Have you ever played the game of categories where you have to find the A-Z of a particular list eg countries – Austria, Belgium, Canada etc.

I played it recently (via Zoom!) and it got me thinking about the category of “Happy Retirement” now that I have semi-retired myself. So, I set myself the challenge to find the full A-Z to ensure our wellbeing and happiness.

So just for fun (but with some serious points for contemplation and reflection) here goes:

A: Attitude. As with everything in life, a positive, can-do attitude is key. Approach all challenges, especially those to do with aging and health, with a good mindset. Remember that even though we might be in our

later years, in our heads some of us are still teenagers!

B: Beauty. Eleanor Roosevelt said ‘beautiful young people are works of nature, beautiful old people are works of art.’ Look for beauty every day – in everyone and everything around you.

C: Confidence. Knowing that you can pursue your passions and live your best life without having to worry about money – everything is under control.

D: Dancing. Dance like no-one is watching! Not only is it a great way to stay fit, but it is an expression of joy – at least watch Strictly if your waltz is a bit weak!

E: Exercise. NO EXCUSES! We can’t be couch potatoes if we want to avoid seizing up altogether. We don’t need to be gym bunnies or marathon runners, but we do need to keep moving – sitting in the armchair all day won’t do at all!

F: Friendship. As we get older our friends may dwindle, leaving this world before us. All the more reason to talk and meet more often when we can. One day we may all need our friends to support and guide us so invest some time into friendship.

G: Grandchildren. For most people, a great joy but they grow up so fast!Think about what you might be able to do to help them along – after all, they won’t get any financial breaks like good pensions etc. Maybe think about setting up a gifting scenario in your financial plan.

H: Happiness. Make a plan everyday to be happy and to be grateful for what you have. Write down the things that make you happy and actively pursue them. If things aren’t going well do remember the valuable saying ”this too shall pass.”

I: Inquisitive. Retired clients have always told us that it is important to learn new things and keep an open mind. Expose yourself to the danger that you might enjoy doing something that you have never considered before.

J: Joy. Try not to take anything for granted and as Marie Kondo says: “surround yourself with whatever sparks your joy.” It doesn’t have to be grand and expensive – reading a book in front of the fire; a lovely frothy cappuccino – what does it for you?

K: Kindness. It is well known that considering others before ourselves is one of the essential elements of wellbeing. We are all living in challenging times and it is important to show kindness and respect to and for others whenever possible.

L: Loved ones. Get things organised so that when you eventually pass on, the ones you love will benefit as much as possible. Take some advice on planning your estate transfer, your will and powers of attorney so no one is left with any difficult decisions when you are gone.

M: Making things. Ensure that you are regularly busy with hobbies and interests. It is important to maintain a purpose in life now that we are not working. Whether it is wood turning in the man shed; knitting or landscaping the garden, try to be creative and productive every day.

N: New adventures. Never close your mind to new possibilities or opportunities. Take a chance once in a while, try something new, do something different from your normal routine – don’t get stuck in a rut.

O: Optimism. Apparently, optimists live longer than pessimists! My philosophy has always been to expect the best of people and circumstances whilst at the same time accepting that the worst might happen and preparing for it.

P: Passion. Think about something you REALLY want to do or experience. We don’t know how long we have left, so seize the day and make sure you have ticked off your bucket list, the things that are really important to you.

Q: Quality of life. We are living in a time of increasing longevity. But a long life with poor quality – health, stress and loneliness may feel like a life sentence. That’s why we should watch our diet, exercise regularly and do all we can to keep our brains active.

R: Retired or reborn? This next stage of our lives should be as exciting as any other. We are never too old to take a new direction in life, (maybe set up a new business venture,) to continue to challenge ourselves and to stay open to new learning and new possibilities.

S: Sleep. So important for a healthy life. As Shakespeare said: ‘Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care, the death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath, balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, chief nourisher in life’s feast.’

T: Time. Tempus Fugit. Time waits for no man. Why does time speed up the older we get? Apparently, that sense of time passing more quickly is because we have unvarying days (unlike children who are learning new things all the time). Slow down time by switching it up as often as you can.

U: Unbelievable! Now is the time to experiment and try out things you never thought you would do. If your financial plan says you can afford to turn left on an aeroplane – do it! If you are fit enough to go skydiving – do it! Life is not a dress rehearsal!

V: Vivacity. Dictionary definition: ‘Life; animation; spiritedness; sprightliness’. Not words that are often associated with older people but useful to consider. We don’t want to look ancient by stooping and shuffling!

W: Worry. NO! We don’t want any of this! A well-structured financial plan, where your money is wisely invested but available whenever you need it to fund your desired lifestyle, should mean that you can get on with enjoying your life without any concerns.

X: Xtravagent. Why not! Don’t miss out on doing things you love and/or spoiling your loved ones occasionally. Just trim your sails and adjust your financial plan from time to time to accommodate special spending.

Y: Yoga and mindfulness. Keeping supple and strong is essential in later years and some gentle stretching will make you feel wonderful. Being aware of everything around you and appreciating our beautiful world will bring peace and joy.

Z: Zoom. The way we have all been communicating during lockdown. Keep on top of technology- don’t get left behind. The elder brain is perfectly capable of learning new stuff (if a little more slowly!)

If you are retired, we hope you can tick off a lot of these and look forward to hearing any other thoughts about what constitutes a happy retirement.

If you are looking forward to a happy retirement, do call us for a friendly chat so we can ensure that you have everything in place for success.