Tools and Strategies to Help Live a Meaningful and Fulfilling Retirement

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Tools and Strategies to help Live a meaningful and fulfilling retirement

 Scott Klatt


As a follow up to my article, “Living a Fulfilled and Meaningful Retirement, are you?” I thought it would be helpful to highlight a few strategies and resources to assist pre-retirees and retirees with actions they can take to increase their odds of “living a fulfilled and meaningful retirement.” As noted in my article, building a happiness retirement portfolio is like developing a financial plan or an investment portfolio1. Just like financial planning, retirement is not an event but a process. Preplanning is key and continuing to reshape and reinvent yourself is critical. Much of what we know before retirement can change dramatically once we transition into this next, exciting stage of life, or better known as: Your Chapter.

Before we jump into the action items, let’s briefly review the reasons you need to be prepared for the many changes that will occur in retirement. Many people find they work through their bucket list in a few short months or years, and ask themselves, “now what are we going to do for the next 30 years?”. Many retirees may think a perpetual vacation will make them happy but that may simply end up disappointing and leaving them disillusioned and directionless. 

 One interesting study I came across noted that much of the anxiety we feel in retirement is due to our cultural beliefs. The Judo-Christian heritage tells us that if we are not working, we are just wasting time or being lazy i.e., “Idle hand are the devil’s workshop” or “Leisure is a beautiful garment for a day, but a horrible choice for permanent attire.”2

When talking to my newly retired clients they highlight the fact that their relationship dynamics have changed. Take time to discuss with your partner, family, and/or friends about how the new day-to-day activities should look. It can become frustrating when one partner is fine with how things are right now, and one is seeking a change. Should the tasks now be shared differently such as cleaning the house or paying the bills? We find that maybe reviewing or revamping the rules of engagement may be helpful when freshly retired. How much time partners are now going to spend together and alone should be addressed or at least discussed so as to confirm family and friends are on the same page.  Try and find a balance between being together and being apart. Finally, it is important to review each other’s expectations about the future. Given that the “gray divorce” rates have doubled in adults over 50 since 1990 and 1 in 10 of these divorces involved folks over 65, it is important to have open communications about these issues. 

 One exercise that can be helpful is to make a list of the things you miss about work, like social interaction, making a difference and your clients and colleagues. Also, talking to someone who seems to be flourishing in retirement is a great place to start. People who have been in retirement for a few years may be able to share with you some important items you may never have thought about.  

 Another great place to start is simply asking “What does a happy and fulfilled retirement look like to you?” Try to create a shared vision of what you want your life to look like with your partner and family. Envision yourself out 3 years and ask, “What must happen over those three years for you to feel totally fulfilled and happy in this next chapter of life?” Jot the vision down and tweak every year as most likely you won’t be the person you are now that you will be in three years, and that can be exciting. You want to be healthy, happy, and satisfied with whatever you may be doing.  

 Another question to contemplate is “What is the plan to fill up your day as you may have 8-10 more hours of new time.”  Some people I have talked to had to redefine what leisure meant to them. Thoughtfully choosing what is worth doing and not things just to stay busy is something to contemplate along with uncovering what things are truly pleasurable and meaningful to you now. How can you do things that can give you a feeling of accomplishment that you used to find in work? Explore creative endeavors and the possibility of building a new identity through interests and activities you choose to pursue. 

 Lastly, ask yourself, how long will my bucket list take? Items like places to see, books to read, and projects to take on may not require as much time as originally thought. Some clients of mine have mentioned that they tend to get bored with things they used to love because they can now do them anytime, they are less satisfied. 

 Now let’s review a few of the many tools that can help guide you in working through this plan for a happy retirement. A colleague of mine, Marianne Oehser, MM, CPRC, Partner at Next Chapter Lifestyle Advisor’s, has developed a wonderful assessment tool called the Retirement Intelligence Assessment that you can take to uncover your “Retirement Quotient” (RQ). This assessment is an online tool that takes 15-20 minutes which in turn produces a 15-page report that will give your initial retirement intelligence score but also help envision retirement like never before. Even if you are already well into retirement, I highly recommend this resource. If you are interested let me know as I can arrange for you to take the assessment. 

Some other tools you could are:

 Every person’s retirement is not created equally. Being open and honest with not only yourself, but your partner can help you unlock the prefect next chapter of you. 

As always please feel free to reach out to get more information on any of the retirement tools listed above or with any questions or thoughts you have about retirement.

  1. Marianne Oehser. Your Happiness Portfolio for Retirement: it’s not about the money. ( Indiana: Balboa press, 2019) 15. 
  2. William Shakespeare
  3. Renee Stepler. “Led by Baby Boomers, Divorce Rates Climb for America’s 50+ Population,” Pew Research Center, accessed on April 19 2023. Retrieved from: 
  4. Advisory services offered through Rise Advisors, LLC (“Rise”), a Registered Investment Adviser. This report is being generated as a courtesy and is for informational purposes only. Any links present in the article are not affiliated with Rise Advisors and are not considered a recommendation for any additional service.