The greatest wealth is health
This is the second article in a series that appears in the monthly Inflight newsletter where I share lessons and insights gained from my clients on how to retire successfully.
One of the Life Areas on the Wheel of Balance is Health and whenever I get to this area I remind clients that without good health their money will likely be used to pay doctors bills.
I start by asking, “What kind of equipment is getting you around the road of life, a vintage performance bike or a dilapidated bike with bad breaks?” The car analogy is useful but the reality is a car can be replaced, whereas your body (bar a few aesthetic body parts) cannot. It is likely that you will probably require the use of your body for another 40 years, so if it is not in good nick now your only option is to restore it. Like a vintage car, character is not a bad thing but the goal is to clean it up and get it running as well as you can. Even if you have a disability or an ailment, you can still aim to make yourself as physically strong as possible.
Holistic health means having a healthy mind and body. If you are open to alternative healing methodologies and metaphysics you are open to the idea that emotional blockages manifest into physical ailments so emotional and mental health would be a good place to start. There is a huge amount of literature written about the mind-body connection and I encourage you to explore that.
If you are more interested in the purely scientific approach to health, there are mountains of research on the positive effects of a healthy diet and physical exercise. I am not going to bore you with food pyramids and I am also not suggesting becoming a marathon runner, but I am not going to let you get away with sighting “age” as a reason to neglect your health. If you listen closely your body will tell you exactly what it needs.
My only advice is that you find a form of physical activity that you enjoy. Consistency is important when it comes to being active, and if you enjoy it the chances that you will stick to it are greater. Gardening for example can improve your upper-body strength, walking is a good way to improve your cardio fitness and endurance, and core strength can be developed with Yoga or Pilates. Whether you are interested in dancing, hiking or playing golf, it is never too late to start!
Here are few suggestions from clients at Chartered Wealth Solutions…
Ray and Laura Wilson started playing Bowls which takes them all around South Africa. It not only keeps them active, but their social lives have improved too. “Ray has found Bowls to be the most sociable sports out of all the sports he has played.” – Laura Wilson
Cath Hebden joined Run Walk for Life when she was diagnosed with Osteoporosis. “One of the best decisions I have very made in my life was to join (Run Walk for Life) as the Osteoporosis is improving yearly and I feel so energetic and healthy today, mentally and physically.” – Cath Hebden
Reg Saunders at sixty nine realised he had never taken part in any form of exercise in his life and believed it was time to do something about it. “Since starting Gym and walking I have been introduced to many interesting people that are my age, and younger as well. I now enjoy a healthier and happier lifestyle in retirement.” – Reg Saunders
Passing the baton
This article is the first in a series that appears monthly in our Retire Successfully newsletter where I share lessons and insights gained from my clients on how to retire successfully.
A few weeks ago I was life planning a wonderful couple who have just retired. Peter was finding his retirement extremely difficult and felt that without his work something was missing. After further discussion his face lit up when he told me how he loved to teach and really wanted to be able to teach basic life skills to youths who hadn’t had the same opportunities in life he had had. But where and how would this happen? I encouraged him to actively participate in making his passion a reality and to start the journey, and I assured him that the opportunity would present itself.
The theme of passing on knowledge comes up in so many of the life planning meetings I have with retired people. What I have found is that at this stage in life, when people stop working, they are looking for something meaningful to do with their time. For some people hobbies, working and travel aren’t enough to give them a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment, mentoring can bring purpose into their lives and be a way of giving back.
Consider Winston Churchill’s words: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give”.
The children and adolescents of South Africa are in desperate need of good role models. There is an entire generation of children who have grown up without an adult influence and need help in order to be effective and responsible adults themselves. There is no one more equipped to help them along their journey into adulthood than the retired people of South Africa – who have accumulated the most life experience and can instill in them the wisdom of age. It is also something that could expand their knowledge and experience, and perception of life. Because the younger generations are filled with energy and a desire to learn they can in turn invigorate and fulfill their ‘mentors’ who have so much knowledge and experience to impart to them.
I would like to tell you about a group of people who started an organization called Community Assisting Schools (CAS). They wanted to help schools in need with general maintenance of buildings, equipping libraries and computer rooms, providing catering, finding sponsorship for sports equipment, arranging motivational talks on life skills and career choices, and assisting with welfare and counseling. They are looking for, and would appreciate new volunteers and or sponsors.
Mentoring can mean different things to different people.
Here are different ways to mentor:
This could include mentoring a student who is studying your profession (engineer, doctor, advocate, and entrepreneur etc.) and guide them through the process of becoming an effective professional and helping them with their studies.
Working with disadvantaged children and teaching them the valuable life lessons and skills that they might never have been exposed to.
Working with children of any age and passing on a skill that such as sewing, dancing, wood working etc. that could add value and meaning to their lives.
This usually applies to young professional who are out of school and working in a professional environment. It could involve passing on skills and knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person’s professional growth.
Before you start, ask yourself the following questions:
- What time commitment can I make?
- What kind of people do you want to work with? (Disadvantages children, young entrepreneurs, students who are studying your profession, new mothers etc.)
- Would I like to work with one-on-one or with a group?
- Would I like to team-up with other mentors or would you prefer to do it on your own?
- What knowledge do you want to impart? Do I want to help someone learn a specific skill, guide them through a process, or perhaps just be a supporting friend who they can turn to for advice?
- What mentoring location would I prefer?
Think of ways to share your talents, skills and experience so that as a retired community we can impart the tools needed to build a stronger society.
For interesting reading related to this topic, have a look at the following articles onRetireSuccesfully.co.za
Food garden Celebration at Khayelitsha Special School
– By Jeunesse Park
In Search of Meaning
– By Lynda Smith
If you have any ideas, or know of organisations where the Retire Successfully community could get involved, please forward them to email@example.com
When we do a retirement life planning meeting, we always encourage couples to come together. There are a couple of reasons for this: Firstly as much as we believe in maintaining a person’s individuality in retirement, it is equally important to create a shared vision. And secondly, communication between couples is sometimes lacking. I often find that the couples I see don’t like broaching the more difficult topics of conversation. And it’s my job to mediate, and get them to share. The sad fact is that many couples discover that they want completely different things.
I saw a couple who had this very problem – they couldn’t see how retirement was going to work for them because they had completely different dreams for their lives in retirement. Sue wanted to travel business class overseas and watch bands perform. Jack wanted to stay home and spend time woodworking. After sharing their visions it became clear to them that they needed two separate amounts of money so that they could enjoy their passions individually. Yes, this wasn’t the conventional retirement that most couples envision, but it worked for them. They both discovered that they loved the opportunity to be more independent, and felt a renewed connection when they got together – each invigorated by the new experiences they were having.
Spending time with you partner is obviously very important, but time apart affords you the opportunity to work on yourself and pursue your own interests. In fact, it’s really quite unrealistic to share in all of each other’s interests. Variety brings the spice – It’s healthy! The key here is to listen to your partner and understand what is really important to him or her, and then to be open to the idea of experiencing things apart, as individuals.
Mitch Anthony, the author of The New Retirementality, writes about achieving success in retirement by being fulfilled in 5 core areas of life – what he calls the 5 Vitamin C’s. I’d like to delve into one of them in this post – CONNECTIVITY.
If you’ve considered relocating for your retirement, have you thought about how that will affect how connected you will be to the people and places you enjoy? All too often when clients come to do their retirement plans the first thing they tell me is “We are moving away from the madness that is Joburg.” And often after our discussions the clients realise that if they were to leave Johannesburg they would feel too cut off from family, friends and their community. If the clients really want to move away it is important for them to have a plans to replace what they have in their present community with something similar where they are going.
A couple came to see me the other day and their plan was to move to Plettenberg Bay. I was immediately sceptical, but after listening to them I discovered that they had been preparing for this for years. They had spent many of their holidays in Plett, and had gone to the local church during each of their visits. When they made the move, they slotted into the church community with ease and were able to connect and establish friendships. Peter had a passion for flying, so they had also bought a hanger for their plane. They would not be leaving a void behind; they had managed to transfer all the things that had been important to them in Johannesburg to their new home at the coast. I knew I didn’t have to worry about them.
The message here is to carefully consider the proximity of friends and family when you retire. So much of our happiness is dependent on the state of our personal relationships. So it’s only natural that if you feel disconnected, it’s likely that you’ll feel unhappy.
By the way, The New Retirementality is a great read when you are planning your retirement, and I will be referring to it often in my blogs.