What does it mean to be a successful senior? For one thing, I hope you have gotten your finances in order. I hope you started young enough to have enough to live on right now at today’s prices. (Did you think about inflation?).
Successful seniors plan ahead for retirement. Earlier in life, they are in many different planning stages. As newlyweds, they plan to buy a house and furnish it, to have children, send them to school, and raise them well. In middle age, there is the run for the roses. They have to catch up if they did not put away enough in savings. They want to travel but it takes extra cash they may or may not have. As the approach old age (and it is a relative term these days), they better have not had all their eggs in one basket. If they thought their house was a great investment, think again. Prices have barely come back from the 2008 freefall. If they opted for mutual funds, they paid huge amounts of commission that lowered their return. If they left their money in the bank or money market funds, well they are in a sorry state of no profit.
So…the moral here is that successful seniors had it figured out long before they took that gold watch and said their corporate goodbyes. Money isn’t the answer to everything, but when you don’t have enough, it becomes the center of your life. If you were a conservative investor in your younger days, you probably did pretty well, as well as most others. You can’t get rich quick and you can’t earn more than the averages. It means taking risk and losing your valuable security blanket. But if you listened to advice and didn’t go in for stock trading or hedge funds, chances are you are all right. After all, in the long run, give or take a few years, the market has done pretty well. In addition, you now have a pension or a government program depending upon where you live. If you are successful, it means you are living well.
Statistics show that affluent people are really the middle class, not the rich. They are super affluent. If you can afford your life style and have a bit leftover for those odd expenses, you are affluent. If you feel secure that your retirement portfolio won’t run out of money if you live a few extra years, then you are affluent. It is a comfortable financial state and it sure beats the thousands upon thousands of people who are below the poverty line.
Successful seniors have good family relationships and great friends. They say that this is what keeps you young at heart and helps you live longer. Loneliness is the companion of an early death. Seniors in homes, in spite of the stereotypes, enjoy companionship and conversation. If you get it at home, so much the better, as long as you get it.
Successful seniors eat well and are fit. They are not overweight or even obese. They do not have diabetes, heart disease, or cancer because they had regular checkups with their personal physician and took care of problems early on.
Successful seniors are mentally alert because they read often, do puzzles and games, and stimulate their minds. They attend plays, concerts, art gallery showings, and lectures. They want to learn new things and absorb new stimuli. They take classes to learn about current events or a new language. They make friends and discuss ideas and the news.
Successful seniors feel alive and they look forward to more years on this planet. Their glass is half full, not half empty. They are not depressed or forlorn. They are energetic and spry. They look young for their age and they are up to date on the latest technology. They can use a computer with the best of them.
Finally, a word has to be said about one’s spiritual life. Successful seniors enjoy a religious affiliation and it is not restricted to any particular type. They enjoy the communal experience it affords and the belief system that enriches their minds. They embrace what others think with an open mind while sticking with their own preference. They are willing to share what they know about the divine and its place in one’s life.