10 Secrets to a Successful Retirement

The editor of a new book asked experts and happy retirees to reveal the keys to a fulfilling life after full-time employment

by Mark Evan Chimsky • Next Avenue
Photograph: Shutterstock.com

What are the secrets to a successful retirement?

When I set out to compile 65 Things to Do When You Retire (Sellers Publishing, $15.95), I trawled through hundreds of websites and blogs, looking for retirement experts and retirees with something fresh to say. I encountered one common theme: A successful retirement today is often about re-creation — redefining who you are to make your future as meaningful as possible. 
 
(MORE: Four Steps to Saving for Retirement)

Beyond that, these are the 10 nuggets about successful retirements that stood out the most:
 
1. Find your passion, recommends retirement blogger Dave Bernard. This is not always as simple as it sounds, however. You have to dig deep inside yourself to determine what excites your heart and soul. But once you discover your passion and decide to pursue it, Bernard says, you'll have a reason to get out of bed every day.
 
2. Free fall creates a new freedom to be ourselves, writes feminist and social reformer Gloria Steinem. Sometimes, she notes, taking a leap of faith can help you let go of the past as you find out who you really are. Steinem hopes women in retirement will be perennial flowers who “re-pot” themselves and bloom many times over the years.
 
3. Create a success inventory, advises Judy Juricek, a human resources professional who writes the Attract Your Ideal Retirement blog. The axiom “build on your strengths” applies to retirement as well as to the workplace, she says. If you make a list of what you've accomplished so far, you may have a better idea of the kinds of things you want to do in your second act, particularly if you're thinking about looking for work in retirement. And, Juricek adds, the success inventory will “remind you of how awesome you really are.”
 
4. You will see more opportunities when you prepare yourself to see them, says Bill Roiter, Ed.D., a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and author of Beyond Work. Once you know what you want to do in retirement, begin your personal prep work by “reading, listening and telling friends of your interest.” The more opportunities you see, Roiter says, the greater your chances of making some of them work.

Click here for 6 more nuggets that stood out on Next Avenue

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