The 9 Keys to True Wealth

What is True Wealth?

Is it a number in your bank account? Is it the clothes you wear or the car you drive? While those things may be signs of wealth, they do not necessarily mean you are wealthy. True wealth goes much deeper than that. In the Bible, we are told that true wealth is a gift from God. It is a treasure that you can’t see or touch. It isn’t an external possession or a commodity.

True wealth is about all of the things that make your life joyful and fulfilling. It is about having a sense of abundance and a growth mindset. It is about feeling rich, regardless of how much money you have in the bank. It is about living a life of purpose and meaning.

According to Henry David Thoreau, "Wealth is the ability to fully experience life."

Everybody has their own definition of wealth, but the fundamentals are the same.

Here’s how I think about it. Your wealth is an encapsulation of everything affecting your happiness and sense of fulfillment. It’s not just how financially set you might be but also how you feel about yourself and your life in general. It’s about your health. It’s about your relationships. It’s about all the areas in your life that are important to you.

I think that we can all agree that having a roof over our head, being healthy and having the necessities in life are a starting point. For most people, however, having material possessions is not enough to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Most people also need a sense of purpose and a feeling that their lives matter. They need to feel useful and part of something bigger than themselves.  They need to look forward to something that matters to them be it a small goal or a massive dream that they have been living with forever.

The mix of all of these fundamental drivers, of course, varies from person to person. Everybody has a different vision for their life. You care about different things. Your life circumstances are different.

True Wealth is Multi-Dimensional 

I have a framework I use in my coaching practice called the NET WEALTH system to assess how wealthy you truly are and which areas of your life require your attention. You might have seen similar approaches before such as the “Wheel of Life” originally created by Paul J. Meyer, founder of Success Motivation® Institute, Inc.

Each letter corresponds to an area of life that research has shown to be important in determining a person’s happiness and sense of fulfillment.  

The NET WEALTH system incorporates all the major areas of your life – financial as well as non-financial. It’s a system that allows you to identify those areas in your life where you need to put attention and those where you already excel. It allows you to monitor where you are relative to where you see yourself as your Future Self based on your priorities.

The components of your NET WEALTH are the fundamentals that create happiness and fulfillment. By following the fundamentals that matter to you will be able to ignore the environmental noise and societal pull toward a one-size-fits-all life that most often leaves you feeling like a square peg in a round hole.

The 9 Keys to True Wealth


Living in a supportive environment

Your house is an important part of your environment, but so are your physical surroundings, the people you interact with, the community you live in, what you do on a daily basis, and, in general, everything that comprises the surroundings around you.

Where and how you decide to live should reflect the important role your environment plays in shaping your thoughts and behaviors. You may never have thought much about your surroundings before, but your environment is actually a critical determinant of the type of routines and lifestyle you end up adopting. In fact, research by Dr. Benjamin Hardy shows how your environment is a much more powerful influence on your behavior than willpower alone.

Oftentimes, we are not even aware of how our environment is affecting us. In his book Willpower Doesn’t Work, he states, “Much of your behavior is unconsciously cued by your environment.”

Your housing decisions are one aspect of your environment. Where you decide to live needs to be naturally in sync with all other areas of your life.


Creating a sustainable earnings stream

Wherever you want to go with your life and however you decide to get there, your Future Self requires fuel for the journey. The challenge is turning your assets – financial and human - into a sustainable earnings stream to fund your lifestyle.

Being earnings-rich has nothing to do with how much money you have in the bank. Being earnings-rich is about having an income stream that exceeds your cost of living. You could have lots of money but if you spend recklessly, you will eventually run out of money. Conversely you may not have a lot of money saved up but if your expenses are minimal and under control you’ll be just fine.

Being financially savvy requires managing both your sources of income (from wages, getting a decent return on your money, passive sources) and your expenditures (your necessities, wants and indulgences).

Yes, there is a lot more to financial health but it all begins with the basic fundamental that expenditures should not exceeds income in order to create a sustainable lifestyle.

T - Time

Spending time where it matters

As humans, we know that time on earth is a blessing, but somehow, we don’t treat time with the same respect and attention as we do other scarce resources--for example, money. We often believe that we will always have more time to do what we want to do in life.

There is always tomorrow, but as Author Sam Horn points out, “Tomorrow is not a day of the week.”

Specifically, how do you want to allocate your time? Time is our most precious resource, but many people still treat it as a renewable resource. Are you getting an acceptable rate of return on your time?

I use a concept from noted management consultant Stephen Covey called the time matrix. Your available hours are divided into four blocks:

  • Important and Urgent Activities – this is the time you want to manage
  • Not Important and Urgent Activities – best to avoid
  • Important and Not Urgent – this requires your undivided attention and focus
  • Not Important and Not Urgent – limit how much time you spend here

Do you know how your time is split between these four blocks?

Investing your time wisely requires thought (what matters to you), a plan (what are you going to do with your time), and action (creating practices and habits designed to maximize the return on your time).

W- Work

Utilizing your skills and life experiences

Many people think of their work simply in terms of company, title and pay. They don’t realize that work is actually a pretty important part of one’s identity. It’s also a major part of their social network and the source of structure and intellectual stimulation.

Working is more than just about money. Just ask one of the many people who “un-retire” every year. Surveys show that most of them do not go back to work for financial reasons. They do it to feel connected and vibrant.

For many people, the ideal work fulfills several of their needs at the same time. For example, my friend Greg found a way to combine his love of the seas, problem solving, and interacting with people by working as a charter boat captain.

What are you looking for in terms of work?

Do you find your current work satisfying?

E-EMotional Energy

Connecting your emotions to your journey

Humans are emotional creatures. Research has shown that our emotions drive our behavior. Understanding our emotions and responding appropriately is a key life skill.

Our emotions carry energy. In fact, the word emotion is derived from the concept of movement. The Latin derivative, “emotere,” literally means energy in motion.

In path-breaking research by Dr. David R. Hawkins, he classified common emotions along an energy scale, depicting the intensity of the feeling. Positive emotions give you energy, while negative emotions deplete it.

I think of negative emotions as a leak on a boat. A leak won’t initially sink the boat, but it will definitely weigh it down and slow its trajectory. The leak will overwhelm your thoughts. Eventually, the boat will sink unless the hole gets plugged in time. In any case, the boat ride will not be as enjoyable or smooth as it could have been.

Positive emotions, on the other hand, lift you up. They make the boat ride feel lighter and faster. Positive emotions allow you to think about all the good things in your life and give you a sense of possibility. They give you more energy to pursue your goals.

Your emotional energy is such a huge part of your NET WEALTH. With it, you can climb mountains and lead the type of life consistent with your Future Self. Without emotional energy, you’re likely to be always running on fumes and never quite having enough energy to reach your goals.

A - Achievements

Having something to work towards

Research in the field of positive psychology has found that happier and more fulfilled individuals seek new challenges. These individuals set goals for what they want to achieve in the future and set out necessary plans and action steps. Having something to look forward to gives structure to daily living. It provides clarity and a sense of direction. It moves people from a focus on the past to looking ahead.

Pursuing meaningful achievements throughout your life is an important driver of your wellbeing. These achievements don’t have to mirror those of Elan Musk or Nelson Mandela. They could be simple things, such as taking care of your grandchildren, planting a new garden, writing a book, or helping young entrepreneurs start a new business. It could involve working on any of the dreams and aspirations that you still harbor. 

Humans have a need to feel relevant and keep looking forward in life. When people focus exclusively on a life of comfort and pleasure, they tend to lose that connection to the world and their future. In comparison, people that also focus on fulfillment behave in ways that keep them vested in the bright future that they have envisioned for themselves. It’s a future that involves striving and working toward your dreams and aspirations.

l - learning

Keeping your mind sharp

Learning does not stop once you graduate from college or leave the corporate world. In today’s world, we all need to become lifelong learners if we are to keep up with all the change around us. The benefits of learning go beyond simply attaining more skills and possibly earning more money. Learning also has a lot of mental health benefits and can be a source of great joy and fulfillment.

Lifelong learning is not just a nicety to make time pass. To keep on learning is absolutely necessary for your wellbeing.

As people live longer, a critical skill is to adapt and learn new societal norms and practices. Mastering new ways of communicating and behaving in everyday life is part of fitting in society.

Research by Professor Valeri Helterbran at Duquesne University concluded that, “People over the age of fifty who said they continued to learn about topics that interested them were 18 percent more likely to feel satisfied with their lives and 43 percent more likely to feel vital.”

Learning something new is a great way to maintain brain health. The brain does particularly well when faced with novelty and challenge. Just doing the same things over and over will not generate new neural connections. It will reinforce and strengthen the connection, but learning something new that is also challenging provides the greatest benefits to brain health.

t - tribe

Maximizing the value of your social circle

Humans are social animals. All humans have a need for physical and emotional connection. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs places belonging right after our need for food and water and a safe place to live. Studies show that humans with high quality social connections tend to be happier as well as healthier.

People often underestimate the value of their social circle of family and friends until it is almost too late. They assume that people will be around when they need help, or that they will be just fine on their own. In reality, friendships as well as family connections need to be tended over time.

Your social capital depends on the quality and depth of your relationships. Your most important relationships are probably with your family. Some relationships will be based on business or professional connections and might be more transitory in nature. Others will be based on friendship, and yet others on areas of common interest.

h - health

Keeping your body in tip-top shape

Your physical health will drive much of your daily satisfaction with life. As people live longer the focus is shifting to quality of life. Research shows that our genes only account for about 30% of our overall aging. That means that 70% is due to the environment and the lifestyle choices we make. 

Our health is everything when we don’t have it, but we often ignore it until we are facing an issue that seriously derails our daily life. In the western world especially, we have grown accustomed to an unhealthy lifestyle of sedentary living, poor diet, and excessive food consumption. As a consequence, the average male in the U.S. is today, on average, ten pounds heavier than a couple of decades ago, without being any taller. 30% of U.S. adults over the age of 65 are considered to be medically obese.

The greatest tool protecting your health is exercise. You need to keep on moving. You also need to keep mentally engaged. It’s worth remembering the saying, “Use it or lose it.” It applies to both your physical as well as mental health.

We all know that we can’t postpone getting older and eventually dying. What we can do, however, is live as healthy as possible so that we not only live a long time, but also live well along the way.

Are you leading a Wealthy Life?

It's not all about the money, money, money. Although a comfortable financial situation is a major component of a wealthy life, it's not the only factor. A rich life is also about having strong relationships, good health, purpose and meaning, and a sense of fulfillment.

Money is important, but it's not everything. There are many other elements that contribute to a wealthy life. A person can be rich with or without money. Some people have plenty of money, but they're not wealthy because they don't have good relationships. Others may have a very comfortable lifestyle, but they are not rich because their health is poor.

  • Are all areas of your life aligned and in balance?
  • Are there areas that require your immediate attention?
  • Are you ready to commit and take action to become truly wealthy?
  • Do you have a plan for closing the gap between where you are today and where you want to be?

Warning - The trap awaiting most people

Most people fall into the trap of focusing only on money, and this can lead to a number of problems.

First, if you only focus on money, you may miss out on important aspects of your life. For example, you may not spend enough time with your family or friends, or you may not pursue your passions.

Second, focusing only on money can lead to greed and a desire for material possessions. This can lead to financial problems and debt.

Finally, if you only focus on money, you may forget about what is truly important in life. Instead, focus on your relationships, your health, and your happiness. These are the things that will truly make you wealthy.

Final Remainder

Wealth is not just about money. It’s about living a rich and fulfilling life. The American dream is about more than just money. It's about having a good life, and that includes being happy in your daily activities, being connected to friends and family, and accomplishing your passions.

Being wealthy is about having a balance between your physical, mental, and emotional health, your relationships, your finances, and your spirituality. If you have all of these things in balance, then you will be truly wealthy.

My book, Reimagining Retirement – 9 Keys to True Wealth is now available on Amazon.

Here’s the link:

The book is not going to tell how to amass enough money to buy a megayacht but it will help you lead a happy and fulfilling life in retirement. And, what could be better than that, right?

The book is geared at Baby Boomers already in the early stage or planning their retirement.

I would love it if you would buy a copy and write a review on Amazon.

5 Easy Ways to Regain Lost Time by Living Well

Time is like a river running down from the mountains. It always moves in one direction, and the second that flow of water touches you, it is past you. You can’t stop the flow. But unlike a river, time does not get replenished.

When the flow of time is plentiful, you take it for granted, but as the flow starts diminishing, you begin to notice and value it more highly. Over time, the flow of time starts drying out and the flow becomes a trickle and eventually stops. Time becomes more valuable as we have less of it.

Computer Science Professor Randy Pausch faced this reality when he was diagnosed in August of 2007 with terminal pancreatic cancer at the age of 46. He was given three to six months to live. He eventually passed away in July 2008 but not before delivering one of the most watched YouTube videos of all time.

A self-described efficiency freak, Randy preferred to answer his phone while riding his bike (not sure that I would try this). He joked once in a lecture that he had yet to find a way to make more time, but he was trying.

While Randy never did find a way to make more time, he became an instant expert on what to do with his limited time on earth the minute he was given his terminal diagnosis. As is customary of retiring faculty at Carnegie Mellon, he was asked to deliver a final lecture.

After his terminal diagnosis his wife Jai did not think that giving a lecture was a good use of his limited time, but there was something inside of Randy that kept pushing him, and he committed to a September 18 date.  It took Randy a while to figure out exactly what he wanted to say, but it finally dawned on him that all the things he valued in life were rooted in the dreams and goals he had as a child, so he aptly named his last lecture “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.

The lecture has been viewed over 20 million times on YouTube, but its popularity has less to do with achieving your childhood dreams and more with how to lead your life the right way. “If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you,” was Randy’s key message.

Nothing makes you realize the value of time more than knowing that your time is finite. 

randy pausch

-Carnegie Mellon

"Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think"

We cannot make more time but we can change how fast we age

Our minds might tell us we’re 65 or 37 years old but in reality our internal age may be significantly different.

I know what you’re thinking.

Is this yet another version of Benjamin Button?  

And in a sense it is but it’s also based on recent academic research on aging. Specifically research dealing with the difference between your chronological and biological age. Your chronological age is based on your birthday. In contrast, your biological age depends on how healthy you are, not when you were born. It measures the wear and tear on your body parts.  

For example, in a study done by Dr. Dan Belsky at Duke University following adult males from the time they were 26 years old to age 38 he found that the rate of aging varied tremendously. The study looked at measures such as the functions of kidneys, liver, lungs, metabolic and immune systems as well as levels of cholesterol, cardio fitness, lung function and the length of telomeres (these are the caps at the end of our DNA strands that have been found to shorten with age).

The results were eye-opening. Some males were aging as fast as three years per chronological year while others were lowering their bio age at a rate less than that predicted by their chronological age. At the end of the study participants all 38 years of age exhibited a biological age range from 30 to nearly 60 years old.

Other researchers have used different methods to measure aging such as the epigenetic clock discovered by Dr. Steve Horvath at UCLA in 2013. What’s remarkable about the epigenetic clock is its accuracy in predicting lifespan even after adjusting for chronological age, gender, health practices and previous aliments.  

This is not some new age science peddled by oil snake salesmen. It’s serious research backed by hundreds of millions of dollars of new venture capital. It’s been rumored that anti-aging Company Altos Labs who counts Steve Horvath among its staff and reputably Jeff Bezos among its investors has raised close to $300 million since its inception in 2021. Investing in age-related research has taken off with no signs of cooling off.

Anti-aging is not just reserved for ego-maniac billionaires

Have you ever wondered why some people look and act much younger than their chronological peers? My 93 year old uncle in Costa Rica is one of them. He still travels the world by himself, looks amazing, walks everywhere and socializes across all age groups. I’m not sure what his biological age is but I am pretty sure that it is much lower than the number of candles on his birthday cake (if that is even possible).

People can be significantly younger than their chronological age and guess what? Here’s the best part is that all it takes according to Dr. Kara Fitzgerald author of the Younger You is proper diet and a healthy lifestyle.

You must be wondering, “Can it really be that easy?”

That’s what I was wondering about until I looked at the results of her pilot study where participants reduced their biological age by over 3 years by following an 8 week program of a very doable diet and lifestyle. No strange injections or supplements. Everything in the study could have been bought at your local grocery store.  No need to be a billionaire like Jeff Bezos or Larry Ellison.

Now, the pilot study was admittedly small but Dr. Fitzgerald as well as numerous functional medicine practitioners have been finding remarkable results with their clinical patients throughout the years by following very similar diet and lifestyle recommendations.

I am not a doctor but I think that there is something to all of this that can be highly beneficial to our lives. In a sense I don’t really care about how much younger I might be biologically but what I do care about is feeling younger and more energetic today and in the future.

That’s why I was impressed by some of the key benefits from following the recommendations in Younger You and other functional medicine practitioners:

  • Improved energy and mood
  • Fewer headaches, skin irritations, and less joint pain
  • Improved gastrointestinal health
  • Lower "bad" cholesterol
  • Drop in insulin and blood sugar levels

To be clear nobody is promising eternal life. What the research shows is that easy to implement nutrition and lifestyle practices can make our biological age move in reverse. By how much is still an open question but the premise that one can significantly improve one’s quality of life is enough for me.

Deepak Chopra

-Medical Researcher

"Your biological age is a critical component in the entire aging process, and again, can be very different from your chronological age"

I hope that you find this research as exciting as I do but before I get to some science-based recommendations for how to lower your biological age first we need to clear up a couple of widely held misconceptions that could be holding you back:

Misconception #1 - It's all about your genes

How many times have you heard people justify their lifestyle and in particular their nutrition and exercise choices on their ancestor’s genes? “There is no point in eating healthy as I come from bad genes”. Or, “Everybody in my family has died young so why should I kill myself exercising.” And there is the other extreme of “My parents both lived to 95 years of age and they never exercised?” “I’m luckily from a good gene pool”.

There is a common myth held even among highly educated people that your genes determine how long we live. I must admit that I held this view for a long time. My dad lived to age 88 and my mom to age 92. On my mom’s side of the family there are people that have lived past 100. So for many years I held on to the notion that I had good genes and that I would live into my 90’s.

What I didn’t know is that genes only account for about 30% of a person’s longevity. The environment in which we live and our lifestyle choices account for the rest. Where we live, what we eat, our ability to deal with stress, our general fitness, and our mental outlook are all more important taken together than our genetic endowment.

Misconception #2 - Everybody ages at the same rate

We tend to lump people into age groups and believe that everybody is basically the same. For example, a person older than 65 years of age is in the retired bucket. Anybody in their 80’s is decrepit and in need of daily assistance, and so on.

In reality there is a wide divergence how people age. Based on looks some people age well, others not so. That’s the external side, but what about under the hood? Different body parts age at different rates within all of us. Medical research done on identical twins has found that the older you are the more variation in overall health. The same genes applied to different environments and lifestyle choices can lead to a wide spectrum of health outcomes.

Everybody gets older but we do it at significantly different rates depending on our environment and lifestyle choices. The importance of your genetic endowment diminishes with age. Our health care choices and actions become much more influential.

Misconception #3 - You can't do anything about it

Many people admit defeat before even trying. They’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle that they are comfortable with and do not want to change. While we are all experts at rationalizing our behavior, there is always a benefit to improving your lifestyle and health choices.

Clearly, the older you are the less beneficial these changes will be to your overall health, but studies have shown that even individuals already in their 60’s and 70’s show significant improvements to their overall health after going through wellness programs involving diet, stress management and exercise.

It's never too late to start. Some of the recent "senior" runners in the Boston marathon did not get started until their 50's or 60's. 

Levering research to feel and look great

You must be wondering what comes next. Surely the hammer is about to drop. A bad surprise? The recommendation to only eat rabbit food, drink water, and run in circles for a minimum of six hours a day? Easy if you’re a hamster, right?

Here’s something we can both agree on – eating like a hamster won’t work. Not in the short-term but certainly not in the long-term.

But before you get discouraged I have some great news. You don’t have to become a hamster. All you have to do is follow some easy and fairly straightforward nutrition and lifestyle suggestions.

Now, to be clear I am not recommending a specific protocol or guaranteeing a drop in your biological age. For that go look up the specific guidelines of the Younger You or similar programs.

I am, however, suggesting a set of anti-aging practices that the vast majority of functional medicine practitioners have found helpful but that too many of us have not quite yet implemented in our daily lives.

Here’s we go:

Anti-Aging Practice 1 - Proper Nutrition

Watch your diet - preferably prepare meals at home emphasizing a plant-based diet. Dr. Marc Agronin author of the book “The Dementia Caregiver” swears by the MIND diet which includes generous portions of fruits and vegetables, fish, legumes, chicken, and olive oil while refraining from processed foods, sugar, whole-fat dairy and red meat. At home meals typically have 30% fewer calories than restaurant meals. Poor diet is both the number one cause of death and long-term disability in the US.

Maintain a healthy body weight - Obesity is linked to all sorts of issues such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Keep your body mass index (BMI) between 19 and 25. I know, not easy to do and the trend globally has been up. Fight the trend for your own survival. Your metabolism slows 5 percent every decade after the age of thirty. Don’t eat like your younger self. You will only make it harder on yourself.

Watch your sweet tooth - Sugar intake is becoming a key public health issue contributing to major adverse effects. Sugar makes your blood insulin levels spike. High-sugar diets are associated with an increased risk of many diseases, including heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide. High-sugar diets can also lead to obesity, inflammation and high triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure.

Drink alcohol in moderation - that means a lot less than you think. Most doctors would have you stop at one drink per day. If you’re going to drink, have some red wine. Your liver will thank you. Excessive alcohol consumption lowers the body’s immunity to disease.

Never smoke – enough said.

Anti-Aging Practice 2 - Exercise

Move – walk, jog or run. You could take a spin or Zumba class. Anything to get your heart pumping. The optimal aerobic training involves maintaining between 60 and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate for between 30 and 45 minutes. Your maximum heart rate is calculated as 220 minus your age. I just turned 60 years old so my maximum heart rate is 160. Ideally, I should exercise at least three times a week and maintain my heart rate between 96 to 128 heart beats per minute. Get yourself a heart monitor.

Aerobic exercise has all kinds of beneficial effects on your physical heath. It has been shown to lower your risk for strokes, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. On top of that your mental and emotional energy will improve

Pump Up – strength training to build muscle strength. You don’t have to be all jacked up, but you should do enough strength training to overcome what doctors refer as sarcopenia.  Sarcopenia begins in your mid-30s and refers to the gradual loss of muscle mass. 

Both men and women should do strength training. It does not have to involve the use of free weights. You may prefer exercise machines which are easier for many people to use or work out at home using minimal equipment. You could rely on elastic band resistance training or simple old-fashioned exercises such as planks, pushups and squats. The idea is to reduce your body’s frailty. Two or three times a week for between 30 and 45 minutes should suffice.

Stretch – build flexibility and balance. This is really important as your muscles tend to stiffen up with age along with your risk for a fall. Dr. Mark Williams in his book The Art and Science of Aging Well recommends doing between 10 and 15 minutes daily of flexibility and balance training. If you enjoy group lessons, you’re in luck – you may want to try yoga, Tai Chi or Barre.

Anti-Aging Practice 3 - Mind Games

Keep learning new things -it might be learning to speak Spanish or how to build a rock wall. It might be learning more about the environment or how to salsa dance. Everybody should embrace becoming a lifelong learner. It’s not true that creativity declines with age. In fact, the ability to connect things and events while interpreting the context at hand increases with life experience and wisdom.

Challenge your brain - doing the same things over and over is highly unlikely to challenge your brain. You need to innovate. Medical researchers have found that the brain thrives on novelty and new challenges. If you never try anything new your connections in your brain will atrophy in a process known as synaptic pruning.

Our brains literally grow with our own actions and experiences. The brain is constantly being reshaped by a process called brain plasticity. Feed your brain new experiences and it will keep on building interconnections. Tackling something new is what’s important. Listen to Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Going through the same routine everyday simple re-enforces existing brain connections, but novelty is necessary to build new connections. Make it part of your daily routine to challenge your brain.

Practice mindfulness – we all need to learn to at times slow down our thoughts. Many of the nitty gritty issues that annoy us on a daily basis will lessen in importance the more we can quiet our mind. 

Mindfulness as practiced, say, through meditation enables us to lower our stress level and better enjoy the present. Lowering stress in our fast-moving society is increasingly becoming absolutely necessary for ensuring a healthy body, mind and brain. There are many forms of meditation. I don’t personally subscribe to any one form. For me it is more about quietly sitting down first thing in the morning and slowing down whatever is going through my head at the moment.

Anti-Aging Practice 4 - Managing Stress

Write your thoughts down. Journaling on a daily basis is one of the best ways to find clarity and slow our minds down. It seems that once you write something on paper many of our fears do not look as overwhelming.

Visualization is a close cousin of journaling. The idea is to visualize past happy experiences or things that bring you inner peace which in turn will shift attention away from the source of immediate stress. Maybe it is a memory from growing up, a favorite tree, or a special place in your heart.

Go for a walk, preferably surrounded by nature. Look up, around, and down. Look at the tree leaves swaying in the wind and listen to the sound of birds. If you’re lucky enough to live close to a place with water look at the rhythm of the water and listen carefully. Close your eyes. Breathe.

Breathe. Celebrity doctor Andrew Weil is a huge fan of breath work for dealing with stress. We often think of breathing as a purely automatic response, but by consciously measuring your breaths in and out you can gain control over your emotions.

Listen to calming music. This one works wonders for me. Many years ago, as part of a corporate retreat, I was tested to see what would lower my immediate stress level. For some people it is moving around. For others, it is breathing, and for me, it was listening to music.

Think of the worst possible outcome and how likely it really is. This idea comes from blogger Tim Ferris. Stress is a manifestation of fear. Tim’s suggestion is to stop and think what might actually go wrong, then quantify the likelihood of the worst outcome actually happening. This simple reframing will lower your stress as you realize that our worst hardly ever come true.

Pray or appeal to a spiritual power. I’m a bit reluctant to bring this up because many people frown at the mention of religion. But I do find that just by slowing down and speaking to a higher power, whatever that might be, tends to calm you down. I was raised Catholic, but when I pray, I talk to a higher power that does not fit any particular religious belief system. I simply believe that if you really need help there will be mysterious ways in which assistance will come your way. That belief by itself calms me down.

Anti-Aging Practice 5 - Playing the long Game starting Now

There is no tomorrow if there is not a today. Get going. Investing in your health is analogous to investing in your financial future. Taking that first step is hard but little steps done consistently yield a world of benefit.

Many people start small because that’s all they can do. A walk around the block, saying no to a night cap, doing 3 pushups, eating one portion instead of two, going to bed ½ hour earlier or starting a meditation practice.  It’s never too late to start living a healthier lifestyle.

Stanford University Professor, Dr.BJ Fogg, says that there are three ways to develop new habits – have an epiphany, change your environment, or start by changing in tiny ways.  Having an epiphany is too rare to be useful. That leaves us with the two other possibilities.

Changing your environment – your surroundings and who you associate with most frequently – is a great strategy for creating lasting lifestyle changes. Want a healthier, more physically active lifestyle? Try living in a community with easy access to nature trails and physical activities such as swimming, and exercise lessons.

As psychologist, Dr. Benjamin Hardy has said, “While you’re in an enriched environment, your desired behavior is automated and outsourced.” A healthy environment will almost automatically lead to an upgrade in lifestyle.

Institute small changes in your routines - a faster, more efficient method for creating change is to seek to implement small changes in the intended direction. That’s what Dr. BJ Fogg recommends in his book, Tiny Habits. Start by implementing small steps.

Do something that is easy to do, but do it consistently. A new habit takes time to form. A friend of mine once told me that for him running was as automated as brushing his teeth. That’s your goal – starting a behavior that you know will lead to a healthier lifestyle to the point where you continue doing it routinely without even thinking about it.

Turning Defense into Offense

According to the World Health Organization the average life expectancy for somebody living in the US is 78.5 years old. The average person can expect to enjoy 68.5 years of good health. That leaves the average person to live the last 10 years of their lives in poor health.

In the western world especially, we have grown accustomed to an unhealthy lifestyle of sedentary living, poor diet, and excessive food consumption. As a consequence, the average male in the US is today, on average, ten pounds heavier than a couple of decades ago without being any taller. Is that living well, or do you want to lower your biological age to enjoy a more energetic life in retirement?

The average person’s approach to their health care is to play defense. Medical Technology and medicines help you keep disease at bay. We all know that no game in life can be won by only playing defense. You must also learn to play offense and be proactive about maintaining good health.

I have given you 5 easy ways to switch from defense to offense but only you can execute on the field. Time to take advantage of science-based approaches to lowering your bio age. Your reward is a  more energetic and healthy you! 

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Top 5 Reasons Why Your Dream Retirement May Be Sinking FAST

Even Pros and Science Teachers can fail the big Test

Just ask former Professor Nancy Schlossberg a well-known researcher of retirement and transition issues. Professor Schlosberg first retired from a long academic career in 1998 and moved like many of her generation to sunny Florida.

The transition from professor to retiree did not go as planned. Instead of feeling elated, she felt lost. Instead of taking it easy, she kept searching for something meaningful to do. After some soul searching she discovered that she missed her identity as a college professor. She had trouble adjusting to being “fully” retired. She choose to “un-retire” to write a book.

As anybody that’s tried it, writing a book can be as demanding as or even more so than your typical day job. Professor Schlossberg was an expert on retirement before she retired yet she still found the transition difficult. Since her "first" retirement she has written not one but eight books - the last one (she swears) was published in 2017. 

Here's another story. 

I recently took an Uber ride on a cold winter night in Boston and, as I usually do, started a conversation with the driver. It turns out that the driver (I’ll call him Mike) started driving for Uber three years ago.

He appeared to be in his late 60’s so I asked him what he did before driving for Uber to which he chuckled and said NOT THIS." 

"This was all my granddaughter’s idea.”

It turns out that Mike retired after a 30 year career as a high school science teacher. After sitting back and relaxing for the first few years, he grew bored and anxious.

“Playing golf and watching reruns of the Walton’s can only take you so far.” 

Mike tried to go back to his old job but they had moved on. He tried tutoring high school students but found the work unfulfilling. He didn’t miss the work, but rather the people. He missed being a part of things!

Then one day, his granddaughter said that he should be an Uber driver. “I had no idea what that was, but my granddaughter showed me how it works.” He thought about it. He liked getting out of the house. He could use a few bucks and best of all he could pick his schedule. If he didn’t like it, no big deal.

For Mike it’s been three years as an Uber driver and he loves it. Of course, not always the driving part but engaging with people oftentimes his granddaughter’s age.

“I learn so much from just hearing them talk and more often than not we end up having our own conversations. It has made my retirement so much more enjoyable. Rather than talking about the good old days like most of my former colleagues, I get to feel part of the real world.”

Benjamin Franklin


"I didn't fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong"

Retirement - easy if you're a robot, challenging if you're a real person

Most people think that retirement is a breeze. It’s the time in life when you no longer have any family and career commitments that suck up all your time and energy. It’s all beautiful sunsets and relaxing walks on the beach. No need to worry about anything anymore.

Sounds great, if only it were true.

In reality, many retirees find themselves at a loss. After so looking forward to their “golden” years they find themselves bored, disappointed and often anxious about the future.

How’s it possible to fail at retirement? 

With all the free time?

Without the stress of yet another soul-sucking “corporate” restructuring?

What's wrong here?

Surely, these Baby Boomers must a bunch of malcontents. They have it so much better than grandma and grandpa! They have raided the young with their generous social security and Medicare programs and they are still bummed out? 

All true and that makes it feel even worse. It sucks!

When you’re supposed to having the time of your life and you’re not you feel even worse. Like something is wrong with you. Like you’re the only one at the dance without a partner. You feel guilty. You feel like you’re wasting the rest of your life.

Awful isn’t it? "Poor bastards" you may think.

Let me tell you a little secret,

We ALL have these depressing thoughts!

Even pros like Nancy Schlossberg or my Uber driver, Mike. I have had these thoughts and I am not quite retired yet.

Tell me the truth,

Are you the only person on the planet that has not had these feelings?

Nobody told you about the rough side of retirement, did they?

You’ve been going through transitions your whole life. The one into retirement is supposed to be easy.

You have been dreaming about retiring for years. You anticipated smooth sailing ahead, but suddenly the seas have turned choppy and the headwinds have picked up. Nothing you can’t deal with but still stressful. Not exactly the ride you expected especially at this stage in life.

Nobody told you about these “challenges”.

Nobody. Even your best friend that retired a while back kept his pie-hole shut. It’s as if in order to be indoctrinated into the “retirement club” you need to go through the stress and annoyance of hazing all by yourself.

Why couldn’t somebody have warned you before? You would have prepared better and sailed right thorough the storm into retirement bliss.

I get it. I often wish that things were different. Easier for sure, but it never seems to work this way. You’re always that lone wolf lost in the woods having to find your way out without any help.

You may still be that lone wolf lost in the woods but I am going to tell you about a couple pitfalls to look out for.

Unfortunately I can’t hold you by the hand and promise that everything will be all right, but at least you’ll be forewarned.

Here we go.

Look out for the 5 WARNING SIGNS THAT COULD sink your Dream Retirement


Playing footloose with your finances

  • Overspending especially in the early years of retirement
  • Not  getting a decent return on your money
  • Ignoring the compound loss of purchasing power caused by inflation

The surest way to mess up your journey is to run out of fuel. Money is necessary as the fuel that propels your life in retirement. Without it you will live in survival mode and who wants that?

You might live 2 or 3 decades in retirement. You need your money to last and, therefore, you need to manage your financial resources.

There are two key ingredients to your financial health.

One is balancing your expenses and sources of  income.  You can't just spend willy-nilly and expect not to drain your savings.

The other is to keep your financial assets working for you by investing in strategies designed to beat inflation.    

Try this,

  • Have a realistic budget (that you stick to) and allocate some leftover money to unforeseen contingencies
  • Don't become overly risk averse with with your financial assets - you still need to get a return and that means taking some investment risk
  • Distinguish between "needs" and "wants" - evaluate how much your "wants" are costing you. Your "needs" are your priority


Watching the same re-runs over and over

  • Sticking to an outdated identity
  • Complaining about how the world has changed (in a bad way)
  • Sticking only to what you’ve done in the past

We all enjoy watching re-runs occasionally but after a while most of us crave something new.

People that spend all their time thinking about the past not only get stuck in their own heads but little by little start annoying even their closest friends and family.

Do you have friends that keep talking about their "glory" days? Like your friend that "casually" keeps mentioning what a big shot they were at work? Annoying, right?

Our roles in life change over time.  Our circumstances change. The world changes.

Rather than living in the past, the goal should be to move forward and grow into the best version of ourselves for the stage in life we're in. 

Something to Think About,

  • Be grateful for your past, live in the present, and look forward to the future
  •  Adopt an identity consistent with your current stage in life
  • Re-imagine your life by consciously designing your Future Self

Bill belichick

-nfl coach

"To live in the past is to die in the present"


Seeing the bogeyman everywhere

  • Focusing on things you have no control over (the weather, the stock market, crooked politicians, millennials (not your children, of course) 
  • Only doing “safe” things that you have done ad nauseum in the past
  • Ignoring the drain that negative emotions exert over you

Retirement brings out many fears in people. We can let fear of the unknown drive our behavior but at the cost of our world becoming smaller and smaller.

If we let fear win, our whole lives will be spent playing defense. We'll avoid doing anything we haven't done before.

We'll chop off the upside of life to prevent "bad" things happening to us. The truth is, many of those "bad" things may or may not happen. Are you that afraid of the unknown to limit good things from happening to you? 

Try this,

  • Put some space between your thoughts, emotions and actions. Don't allow your unchecked negative emotions dominate your behavior
  • Inch out of your comfort zone. Taking action is the best recipe for dealing with your fears even if all you take are tiny steps
  • Change your environment (if it reminds you of your concerns and worries) to reinforce the type of person you want to become. Yes, you can become the Fearless Leader of your Life!

patty digh


"The death rate for people who play it safe and for people who live boldly is the same: 100%"


Loving "Manana" a lot more than today

  • Avoiding having any structure to your day
  • Being “busy” versus being "productive"
  • Always thinking that "manana" is the best time

Are you always busy? Are you always putting stuff off? Never seem able to find the time to go for your dreams?

If you are, it could it be that you don't value your time enough. It could be that your priorities are off. You say one thing but act as if you will live forever.

Time can be your friend or enemy. You choose by your actions. We all get the same 24 hours a day. As author Sam Horn likes to say, "tomorrow is not a day of the week."

Make each hour count in the way that matters to you. For some people that is spending quality time with a friend or relative. For others it is about learning a new skill that will help them down the road.

You decide what is important to you and make the time for it. Simple!

Try this, 

  • Evaluate what you’re doing that’s keeping you so busy. Is it important, or just a bad habit? Bonus Question: How many hours a day do you spend in front of your TV or computer?
  •  Allocate time to the things that matter to you - your relationships, your vocation, your hobbies, your health, for instance. These are the things that five years from now you will be grateful you invested in  
  • Track how you spend your time for a couple of weeks. Then decide if your time allocation is consistent with  the life you want to lead. What are you over-investing in? What important area of your life is being neglected? 

steven covey

-motivational coach 

"Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important"


Not accepting new members into the Friends & Family Club

  • Not replacing lost friendships with new ones
  • Relying only on your spouse and immediate family for support and interaction
  • Only interact with people your own age and social status

Who's on your team? Does your team keep you going when you're feeling blue? Are you, in turn, a key player on somebody else's team?

We all need to have a good team around us. People we can trust and especially people we love and appreciate for who they are. The type of people that support you in whichever way you need at the moment. It might be a pep talk. It might be tough love. It might be as a sounding board. 

People come and go throughout our lives. As palliative nurse Bronnie Ware states in her book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying,  not staying in touch with close friends is a big regret for people. Sad but true. 

How many good friends have we had throughout our lives that we no longer stay in touch with?   I know I have several and unfortunately some are gone already.

It's inevitable that we will lose some friends over time. We will also lose family members that we love. Nothing is static but that is more reason to stay engaged with the world and keep our social circles fresh and vibrant.

Like a good gardener we must nourish and nurture our friends and family.

Something to Think About

  • Participate in fun activities that involve group interaction with people outside of your current social circle 
  • Adopt an attitude of being of value to others - you never know when you'll need help
  • Mentor a young person, work outside the home, help a neighbor, volunteer, engage in the world in any way you can


-ancient african proverb

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go the distance take a team"

Plug your Holes before they sink you Dreams

It's never easy right? Everybody told you that retirement would be a piece of cake but now you know. Even pro's like Nancy Schlossberg  and retired science teachers can fail at retirement.

Failure is not necessarily bad if you learn from the experience. Everybody looks at retirement as a one and done thing when in reality it is about the rest of your life.

You could spend 2 or 3 decades retired.

Don't you think that a lot will happen during this time? 

The expectation that we need to figure it all out before we retire and then stick religiously to the game plan leads to nothing but frustration. Not only does the world change but so do your circumstances. More importantly, you will change as you transition through this next phase in life. 

And as we all know, transitions are never easy.

Retirement is an end to your primary career days but not an end to your life as you know it. Some of your nagging life challenges will stay with you forever as will some of your key personality traits and values.

All retirement does is free you from the job you once had. It gives you to freedom of a new beginning but getting through the "messy middle" as MEA founder Chip Conley would say is not a gimme.

Why should we expect only smooth sailing in retirement?

Instead of expecting perfection a better approach might be to, as noted coach Zig Zigler once said,

 "Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes."

The key prerequisite of a successful retirement is taking action. It involves plugging those pesky holes that we all encounter before they sink our dream retirement.

Take that first step! You'll be thankful you did five years from now.

Imagine what a retirement full of possibilities would look like! 

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Don’t Let Fear of the Unknown throw Shade on your Retirement

Fear is the mother of all emotions

Call it plain old fear or fear of the unknown, it does not matter.

Fear stops us in our tracks. Fear often shows up when it shouldn't.

Like, right before you're about to retire! 

We all have this idea that when we retire everything will be so much better, so much easier, but the reality is often different. 

Instead of stressing about work, the daily commute, and evading your "way-too-young" boss all you now have to look forward to are leisurely strolls on a sunny beach, relaxing evenings with fellow retirees, and fun-filled activities throughout the day. Am I right?

Retirement is supposed to be stress-free, right?

You would think so, but in reality maybe all you have done is swap one set of fears for another.  

Fear can become overwhelming and cripple people the same way that a physical disability can. Fear is debilitating. Unchecked it can seriously harm the quality of our existence, and cause damage to our physical and mental souls.

robin Sharma

-motivational coach

"The fears we don't face become our limits"

Transitions can be scary

Anytime we face a major transition in life we have to deal with the inevitable voice in our head that warns us of imminent dangers and pitfalls ahead. It makes sense, right? Our brains are wired to first and foremost detect change and warn us that something unusual and dangerous might lie ahead.

Retirement is a major transition for most people. You are leaving your previous life behind but what are you transitioning to?  Do you know for sure? 

Anytime we do something new we face these “warning” voices – from "be careful and don’t jump ahead too far" to "run away and hide". That little voice is our primitive brain protecting us from possible danger, but sometimes it is doing nothing more than preventing us from all the good that might be on the other side of fear and uncertainty.

Change involves discomfort. Very few people like being uncomfortable, but overcoming it is the only way forward during periods of personal transition. Retirement is no exception and for many people it brings out many fears – some acknowledged upfront and some hidden. 

Fear holds us back from new beginnings.  We might pull back from going full throttle into our new phase in life. We might endlessly wait for the "right" time. We may just become paralyzed. We may never get to enjoy the retirement we envisioned for ourselves and that in itself would be scary, right?

We all have fears, but we have a choice how to deal with them. Ignoring them does not work. They just keeps coming back. Always adopting a sunny attitude regardless of what may be going on in our lives also does not work for most people. Rather we need ways to manage our fears because they are always there. They will dissipate at times but come back with a vengeance when we least expect them.

When you retire from your work you don't also retire from life. Your personality and identity don't change overnight. Your emotions certainly don't.

What you're feeling in retirement is probably not that far off from what other people are feeling. Let's take a look and you tell me if any of these fears are yours as well.

  • Physical deterioration
  • Running out of money
  • Mental decline
  • Becoming a burden on family
  • Feeling invisible

Let's explore these further,

Fear #1 - Physical Deterioration

Every day we get a bit older. We all know that. What we all fear the most is not the inevitable physical decline, but a sudden deterioration in our physical condition that would seriously impact our lifestyle. It could be a sudden illness, or falling down and breaking a hip.

What really petrifies people is the possibility of becoming permanently dependent on other people for daily living.  We fear becoming incapable of leading the type of life that we had envisioned in retirement. 

People near or in retirement think about physical decline a lot more than young people. After all we have already seen some signs that we're no longer what we used to be.

We all know how the game is going to end but is our only choice to live in fear for the next two or three decades?

The Alternative

Have you thought about how you're aging? Is there anything you can do to improve your health? Are you willing to take control of the aging process?

Have you come up with your own health plan besides someday eating better and exercising more? Your health is an investment in the quality of your life. Ask yourself, is your lifestyle focused on nutrition, physical activity, mental stimulation, adequate sleep, and maintaining close social connections? Yes, all those things not just one or two or what comes easy to you.

Your mind, body, and spirit are all related. For starters, do you have an exercise plan emphasizing aerobic, strength and flexibility activities? All too often people do one type of exercise and forget about the others. There’s a saying in the fitness world that aerobic fitness allows you to live longer but strength and flexibility allow you to live better. You probably want both.

Maintaining physical health is not just about maintaining your body parts in good order. Physical health is also highly correlated with your emotional makeup.

The best way to manage your fears of physical decline is to be proactive about your health. Invest in your health.  

What You Can Do:

  • Adopt a healthy eating plan focused on nutrition and portion control  
  • Combine aerobic, strength and flexibility exercises
  • Sleep at least 7 hours a night and allocate time for daily recovery

Bank Owned sign in lawn

Fear #2 - Running out of money

Yuk, do we really have to talk about money again? 

Nobody likes to talk about money, but in this day and age of being responsible for your own retirement the topic of money is always front and center. As much as we would like to just assume that everything will be fine we all know that when it comes to money issues we can’t simply ignore our fears and stash them away.

Money has many emotional connotations for people, but at the end of the day money is what allows us to pay for our lifestyle. Some people enjoy a Spartan lifestyle requiring minimum financial resources. Other people have become accustomed to a more expensive lifestyle requiring a fair amount of savings and additional sources of income. Where do you fit in? Could you be happy in retirement without massive financial resources? 

The fear of running out of money cuts across the board whether you are wealthy or not, but is magnified in today’s world as people live longer. In fact, your retirement could last three decades or longer.

In the US for example, life expectancy has increased by four years in the last century while the average actual retirement age has remained constant at 62 years of age. As people retire they should expect to fund a longer period of time in retirement than maybe they had anticipated. Running out of money is a real fear.

The Alternative

The fear of running out of money is real and needs to be addressed by today’s retirees through realistic financial planning and a sustainable income generation investment strategy.

Without the security of a steady paycheck there is a heightened need to stay on top of your finances. Maintaining control over your discretionary spending is a must, but equally important is structuring your investable assets to deliver an income stream that grows with inflation and does not unduly expose you to wild stock market gyrations.

If you haven’t done a financial plan don’t procrastinate. Small leaks can sink even the best looking ship. If you need help hire a financial advisor to spec out what type of financial health you’re in and design an income strategy to fund a sustainable lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be complicated or scary.

The best way to confront your fears is to know where you stand. If you do this early enough you will have more options at your disposal. At the very least make sure that your sources of income – social security, pensions, and other income – are in balance with your ongoing expenses. 

What You Can Do:

  • Monitor your expenses and identify small "leaks" that are eating away at your savings
  • Develop a plan to generate sustainable income from your investments
  • Make sure that your money grows faster than inflation

Fear #3 - Mental Decline

A huge fear among today’s retirees is the possibility of losing one’s ability to make good decisions.

While people understand that with  aging comes some cognitive decline, the real (unspoken) fear is about contracting early stage dementia or Alzheimer’s.

I know of people whose relatives have suffered from this fate and they will do anything in their power to lower their chances of getting this dreaded disease.

Mental decline is, however, not just about terrible diseases like Alzheimer’s. It may be about simple forgetfulness or staying mentally sharp to keep living independently.

A declining mental outlook is hugely embarrassing to most people. They hide it. They stop doing things that once gave them huge satisfaction.  The fear of not being able to figure out things that once upon a time seemed straightforward can lead to social isolation that in itself is hugely damaging. 

The Alternative

Medical research has highlighted the fact that as we age our thinking becomes less abstract but more concrete and complex. But as we all know older people tend to do less well when stressed and under time pressure. This is because aging affects how quickly and efficiently we process new information.

The best antidote to declining mental capabilities is to exercise your brain. How?

One way is by participating in new learning opportunities that challenge your brain. For example this could involve learning a new language or technical skill. It could involve playing board games such as chess. 

Physical exercise is also a great preventative approach as is simply staying engaged in the world by keeping up with current technology and social trends.

Activity and movement are highly correlated with brain health.  Keep on moving!

What You Can Do:

  • Stimulate your brain by learning something new
  • Keep up with new technologies designed for healthy aging 
  • Minimize the consumption of alcohol 

Woman Checking Her Temperature

Fear #4 - Becoming a burden on family

People do not like to discuss this fear especially with immediate family members. It’s often too deep and painful. It's better to ignore the obvious until the very end.

This fear is based on role reversal. Parents are used to taking care of their children regardless of how old they are. It’s very hard to break out of this pattern, but the time will come when either because of physical or cognitive decline the roles of parent-child reverse.

Letting go (by the parents) is an admission of decline. For some people the decline is sudden and precipitous and for others it is slow but steady. Either way asking for help may be difficult especially if support is not a one off event.

Support may be financial, emotional or simply related to everyday living tasks. For example, when the day comes when a person can no longer drive they will become totally dependent on the goodwill of family or strangers for getting about.

People hate inconveniencing strangers almost as much as they hate imposing on family members. It does not feel natural to them. It contradicts their sense of individuality. It implies a give and take but they feel unable to give much in return.

The Alternative

Asking for help is not easy for many people. There is pride involved, but there is also the knowledge that people today lead very busy and stressful lives of their own.

Asking for help may be seen as an admission of decline. Nobody feels good about declining physical or mental health so asking for help becomes a much bigger issue than it should. 

Turn the tables before it's too late. If a friend or family member is struggling take notice and offer your help. Oftentimes the issue is about awareness – noticing the little things that a person may be struggling with and being proactive and sensitive about offering help. Model how you would want to be treated because at some point that will be you.

Maintaining close family and social connections is important. Close connections are often the first to notice clues that something may not be all ok and that help may be required. Tiny issues compound into big issues. Better to prepare ahead of tie than to have to deal with a crisis.

What You Can Do:

  • Manage expectations - talk about it your needs openly with your family
  • Cultivate healthy relationships in your community
  • Minimize the burden by hiring  help - in-home care, maintenance, transportation, etc

Susan Jeffers


"Security is not having things, it’s handling things"

Fear #5 - Feeling invisible

We all want to feel that our lives matter.  When we're working and raising a family we feel needed. We feel that we matter, but when we retire we loose some of that sense of purpose. There is a void.

We live in a society that prizes youth above all else. Retirees often feel youthful and vibrant inside despite a couple of wrinkles here and there, but society often implicitly sends messages that contradicts these inner feelings. The implication - your best days are over and you need to move over to make room for the new.

Corporations also exhibit ageism further exacerbating this disconnect between how people feel inside and how society views them.

The dirty secret of unemployment statistics hides the fact that past a certain age (typically 50 in the US) younger employees and employers start looking at older workers in a different way and in the event of a job loss it is incredibly hard to regain similar employment.

The Alternative

It is easy to start feeling invisible. “Age is just a number” is a frequently heard saying and it is very true but you are often asked to prove it.

There are always possibilities for re-invention. You may need to switch your framework a bit, but the wisdom accumulated through years of hard work and life experiences creates context and perspectives that only time can provide.

Use that wisdom to address today's concerns not those of your generation. Be of value. You might, for example, teach, mentor or volunteer. Even better do all three at the same time.

The transition to a new you that feels relevant and valued in today’s society may take time and deep introspection.  It requires an open and flexible mind. It requires adopting a new identity devoid of resentment and ego. Figure out how you can be of value in today's world.

What You Can Do:

  • Get a makeover (that applies to men as well) to look your best 
  • Focus on the present by making trips down memory lane less frequent
  • Make it your mission to be of value - plenty of people could use your help

Susan Jeffers in her book “Feel the Fear … and Do It Anyway” talks about five “truths” to keep in mind about fear. Here they are,

  • The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow
  • The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it
  • The only way to feel better about myself is to get out … and do it
  • Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I’m on unfamiliar ground but so is everyone else
  • Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness

I love these "truths" so much that I have them pinned right by my desk at work. They remind me that we all have fears but we must manage them in order to move forward.

Here's another quote that I also keep nearby,

les brown

-motivational speaker

"Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears"

The Key to Beating your Fears

  • Learning how to deal with fear is a life skill that needs to be cultivated. We have a choice how to deal with fear - ignoring it just postpones the day of reckoning. Small fears can compound into big fears draining  all your energy.
  •  Life transitions such as retirement involve heightened levels of fear – fear of the unknown, our own mortality, financial security, the loss of identity, what our purpose in life is, what we are good at, etc.  Transitioning into retirement can be scary. 
  • Fear holds us back from new beginnings.  It makes us less adventurous.  It makes us wait for the "right" time to do things.  It robs us valuable time and energy from the retirement we envisioned for ourselves.
  • The fear of something bad happening pales in comparison to the upside of living a life of fulfillment and purpose – too much of a focus on what can go wrong can keeps us from enjoying our retirement years.
  • The key to dealing with your fears is to confront them head on. You will always feel fear but how you deal with it will greatly affect the quality of your retirement. 
  •  Dealing with your fears will make you feel better and more in control. Way too many of our fears take up a disproportionate amount of space in our head if left unattended. Taking action is the key!

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