January 31, 2018
What Factor Determines the Success of Your Satisfying Retirement?
I imagine you are thinking the answer must be having a solid financial foundation. After all, without enough money retirement can be an endless struggle.
Maybe you are thinking the most important factor is not wasting your time. You want to have fun, dig in the garden, read a powerful novel, help serve meals at the shelter, get lost in your favorite hobby, or play with your grandkids. Managing your free time is crucial.
Or, your guess is having a loving family or bunch of great friends who are there for you, whatever the situation.
No? Then, maybe it is living in your favorite place in the world: watching the waves crash on a rocky shore or perfect white sandy beach, looking at the snow-capped mountain tops, being energized by the urban bustle in the big city of your dreams, or living miles away from the noise of traffic and shopping malls, where your nearest neighbor is a 30 minute walk away.
Luck. That must be it. Since life is really unpredictable and the future is going to happen whether you are ready or not, the quality of your retirement is up to the fates.
Hold on, it must be attitude, or maybe perseverance.
These are all good answers, but not the one factor that determines the quality of your satisfying retirement.
That factor is....... problem-solving.
Everything I listed above is part of a positive retirement experience. All of them help build this stage of life into one that excites you, stimulates you, satisfies you.
But, without the ability to solve problems you will always struggle. No matter how well prepared you are financially, relationally, socially, or health-wise, retirement is going to put obstacles in your path. Something you didn't expect will happen. Something you did expect will fall through. When that crack develops in your path forward your ability to solve the problem will make all the difference.
Importantly, solving a problem doesn't always mean making it go away or having it get better. Sometimes a solution is more of an accommodation or acceptance to whatever the new reality is. Sometimes a solution is taking a different path forward or changes in lifestyle or expectations.
At its core, how you respond to whatever happens is the factor that will shape your retirement experience. You can approach whatever issue has knocked you off course as a wall or an obstacle to work around as best you can.