August 28, 2012

9 Tips For Making Retirement More Satisfying

This is a guest post from Julia Valentine, retirement expert at, a social website for today’s grandparents. She writes that a fulfilling retirement should extend beyond the requisite financial plan to encompass your emotional wants, needs, and desires. Here are her nine tips on how you can make the most of your satisfying retirement

1. Aging brings wisdom, not decline

It has been said that what you think about, you bring about. Telling yourself you are going to flourish in retirement can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. At the very least, you might take slightly better care of yourself and, in turn, find your way into the virtuous circle of feeling better emotionally and physically, doing more interesting things, and ultimately enjoying yourself more. 

2. Age is just a number

Chronological age is merely the number of candles on your birthday cake, while psychological age is your perception of how vital and vibrant you feel. Since the latter is a subjectively experienced age, you have a great deal of latitude in constructing beliefs that will either help you or limit your ability to flourish after 50. Construct wisely. 

3. Creativity helps design your lifestyle

Discovering and exploring your everyday creativity is going to make a difference between boredom and the pure joy of being alive. Everyday creativity is invoked when the object of your creative efforts is your own life. It taps into our deepest need to feel useful and valuable. A creative life approach fosters flexibility and resourcefulness, helping you choose new pursuits, evolve with the changing times, and design a satisfying lifestyle.

4. Fulfilling true needs is essential 

Knowing what you want and, more importantly, what you need is difficult but critical. You cannot be happy without it. Research shows meeting one’s personal needs is essential for psychological health and, consequently, for more profound happiness, serenity, and a high quality of inner life. 

5. Know your motivation

Knowing why you do something is important because it will motivate you to go through with the action. Motivation is how we access the energy necessary to do anything, whether that means saving money, acquiring new skills, or staying fit to enjoy life after 50. Understanding your own intentions and desired result of any decision or activity will result in clarity, less frustration, more of what you want, and less guilt about foregoing what doesn’t meet your needs.

6. Fail to plan, plan to fail

Research proves that a successful, happy retirement is impossible without planning based on self-examination. People who plan end up with twice the wealth of people who do not. Beyond financial planning, it is imperative to take time to figure out what lifestyle needs must be fulfilled to make you happy, and then find specific ways to ensure those needs can be met. Retirement lifestyle design then becomes the driver for making good choices and building the foundation of physical, emotional, and financial health that ensures joy and fulfillment after 50.

7. Evolution trumps fear 

Do not be dragged along by the changing times when you have the freedom to preside over the process. While evolution may not always mean improvement or progress, life’s progression is certainly an inevitability that should be embraced, not eschewed. Change should be revered, not feared, as with change comes new learning and growth experiences — new opportunities and ways to contribute, to be significant, and to create meaningful experiences for your self and for the people around you. 

8. Joy requires harmony

A joyful life can only be truly achieved if your inner and outer worlds are in harmony – the alignment of your life’s needs and direction (which you can set to Joy, Meaning, Abundance, Fulfillment, or anything else you desire) with your inner resources, like attitude, abilities, talents, skills, experience, and personality traits. People wholly integrated at this level are conscious of their needs, emotions, impulses, pleasures, and pains. They enjoy an amazing quality of life with frequent peak experiences, are more at peace, and are less split between an experiencing-self and an observing-self.

9. Quality of life requires more than money

It is easy to mistake comfort for quality of life. An astonishing quality of life encompasses both material comfort and joy. To live with joy, it is imperative to not only identify and understand your emotional needs, but to actively work to meet them. Do this and the second half of your life will be even better than the first.

Thanks, Julia for your excellent thoughts.

Note: There has been no compensation paid to Satisfying Retirement for this guest post.


  1. Sherria, Great post about what really makes life and retirement satisfying. I was especially drawn to #8--Joy requires harmony. I know there have been times in my life where I struggled with the conflict you described. So true that when these are out of sync, joy is elusive. Thanks, Bob, for sharing this post.

    1. Hi, Galen,

      Yes, Sherri did a nice job with these nine points. I'm not surprised you latched onto joy!

  2. Note: I have corrected the name of the author of this guest post. Julia Valentine penned these words.

  3. This is a very timely post. For me #9 stood out because I've been feeling out of sync lately. I know that I'm not doing what I was meant to do, or something I enjoy doing.

    Mostly I'm working for the bottom line so that later I can hopefully enjoy my days of freedom from work. I was reminded that I have a very good life outside of my work life, and that this is just a job, and not my identity.

    The thing is I've had a pretty good first half of life, but the second seems to be lacking. I think that's just a function of being older and not financially secure at this point. When I was younger I could leave one job and find another one quickly. It's not that easy now so I must stay put until I can retire. My point is that it's not always about having alot of money, but it's the quality of life you live with whatever means you have.

  4. Bob/Julia, I think the title of your post could easily be changed to 9 Tips for Making Life More Satisfying. This is good advice for anyone. I particularly enjoyed #7 and fully believe that embracing change instead of resisting it is at the core of longevity and vitality. I may not always be able to keep up, but I will keep trying.


Inappropriate comments will be deleted