Dan and Andrew Griffin present their talk in Sydney, Australia

Retirement Can Be a Trap For the Unwary

During my recent trip to Australia, I had the opportunity to co-present a talk entitled Life, Liberty and Happiness After Full Time Work. My co-presenter was Andrew Griffin, an advisor with Stanford Brown, based in Sydney.

In my Smartest Sales book, I did extensive research on how to achieve a higher level of happiness. I did so after I found extensive evidence that happier people are more likely to be successful. I previously thought it was the reverse: Successful people were more likely to be happy. My research debunked this myth.

Disturbing findings

Andrew’s research was even more focused. He wanted to understand the difficulties clients were likely to encounter in retirement. Stanford Brown helps its clients prepare for the financial aspects of retirement. Andrew went beyond running calculations to give comfort to his clients that they had enough money to maintain their lifestyle in retirement. He was curious about the mental health ramifications of post-work life.

What he found was surprising…and concerning.

  • Retirement boosts the chance of developing clinical depression by as much as 40%;
  • The highest suicide rate is found in men over the age of 65. George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, left this suicide note, which is sad and compelling:
  • Men, in particular, can lose purpose if their lives were previously defined by their work; and
  • Couples over the age of 65 have the highest divorce rate, which is accelerating rapidly.

These facts paint a disturbing picture of the perils of retirement.

How to Prepare

There are a number of ways you can prepare for a fulfilling retirement. In this article, the author sets forth ten suggestions. Only one of them is financial. The suggestions include:

  • Have a written plan
  • Define your purpose and values
  • Develop a positive mindset
  • Live a healthy lifestyle
  • Live within your means
  • Have meaningful relationships with others
  • Challenge yourself mentally
  • Have fun

Above all, honest and candid communications with your spouse or partner will help align your retirement reality with your preconceived notion of what it was meant to be.

Resource of the Week

I recommend this article (referenced above)which has practical tips on achieving a fulfilling retirement.

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