Quick review.  At Intentional Retirement, we believe that retirement is an intentional way of living that prioritizes freedom, fulfillment, purpose and relationships.  It starts today and is an incremental process of aligning your lifestyle and actions with your highest priorities.  

Gone are the days (or at least they should be) when retirement was about how old you are or whether you punch a time clock.  That just puts you on the deferred life plan where you push your dreams off until “Someday” rather than living life to the full now.  Not only that, but it doesn’t give you much time.  If you retire at 65 and stay healthy and active until 75 (a stretch for many) then you’ve got 10 years to do everything you’ve been putting off for the last 40.  Ten years is not enough.

With all that in mind, here are three essential ingredients of an ideal retirement (and life).

Optimal Health.  Here’s an obvious statement: Most of the things you want to do in life require you to be alive.  And not just alive, but healthy and fit.  The healthier you are, the more you’ll be able to do.  So start taking your health seriously.  Ask yourself, “What actions can I take today that will put me on a path to improving my health?”  A few big areas to focus on are what you eat, your vitals (weight, blood pressure, etc.), how much you sleep, how active you are and how good your relationships are.  Pick an area and start working on it. Once you have that dialed in, add something else.

Financial Freedom.  Here’s another obvious statement: Things cost money.  You don’t need to be rich, but you need enough money to fund your ideal lifestyle.  Obviously, that’s a different amount for everyone.  Find out how much it is for you and get to work.  Save more.  Be a good steward of your resources.  Stop spending on things that aren’t important to you.  The more financial independence you have, the less beholden you are to a job or lender and the more flexible you can be in your life decisions.  The goal is to control more of your time.  The more time you control, the more retired you are.  

Purpose.  Neurologist, psychiatrist and holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said that striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans.  In other words, we’re hard wired to want purpose and meaning.  But it doesn’t just happen.  You need to work at it.  You need to decide what you really want out of life and start taking those plans seriously.    

Obviously, I’ve written about these things before, but it’s always a good idea to review your core beliefs and recalibrate to true north so your plans will stay on track.  I’ll put a few links below for further reading.  

Be Intentional,

Joe

The best advice I received and lessons I learned when taking a big career risk later in life.