Have a Successful Retirement, on Your Terms

By Michele Harris
August 27, 2021
woman trimming leaves of bush

For most people, planning for retirement means getting your finances in order, but as any retired person can tell you, money is only part of the story.

“Money is certainly important, but it’s not the only thing that determines whether your retirement is a success,” says Patti Hart, coauthor with her husband Milledge of The Resolutionist: Welcome to the Anti-Retirement Movement. “It may be that you are financially ready to retire but are a long way from being emotionally ready.”

After successful careers in business, the Harts now help others figure out how to get the most out of their retirement years. They suggest you begin by identifying what you are passionate about. How will you fill your days? Is there a creative project you’ve dreamed of doing but never had the time for? Do you hope to spend time giving back to others through volunteering? Are you excited about the prospect of learning new things or meeting new people?

Adjusting to retirement

For many, moving from the excitement and fulfillment of a career to the quietness of retirement is too much, says Patti. As a result, some people can develop a form of “separation anxiety,” longing for their old way of life rather than venturing boldly into the new one. “You need to make a plan for what you want to do in your new post-career life, so you aren’t floundering when you get there,” she says.

Milledge advises new retirees to “get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” He points out that people routinely take on tough challenges at work. When they finally succeed, their confidence grows, and they are better prepared for the next challenge.

Some people see retirement as a time when they won’t be called upon to test their meddle. What they don’t see, however, is that by sidestepping discomfort, they are robbing themselves of an opportunity for personal growth.   

“It would seem counterintuitive to think that being uncomfortable brings happiness, but it does,” says Milledge. “Go at life as if it’s an adventure—because it is. When you accomplish something you didn’t think you could, you get a jolt of endorphins that drives you to your next challenge.”

Planning your ideal retirement

The Harts’ website has an assessment quiz that can help you identify what your ideal retirement looks like. 

“Don’t convince yourself that in retirement you are going to be destined to a life of watching evening game shows and baking pies—unless of course, that is what you love to do,” says Milledge. “My advice is nothing is off-limits, so reach for the stars. Look forward rather than backward, and embrace the new you.”

Retire with Erickson Senior Living

Erickson Senior Living communities offer the perfect environment to live life at your own pace. Take advantage of the many activities available or just enjoy the opportunity to rest and relax—the choice is yours! To learn more, find a community near you or contact your local community.