How much sex are older adults having?

Last year, the editors at NextAvenue.org asked their readers to tell them what question regarding older adults and sexuality they would most like to see answered. The editors narrowed down responses based on common themes, then did an online poll to select the “winning” question – which was three related questions.

Here they are, with answers from experts to provide helpful information:

  • How much sex is going on among older folks?
  • How long can sex be maintained?
  • Are there alternatives?

These are important questions, especially since sex helps us have better relationships and better physical and mental health.

“Sex is a basic, primal human activity, and there is no reason it needs to disappear forever as we age,” said Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, founder and director of Men’s Health Boston and a member of the American Sexual Health Association’s board of directors.

For many years, there was very little information on the sexual habits of older Americans, said John DeLamater, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. One exception was a landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008. Researchers interviewed 3,005 older men and women in the U.S.

The results:

  • 73 percent of those age 57 to 64 said they were sexually active (defined by the researchers as having sexual contact — though not necessarily intercourse — with at least one partner over the past 12 months).
  • The percentage of those sexually active dropped to 53 percent among somewhat older respondents, those age 65 to 74.
  • Among respondents age 75 to 85, 26 percent said they were sexually active.

The study consisted of in-person interviews with 3,005 men and women. Some were in long-term relationships, some were not. Women are less likely in older age to be in a relationship, as they are more likely to outlive their their husbands or male partners.

“Clearly, in our society, we’ve been raised to believe that intimate sexual activity should occur primarily in a committed couple relationship,” DeLamater said. “And particularly women, when they lose that partner, the older they are, the less likely they are to try to establish a new relationship.”

How Long Can Sex Continue?

The question of how long sexual activity continues into older age depends on a number of factors, experts said. Medical issues may interfere with vaginal intercourse – more on those issues below.

But in couples, how well you get along is vital, too.

Sociologist Brian Gillespie of Sonoma State University in California studied the frequency of, and satisfaction with, sex among a national sample of 9,164 partnered adults age 50 to 85. His 2016 study concluded that “older adults with active and satisfying sex lives engage more frequently in open sexual communication and setting the mood for sexual activity.” Couples who are “in sync” in sexual desire and activities tend to have the most frequent and satisfying sex, it said. Mixing up different types of sexual activities during an encounter was also linked with more frequent and satisfying sex.

Those respondents answered an anonymous online survey that was posted on NBC News for 10 days in 2006.

Gillespie wrote that his study “has helped challenge the idea that older adults do not, or cannot, maintain a highly active and/or highly satisfying sex life.”

DeLamater agreed that for couples in a good relationship who consider sexuality important, sex “can continue well into the 80s.”

What Can Get in the Way

Of course, sex-related health problems can come up as we age. These include:

  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)  ED can be a side effect of many medical issues, including heart disease, clogged arteries, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, alcoholism, tobacco use, sleep disorders and treatments for prostate cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also be caused by depression, stress and poor communication between couples. Certain drugs, such as Viagra and Cialis, can help. Some men may benefit from other therapies, such as urethral suppositories or testosterone replacement. It’s important to talk with your doctor about ED and possible treatments.
  • Vaginal dryness. Because of changing hormone levels after menopause, particularly a drop in estrogen, many women lose the natural lubrication they once had. Sex can become very painful. Fortunately, there are solutions. Over-the-counter lubricants are one option. They contain no hormones. Another choice is a vaginal estrogen, which must be obtained with a prescription. It comes in the form of a cream, suppository, tablet (to be placed in the vagina) and vaginal ring.
  • Low libido  Women or men may have less interest in sex for various reasons. Low libido can be caused by anti-depressants and anti-seizure medications, the Mayo Clinic says. In men, it can be caused by low testosterone. Lack of exercise and drug and alcohol use can also cut into libido, as can psychological factors. For instance, DeLamater said one study found that women in their 50s and 60s who begin to feel less sexually attractive may lose their interest in sex. The researcher called it “feeling frumpy.”
  • Medication side effects  As mentioned above, medications can lower sex drive and contribute to erectile dysfunction. These include medications to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, hormonal problems, depression and anxiety. They may also affect the ability to have an orgasm. But it’s worth having a talk with your doctor; a different medication may provide similar benefits without the negative side effects.
  • General poor health  Having chronic pain, such as arthritis or back pain, being overweight or having little mobility can also make sex more difficult or satisfying.

What Are the Alternatives to Penetrative Intercourse?  Click here to read the article on Next Avenue.

Emily Gurnon is Senior Content Editor covering health and caregiving for Next Avenue

Parallel play in the second half of life

In The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle we talk about Time Together and Time Apart as one of the “must-have” conversations for transitioning to the second half of life. It’s not unusual that partners have differing expectations.

For example, Mary, a woman who had primarily worked at home didn’t want her husband, Frank, around all of the time. In fact, she didn’t want him to retire from his work until he had a plan. She didn’t want him sitting around, being bored, maybe rearranging the kitchen cabinets, wanting her to cancel her plans so she would be around and basically being dependent on her for their social life.  A stereotype? Yes. Something that often happens? Yes.

Judy, in contrast, expected that her husband would want to do everything with her and she looked forward to it. He, however, wanted to pursue some other interests that she didn’t share.  Morris wanted to sell their home and move to Florida.  Ruthie, in contrast, hated Florida and wanted to stay in the family home and live near the grandchildren.  Although never spending time apart, they finally reached a creative solution. He rented a condo in Florida during the winter months and she stayed in their family home. Result: they ended up enjoying their time apart and learning new things—and saw that their relationship improved when they were back together. Thomas, in preparation for retirement, learned to play a new musical instrument and joined with other musicians for “gigs” while his wife continued in her usual activities, getting together with her friends and volunteering. Creativity in how to spend time together and apart is crucial for couples, whether you’re married or not.

Next month, I will chat about how pursuing your own interests can be good for your relationship.

Loving the Languages of Love

There is no doubt that this is a time of year for family and friends.  If you haven’t read Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, please do. Because reading a book all about loving the people in your life will honestly add to the joys of your season – as well as to theirs.

If you’ve read it, you’ll know that people generally have a preferred way of receiving love. Some people like gifts – something special that reminds them of you. A couple of my closest girlfriends would much rather meet for lunch and a laugh than do too much gift-swopping. Another of my girlfriends loves getting hand-written cards – something filled with words that make her feel special.

We’re all wired to connect differently, which is why Chapman writes about what he calls “five love languages”. They are:

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Acts of service
  3. Receiving gifts
  4. Quality time
  5. Physical touch

His view is that feeling connected is about giving and getting in a way that resonates. Your grandson  might love hugs, and your granddaughter might prefer shopping with you. Think of the people in your life right now. Which category might you slot them into? What are your love languages?
(Click here for the online test.)

I read a recent article with practical ideas on “speaking” these languages. Here are my own suggestions to spark some creativity – and fun – for the festive season ahead.

Words: Give a loved one a jar filled with a month’s worth of pieces of paper, each with a written word or phrase with what you appreciate about them. This will appeal to both gift- and word-lovers. I went to a coffee shop recently that served milkshakes on pages of old books. While I’m not suggesting we destroy books, there was something special about a dining experience served – literally – on beautiful words. Use old magazines as gift wrap for a wordy person you know: they’ll love the thought. Or start a new tradition: at your next family birthday, go around the table and have each person say something special about the birthday boy or girl. Working words into your connecting can be a beautiful way of bringing people together.

Acts: If you have someone in your life who values what you do for them above what you say to them, then the challenge is on to work out what will be best. What about popping in with a homemade cake? Or having pizza delivered to their home? Keep an ear open for what needs “doing” in their lives. Anything from making a cup of tea to helping with a DIY chore to feeding a friend’s pets while they’re away shows love.

Gifts: If someone you love likes gifts, then make mental notes (or written ones on your smart phone) of the things they love. Your gifts don’t have to be expensive: sometimes a care pack with their favourite kind of tea and biscuits will feel like the most extravagant gift in the world. They also don’t need to be big. They can even be the opposite of big, in fact: a gift-lover loves opening gifts – that’s half the fun – so what about a box in which you have more smaller gifts beautifully wrapped, letting the special person in your life savour the gift-opening. Gifts are often about feeling known rather than feeling spoilt, so look out for ideas to help you literally share the love.

Time: You’ll spot the quality-timers: they linger at parties, happy to chat all night. The thing to do with your time when it comes to a loved one who loves quality time – is give it to them! Factor in face-to-face time with these people in your life. If your time is limited, why not tie in an activity you both love? Some kind of exercise or craft is a great idea. One or two meaningful engagements let special people know that they are loved.

Physical touch: Not everyone wants to be hugged tightly but for loved ones who respond to touch, something as simple as a pat on a shoulder or handshake can mean the world; a hug might light up someone’s day. Ever thought of giving a foot massage “voucher” to a loved one as a gift? Or painting someone’s nails? Don’t underestimate how transforming touch can be.

So, no pressure to celebrate the season for giving – a little differently, this time. And, if you do try to “speak” a new language this holiday, let me know how it goes.

Lots of love – all five kinds – to you then, over the holidays.

Warm regards

7 unbreakable grandparenting laws

I have very fond memories of my grandmother reading me the Sunday newspaper comics when she visited on that day.  She seemed to have a congenial relationship with my parents and, certainly, I felt her love.  Little did I, as a child, know that these family relationships can be fraught, with boundaries often unclear or ignored.  So, the advice in this article by Barbara Graham, a Grandparents.com columnist, is helpful.

On the one hand, it was so simple. There was a new baby, Isabelle Eva, and there was nothing to do except love her. That was the one hand. The other hand, belonging to her parents, held all the cards.

I soon learned that I could love my granddaughter fiercely, but I had no say — in anything. She was mine, but not mine. Although this is perfectly natural and should not have shocked me, it did. For many parents used to being in charge, deferring to the rules and wishes of our adult children and their partners is humbling. Here are seven guidelines that — so far — have kept me out of hot water:

  1. Seal your lips.Even if you’re an expert, your adult sons and daughters will assume you know nothing about childrearing. Your advice and opinions will not be welcome, unless directly solicited. (Even then, it’s iffy as to whether the new parents really want to hear your answer.) Tread lightly.
  2. Love thy grandchild as thine own — but never forget he or she is not thine own.I was confused about this in the beginning. I was at the hospital when Isabelle was born, and I thought we were all one big happy family. Not. I had to win over her parents. They loved me — I knew that — but did they trustme? In the early days I felt as if I were auditioning for the part of grandparent. Did I hold Isabelle properly? Didn’t I know that you never put a newborn down on her stomach? It took me a few blunders to secure their trust — which must be renewed every so often.
  3. Abide by the rules of the new parents. The dos and don’ts of childrearing change with every generation. Had I listened to my mother, I would have held my son only while feeding him (every four hours) and not a second longer, lest he turn into a “mama’s boy.” These days, with all the childrearing information online, most new parents are up to speed, but we grandparents definitely are not. Baby slings? Mutsy Slider Stroller? Who knows what these are or how to operate them?
  4. Accept your role. If you’re the mother of a new father, you may not have the same access to your grandchild as a maternal grandmother, at least initially. New mothers are often the primary caretakers of babies and tend to lean on their mothers for support. This is not a problem, unless you think it is. Your grandchild will love you too. Anyhow, all grandparents — whether on maternal or paternal side — are at risk of being shut out if they fail to observe any of these commandments. Think of yourself as a relief player in sports game: on the bench until your adult children call you up; then do as they say if you want to stay in the game. (We’ve already covered this, but I think it’s key.)
  5. Don’t be surprised if old issues get triggered when your child has a child. For many people, feelings of competition with their grandchild’s other grandparents provoke traumatic flashbacks to junior high school. This is especially true now, given the proliferation of divorce and stepfamilies. Not only that, some grandparents are able to lavish the kids with expensive gifts, while others live much closer to the children than their counterparts. Still, a little goodwill goes a long way. The heart is a generous muscle capable of loving many people at once, and most of us are able to get past the initial rush of jealousy to find our special place in the new order. (Yes, of course we still secretly hope that our grandchildren will love us more than those other people. We are, after all, human.)
  6. Get a life. Sometimes I’ve become overly embroiled in my concern for my son and his family; at other times my desire to be an integral part of their lives has taken precedence over things I needed to do to maintain my own sense of well-being — and I’ve paid the price. Hence, my mantra: “I have my life. They have theirs.” We are close and connected, yet separate. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.
  7. Let go of all expectations. When Isabelle Eva was born, she lived around the corner from us, but when she was two months old her parents moved overseas. I was heartbroken; my expectations about my involvement in her life were turned upside down. Yet once I was able to let go of my agenda — it took some doing — I found I still felt deeply connected to Isabelle and vice-versa. Now we visit her as often as we can and, in between visits, Skype and talk on the phone. There are bound to be unpredictable plot twists in every family narrative, but unless you are raising your grandchildren, your adult children are writing their own story. Who knew that grandparenthood would offer so many new opportunities for personal growth?

Ultimately, the good news about being a grandparent, and not being in charge anymore, is that nothing is your fault, either. Roxana Robinson wrote, “It’s like being told you no longer have to eat vegetables, only dessert — and really only the icing.”

Barbara Graham, a Grandparents.com columnist, is the editor of the anthology, Eye of My Heart: 27 Writers Reveal the Hidden Pleasures and Perils of Being a Grandmother, which tells “the whole crazy, complicated truth about being a grandmother in today’s world.”

Two into Six goes Two Cont.

After six years of retirement, this Chartered client shares two significant lessons they as a couple have learned about this new phase of life … as life does not always go to plan!

Lesson # 2: Care for the kids, too

We had not anticipated what our move would mean to the children who still lived in or near home. Our eldest son had lived abroad for a few years, his life was more established and he had his own circle of friends. In time, our middle daughter married and moved away.

There are many considerations for young people today as they make their way in an ever-changing world. Gone are the days where your salary would cover your rental, medical aid and pension. When we left, we wanted to ensure that our youngest daughter was in a safe complex, so we needed to supplement her income.

She felt pretty lonely, although she had a good circle of friends and was quite active. She missed being able to come home for a meal and a visit … we had left a bigger void than we had ever imagined.

Unfortunately, her job was subject to enormous seasonal changes and the winter months were exceptionally difficult. At times like this, it seems that there is so much that adds to the pressure. Someone drove into her car, it was not her fault, but because of her age the insurance didn’t cover much. The break-up with a pretty nasty boyfriend led to a downward spiral.

After much consultation and deliberation, we decided that she should come home to us and get some professional help. The distance felt huge, so bringing her home for a time seemed like the best option. She has made excellent progress and is doing really well. She has decided to stay on and is enjoying a smaller town. It has its ups and downs, but for now it is working well.

When you, as a parent, are trying to help your child find her financial feet, it is completely understandable that you might provide a living space at home even when she is an adult; but, there should be some plan to have a handing over process in which you require her, gradually, to pay rental and/or to make an increasing contribution to her living costs.  This is because you, as a parent, have an equally strong desire to see your children growing in their independence. This goal may be a moving target, depending on circumstances, but the principle is sound.

Our daughter currently lives in our flat, which gives her the space she needs.

Final reflection

Life changes, and so do our circumstances, and so the retirement plan needs to be flexible. We are fortunate that we have been able to help out as we have, but the figures don’t look the same six years down the line. We are grateful to our team at Chartered who have been able to help us adapt our plans as life looks so different to the plan!

This is the second instalment in a two-part article entitled: Two into Six goes Two. It is a Chartered Client’s article on the two unexpected lessons that she and her husband have learned in their six years of retirement – important financial considerations that can easily be overlooked. Read the first instalment below:

Two into Six goes Two

After six years of retirement, this Chartered client shares two significant lessons they as a couple have learned about this new phase of life … as life does not always go to plan!

Escaping to our idyllic location

When we started thinking of retirement, a move to the bush ticked so many boxes. We had always loved our escape – the bush was the space in which we felt relaxed and comfortable; we could easily unwind and enjoy the tranquillity of unspoilt nature, such a far cry from the busy schedules and forever congested traffic at home; the constant stress of remaining vigilant and alert, constantly looking over your shoulder and making sure the alarm was activated.

We invested in small home in a security complex, an ideal ‘lock up and go’. This would ultimately be our retirement home.  Our new home had a small flat attached to it. We found a great tenant who kept the place beautifully, and the added income helped cover our costs.

We found ourselves looking for ways to spend our free time in our ‘little haven’. We soon made new friends; we joined the hiking club and quickly became involved with the local community.

Although our planning was well thought out, some added pressure at work meant that we moved our retirement forward by a year. We were suddenly confronted with a few issues that we hadn’t really thought about in detail.

Lesson # 1: Planning for parental care

My dad, 90 at the time, had diabetes which he rightly informed everyone was well controlled’. His general health was good; he was alert and interested in current affairs.  He had a small pension and an excellent medical aid.  He relied on us for emotional support and we helped with some of his living costs. I just couldn’t consider leaving him on his own and the other siblings lived far away. As luck would have it, we found a room we could rent with an en-suite bathroom. It was attached to the frail care, but would still allow him independence. All this only a 15 minute drive from our new home.

He had previously invested in a unit with ‘Life Right’. At the time he made his investment, there was no thought of us moving away! It was quite a shock to see the huge gap between our purchase price and what he sold it for – property had done so well in the 15 years he had been there. We decided to use the money from the sale and his savings to cover his expenses.

Well, dad sure enjoyed the move. He loved the gardens and the privacy of his own room; he constantly reminds us that ‘Frail Care’ is not for him. He had his first hip replacement at 90. We feared for his life, but the war years have built into him an incredible zest for life. Though recovery was slow, his determination was quite remarkable.

As time went on, the savings were quickly depleted and we were paying most of the costs (fortunately, not the medical aid). The consumables that come with incontinence and false teeth and hearing aid batteries, as well as other toiletries, mount up very quickly.

At 94 and a half, he had a fall and broke the other hip. This challenged my previous criticism of hip replacements in the elderly: I had always taken a rather cynical view of operating on such an old person. The doctor explained that without it, the pain would be unbearable and there would be no independence at all. In theatre they discovered the break was far more serious and a full hip-replacement was done. Well, what can I say, in no time at all he was insisting that his tea be brought in a teapot! The ‘Old Boy’ did his best and is now not very mobile at all. We jokingly comment that he sees the news and the rest of the complex gets to hear it for free!

I now realise that when we consider retirement we need to take an honest view of this type of commitment. Perhaps we need to factor in ‘what will we need for a parent if they survive to 100’.

I have already told him, since he gave up his British passport, that he won’t be getting a letter from the queen! He gently reminds me that ‘He’s not ready to go yet’.

An apology to Millennials

Richard Watts, author of Entitlemania, takes responsibility as a Boomer parent of Millennial children: he feels parents have protected them from experiences that would engender in them the very qualities we think they lack.

“Kids, we are sorry. We thought we had your best interest at heart, but in reality, we were making you look good to make us look good. We wanted a best friend and failed to realize that parenting was more valuable to you than our friendship. We let our love for you hijack our parenting skills. We prevented you from experiencing the natural consequences of your own actions. We were afraid to risk your affection when we should have equipped you with the life tools that only come from allowing you to struggle, persist and recover on your own.

“We felt obligated to explain every time we said ‘No!’ We handed you an allowance when you didn’t do anything for it. We gave you too much and anesthetized your drive. But most egregious, we prevented you from exploring and honing your passions. We put blinders on you to keep your head looking in the direction we carefully mapped and now you are without expression.

“We are most sincerely sorry and ask you to recognize, accept, and forgive our failure.”

How couples can solve their retirement puzzle

Retirementor, Dorian Mintzer, co-author of The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle: Must-Have Conversations for Creating an Amazing New Life Together, was interviewed by Richard Eisenberg, Money and Word Editor for Next Avenue. This article was featured on Forbes.Com, and covers essential topics for courageous conversations between couples on retirement.

Next Avenue: Why do you call it a “retirement puzzle” for couples?

Mintzer: There are money, health and wellness, and lifestyle choices and the timing of retirement. You need to puzzle it out with your partner.

How are you and your husband puzzling it out?

We’re an example of The New Retirement. A “traditional” retirement probably isn’t for us, at least not for a long time. My husband has phased out his job and will work as long as he is able. He has broadened his interests and does more cooking more than I do now. And he’s become a great travel planner. We both have our bucket lists and we’re doing more of those things now.

Are couples talking about their plans more than in the past?

I think they aren’t talking as much as they ought to. Sometimes, they just don’t know how to have the conversations. I still get calls from people saying: ‘My spouse and I aren’t on the same page; we need help.’

Why are couples afraid to talk to each other about retiring?

Thinking about it means thinking about getting older. A lot of people are in denial. It takes some courage to have some of these conversations.

What do you recommend to get couples to plan together?

It’s like a dance. One partner can start with ‘I’ statements like: ‘I’ve been thinking that I’ll be turning 55 and I don’t know what’s next. I really want to talk with you about it.’ Let it be a five- or 10-minute discussion at first. Then you can come back to it later.

It’s less important what you’re retiring from and more important what you’re retiring to. Remember: You’re not retiring from life. In my case, I haven’t done art or music in long time; that’s what I want to retire to — more time for the creative parts.

You say it can help for a couple to talk with financial advisers but not only about their investments and expenses. Why?

It’s important as you’re beginning to think about your years ahead to sit with financial advisers and clarify your hopes, dreams, goals – so, you can get on the same page as far as possible about how you want your money to work for you in retirement.

You say that a retirement coach can be helpful if one partner doesn’t want to talk about the topic or if there’s disagreement.

A retirement coach is a neutral third person to explore alternatives and show you that you’re not alone.

What’s a difficult issue for couples as they talk about money and retirement?

The whole notion of what’s enough. That’s a hard conversation to have. For some spouses, no matter how much they have it feels like it’s not enough.

Couples need to create a shared vision. What are the three steps you mention?

A shared vision takes into account what each spouse wants and needs in retirement.

The first step is for each to create your Individual Vision List of goals you want to achieve, dreams to fulfil, experiences to have. Then, prioritize the ten most important ideas on your list. The second step is sharing your vision lists and listening to each other. Try to appreciate what each other wants. The third step is creating a shared vision based on both lists. Maybe first it will be more of what ‘I’ want to do, then more of what ‘you’ want to do. Figure out a flexible timeline.

When researching for the book, you talked to “wise elders” — ones who’d been retired for a while. What’s a good piece of advice that they offered?

Don’t overplan your retirement, because curveballs come along.

Should couples retire at the same time or at different times?

Some couples like retiring at the same time because they can be playmates for each other. A lot of others say they prefer do it separately, so one of them can deal with the transition and get their feet on ground. I’ve seen it work both ways.

You write that it’s sometimes hard for David when you’re working and he wants you around.

That can happen a lot in relationships. He has Friday through Tuesday off and on Friday and Monday, he’d like it if I was more available to play. Now we have a little routine that’s been fun. We start our day together reading the paper and drinking coffee and we usually have dinner together.

What two things can’t you inherit?

We live in a world we inherited. What we inherit starts before birth and continues through our lives. Our physical, emotional and personality characteristics are inherited from our parents.

What we inherit shapes who we are, what we do and what we, in turn, leave as an inheritance for those who follow after us. We can choose to use wisely what we inherit or we can squander it. Sadly, some of those who inherit wealth they never had to work for can tend to squander that wealth on material and other things that do not increase their wealth and assets but merely erode them.
A typical example of unearned wealth being squandered is wealth won through lotteries. In a way, winning the lottery is a bit like inheriting much wealth. The lottery winner and heir share in common the fact that they are suddenly given great wealth that they never worked to build. That’s why so many lottery winners end up bankrupt within five or so years after winning their wealth.

While there are many things we CAN inherit, there are two things we think we can inherit … but can’t.

The first thing we can’t inherit is success. Think carefully about this. We can inherit the results of someone else’s success – a successful business started and run by grandparents and/or parents. We can inherit great wealth, again from grandparents or parents, but we can’t inherit the success that built that successful business, nor can we inherit the success that created the wealth.

Success is something we have to work for and achieve on our own. No-one passes on their success with the inheritance we receive. And, to the untrained eye, success is deceptive. When something is done well by someone who knows what they’re doing, it looks easy. People look at someone performing some activity, such as skating on ice. The ice skater leaps into the air, spins around, lands on one leg and continues whizzing around on the ice. It looks so easy and the untrained person thinks, “I could do that too.” But let them try. They find the ice is not smooth. It’s actually quite bumpy, and, yes, it’s super slippery, and the skates aren’t very comfortable or stable. And they discovered all of that while skating very slowly. Forget about skating at speed, leaping into the air or spinning on their own axis …

Don’t take another person’s success for granted. By the same token, don’t take your own success for granted. Success requires, focus, determination, sacrifice and effort. And it’s not guaranteed.

The second thing we can’t inherit from someone else is significance. Think about the people who have achieved significance in our own country and you will see that not many of those people have heirs who are equally significant. Again, you can only achieve significance for yourself. You can try to ride on the significance of those who have gone before you but it won’t last for long. You have to find your own significance.

Success is what we achieve by what we do for ourselves. Significance is what we achieve by what we do for others. Self-centred people can achieve success because they have done things for themselves but, when it comes to significance, they fail to make the grade because they don’t understand what it means to do things for others.

So … if you want to achieve success and significance, you’ve got to do it for yourself. Don’t think you’re going to inherit it from a grandparent, parent, uncle, aunt, friend or boss. And while we’re talking about it, don’t stop once you’ve achieved success. If you do, you will never know true fulfilment. Keep going past success until you get to significance. THAT’s when you will find fulfilment!

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag, and assists executives to prevent, reverse and delay ageing, and achieve self-mastery.

Introduction to new Retirementor, Dorian Mintzer

Retire Successfully website is enormously privileged and proud to announce that it will be featuring a new Retirementor blogger, Dorian Mintzer.

More familiarly known as Dori, she is co-author of the hugely popular book, The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle: Must-Have Conversations for Creating an Amazing New Life Together. This book was recently nominated in the Best Retirement Book category for the 2017 Best Senior Living Awards, and is available in the Chartered Library.

Through her book, Dori guides couples in having the courageous conversations that they need to have in anticipation of, or already in, retirement.  Questions such as when and where you expect to retire, what ‘retirement’ means to you and how the money will be managed are difficult to discussion but essential to create a successful second half.

Dori understands the challenges herself.  Married to David, 13 years her senior, she is a writer, coach, lecturer, and founder of two virtual communities (the Boomers and Beyond Special Interest Group and Revolutionize Your Retirement Interview with Experts Series.  She is not near retirement!  David, a physician, has reduced his working hours to three days a week, and is home more than ever before.

How to balance expectations and demands?

Have the vital retirement puzzle conversations.  If you need guidance, keep an eye out for her monthly blogs on Retire Successfully’s website.