelling the roses.
What are the key components of your happiness? If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’m going to ask you to make a list. Writing down your thoughts, ideas, and goals helps you to clarify what you want to achieve. And, if you are looking to identify action steps to move yourself closer to those goals, outlining them on paper is the way to go.
Start by finding a quiet place and spend a few minutes jotting down the things and people that make you happy. I’m going to encourage you not to edit or judge your list. Allow yourself to write your thoughts in a free-flowing stream of consciousness.
Is location on your list? I was somewhat surprised to read in the Edward Jones/Age Wave study that retirees living in small cities or towns reported higher levels of mental well-being over those that live in large cities or rural areas.
What are the activities that bring you joy? Are they readily accessible or easily done in your ideal retirement location?
I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that our relationships impact our physical health. Make sure your list includes the people that make you smile. Will they be nearby or will you need to travel to them? If so, how often do you plan to visit?
Crafting your ideal retirement plan takes careful thought and planning. And the 4 Pillars provide us with a framework based in survey and science. Tuck your “happiness list” in your retirement folder and plan to join me next week as I review the 2nd Pillar: Family.