February 4, 2015

How It All Fits Together

                           



Graphics are a great way to present something that may seem overly complicated, in a way that the concept is more easily grasped. This one is an example.

Building a satisfying retirement can seem overwhelming to many. There are so many pieces of the puzzle that must fit together that the thought of making such a major change can actually freeze someone in place.

The interlocking circles of this graphic representation might make it easier to see the big picture. Just like any stage of life, something you do in one area is likely to interact with another. For example, proper financial planning and preparation affects your plans for travel or how much time you can spend with friends. Health has a major impact in all the other parts of retirement.

Having a pet is not something isolated from the rest of your life, it impacts your finances, your family life, even whether you can take a three week trip to Bora Bora -  after all someone has to take care of Fido or Fluffy.

Your hobbies cost money, they take time away from your "spouse-time," and they may require learning more to really have fun with what you do.

I was somewhat limited in how many circles I could use and I know there are interconnections that don't appear, so please add your thoughts. What parts of life have you found impact (either directly or indirectly) something else going on?


15 comments:

  1. Great graphic Bob. My first thought after reading your article was that the grey circle isn't big enough for my personal satisfying retirement. A very big part of my life is learning. I want to understand more and more about life, how we interact with each other and and our heritage/history. I feel if I lose interest in these areas then I lose interest in life in general.

    I think your categories fit nicely together. Finance and Health are the bedrock for the others so they should be in a circle of their own. Without both of these retirement sometimes becomes a struggle to be overcome rather than satisfying to be enjoyed.

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    1. Like you, I would probably make my grey circle (volunteerism, learning, and travel) a bit bigger, though I can see the spirituality circle including volunteer work.

      Like you liked it, RJ.

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  2. Bob, this is a wonderful graphic. I think one of the best aspects of it is that people could change the size of the different circles to change the depiction of the proportion of their time and thought that is spent on each segment of their lives. As a previous commenter RJ said, his grey circle would be larger. For me, the orange circle would be smaller, since I don't have a partner, my family is small, and many of my friends are gone. You've made a verbal concept into a graphic one.

    May I ask, would you give me permission to reproduce your graphic in my blog?

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    1. Absolutely. Feel free to use it as you see fit.

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    2. Thank you! I will make it the theme of an upcoming post on my blog.

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    3. Bob, here is the blog post that your graphic inspired me to write: www.thingscouldbeworse.org/living-balanced-life. Thank you again for permission to use your creation.

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    4. Look great, Rin. I am glad it fit your needs.

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  3. My first thought was "environment," but not in the specific way of nature. I probably mean "milieu" but that is a more fancy word. Milieu ranges from the local all the way to the international. Locally, in visiting other cities or towns I have found, as I'm sure others know, that some just simply have a more hospitable community environment, including range of services and activities specifically for older citizens. My town is pretty near the bottom! Moving up to the state level, states vary in their benevolence to seniors, so the milieu can vary. Here my state ranks fairly well (no state taxes on retirement income and a 75,000 subtraction from value of a home for property taxes). Moving up to the national level, decisions made in Congress, or which Congress threatens to make, obviously impact on the ability of seniors to live a fulfilling life. At the international level, I think living in a milieu of repeated terroristic acts injects a wariness in me about plans to travel abroad. I wouldn't know how to graph this. Possibly it is one BIG circle (milieu) drawn around all the other spheres.

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    1. Interesting comment, B.E., and one that is quite important. The "protection" of seniors and what support we are given to craft a satisfying retirement does make a huge difference. As you note, that could easily be a circle big enough to hold all the others.

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  4. We are experiencing how dogs impact our satisfying retirement right now. Planning a vacation for 10 days and finding good care, in our home, for the pups was daunting. But, we found someone who loves animals and needed extra work for Feb., so it was a great win/win. We've always been fairly lucky with this in the past. Maybe it's because our dogs are so easy, even though one has special needs. But, the expense is daunting if we want to take more trips without them. We need to find the balance, and we will.
    b

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    1. When we went to Palm Springs last month we were lucky one of our daughters had no problem moving into our house and watching the dog. Next year we will be at the festival for a full 8 days which may mean we have to make other arrangements. Puppies do complicate things but are certainly worth it.

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  5. Nice graphic -- both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Like RJ, I thought the grey circle was way too small for my experience; learning, especially, is really important to me. But then I realized that learning is a passion with me, which puts it in the blue circle as well. I think the most important thing about this whole exercise is the visual reminder that a satisfying retirement isn't just about finances. Thanks, Bob! -Jean

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    1. A new web service allowed me to try their graphics for free so I thought I'd just play around with one of their templates - and I think it worked out pretty well.

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  6. For myself, I find the 'me' aspects of retirement need to be carefully balanced against the 'we' aspects, primarily family. In a perfect world I would travel 80% of the time, but I am very conscious of the impact that would have on my relationship with my daughters, and grandchildren, so I don't. The other aspect of staying in retirement balance for myself is to keep my foundation in place on a daily basis - exercise and good nutrition to enhance my energy, and mindfulness to enhance my serenity. It's pretty much all good after that.

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    1. I know I would travel more if family weren't so important to me, but that is a tradeoff I am very willing to make.

      Even after 14 years I struggle with balance. Different times of the year, even different days of the week seem to throw my ideal out of whack. Of course, who promised me my ideal?

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