The Three Important Parts of a Fulfilling Retirement

Part One: Health

In my book: Retirement: Congratulations You Have been Promoted to CEO! The Habits of Highly Effective CEOs that are Necessary for Retiring Healthy, Wealthy and Fulfilled, ( ) I go into detail on the pieces of an effective retirement plan that include Health, Wealth and Legacy. In this first of three articles, I will cover health.

What is the point of retiring if you are not healthy enough to enjoy it? Sure, you can have plenty of money, which most financial advisors focus on, but if you are not healthy enough to be as active as you would like it is not a successful retirement.

Find Your Purpose!
Let’s start with mental health. For example, Carl Bates, the Chief Executive of Sirdar Group and Co-founder of Contribution Compass, says, “Taking time out is critical. I sharpen my edge by ensuring time out and off-the-grid.” He goes on to say, “In this day and age, having time out is critical. I also read a book a month to keep me current on the topics [that are] relevant to my businesses and our [companies’] success.”

While many people dream about spending endless days on the beach or the golf course when they retire, believe it or not, these activities can actually become mundane after a while.

Then what?

Well, if you have a well-defined purpose, it can make these golden years much more enjoyable. That is why when you are deciding when the right time is for you to retire, you must also keep in mind the idea of purpose. It doesn’t matter what the exact purpose is, as long as it is meaningful to you. Purpose can give you something specific to concentrate on, something to get up in the morning for, and something to provide your days with meaning. So, while most financial planning calculators don’t have any type of solution or printout for purpose in retirement, it is an essential component, nonetheless.

Keep Your Mind fit!

We’ve all heard the phrase, “use it or lose it.” This doesn’t just pertain to tangible items. It can also be associated with keeping our bodies and our minds in shape. In fact, studies from medical doctors, neuroscientists, psychologists, and medical researchers show that living purposefully can have a measurable impact on health outcomes.2 And one of the best ways to do that is to keep your mind fit by being a life-long learner.
What are some of the best methods of getting your mind in shape?
There are actually several ways that you can do so.
Unlike cardio and strength training – which can oftentimes require that you spend hours working out in a gym – there are much more convenient ways to keep your mind in shape, and many of these don’t even require you to leave home.
Some of the best ways to keep your mind fit can include:

  • Reading
  • Doing brain teasers
  • Meditating
  • Laughing and having fun
  • Spending quality time with friends and loved ones
    Make Wellness a Priority!
    In his highly successful “Miracle Morning” book series, Hal Elrod states that exercise and physical activity are key components of your regular, daily routine that are “guaranteed to save you from a life of unfulfilled potential.” Similarly, Carolyn Betts Fleming, CEO of Betts Recruiting and Young Professionals Organization member since 2014, says that she starts every day with a workout. According to Fleming, “It energizes me, and keeps stress at bay. I’m at my best after a good sweat session – it always gets the day off to the right start.”
    But, how can you integrate exercise and more physical activity into your already-jam packed daily schedule?
    There are actually several ways to go about it. For instance, you could make your everyday activities more active. Some examples here could include:
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Walking down the hall to talk with a co-worker, rather than sending a text or an email
  • Parking further away from the building when you go to work, the mall, the grocery store, or any other destination
    If you have more time, you can join a gym, run, bicycle or even hire a personal trainer. There is also the past and current “lose weight and get in shape fast” programs include:
    • P90X
    • Insanity
    • Morning Meltdown
    • Country Heat (which claims to give you a “fun way to dance the weight away!”)
    Because everyone’s physical goals, health, and abilities are different, though, there really isn’t just one single type of exercise that is right for everyone across the board. In fact, even if you are in good physical shape, it is always recommended that you first consult with a health or medical professional before you take on any new exercise routine. That way, you can better
    ensure that you’re moving in the right direction towards your physical goals without overdoing it.
    The Importance of Eating Right!
    Hippocrates, the Greek founder of western medicine, once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” meaning that nutrition is one of the primary tools that can be used for keeping the body healthy.
    Over the past 50 years or so, the human diet has become pretty atrocious. One of the biggest reasons for this is the availability and convenience of fast food. Oftentimes, it is easier to just drive through a burger or taco place to “save time” cooking at home
    Even if cooking isn’t your forte, there are many ways that you can incorporate a healthy diet into your daily routine. For example, many grocery stores today offer pre-packaged healthy meals that only take a few minutes to heat up.
    Similarly, there is a myriad of local and mail order meal services like Blue Apron and HelloFresh that will send you everything you need – including pre-measured ingredients and spices – to cook a great, healthy meal with little effort.
    Build a Health Team!
    Many successful businesses rely on the strengths of multiple individuals. With each person able to focus primarily on his or her well-defined role, the outcome can often be so much stronger than having just one person with limited knowledge in each area complete all of the tasks. The same should hold true for those that you entrust to be on your healthcare team.
    Ideally, your healthcare team should include the following members:
  • Primary care doctor
  • Specialist(s)
  • Family members
  • Emergency contact(s)
    A primary care doctor is usually the first contact for patients who have undiagnosed health concerns. These medical professionals aren’t usually limited as to the care of various medical conditions, cause, organ system, or diagnosis.
    A healthcare specialist is a professional who works in the medical / healthcare industry either in a clinical or a nonclinical setting. Professions in a clinical setting include doctors, nurses, and surgical technologists, among other healthcare workers, and all work directly with patients.4
    If you are diagnosed with a particular illness or condition, such as diabetes or a heart condition, it is likely that your primary care doctor will recommend that you work with a specialist who has more in-depth knowledge regarding prognosis, care, and treatment options.
    Your family will play a big part in your healthcare. For instance, various family members may help you with getting to and from doctor’s appointments, accompanying you if you require any testing, and/or ensuring that you take any required medications.
    Depending on your health condition – as well as the proximity of certain family members to you – it is possible that one or more of your loved ones will act as a care provider if you contract a short-term disability and/or the need for longer-term assistance with daily activities like dressing, bathing, and eating.
    Although nobody likes to think about it, the reality is that accidents, sudden illnesses, and other types of emergencies can and do happen. Therefore, it is imperative that you have at least one emergency contact that paramedics or other medical professionals can call if a crisis occurs.
    While you may view selecting an emergency contact as just a “formality” when you are filling out various medical forms, this individual will do more than just answer the phone if a medical crisis or situation occurs.
    Rather, an ideal emergency contact should be able to talk to medical professionals regarding your health history, as well as about any allergies or chronic conditions that you have. Likewise, they should also be familiar with any medications that you take.

    In the next article we will tackle Wealth before we get to the third article on Legacy.

    Terry S. Mulhern
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