Joseph Taylor earned a Nobel Prize in physics in 1993 for detecting a new kind of pulsar using radio waves. Taylor, who is now 74, retired 10 years ago and he’s still playing around with radio waves but now he’s bouncing them off the moon in a technique known as moon bouncing. When he’s not tackling moon bouncing, Taylor continues to study pulsars at his Princeton office. While not all of us will get around to earning a Nobel Prize, we can all some lessons from Taylor. One thing he did was plan for his retirement by finding something that he enjoyed while he was still working. He cultivated that skill before he retired and it’s obvious that it’s an interest he still finds exciting.
Many of today’s retirees are like Taylor. Retirement is a long time to sit around watching television so they are doing something about it. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) more than 270,000 seniors volunteer through Senior Corp programs at an estimated benefit to the U.S. economy of $75 billion.
Beginning in 2009, news organizations were writing about the number of seniors starting businesses. The Recession created a workforce of skilled, older workers largely eschewed by many industries. The response from those still needing to make a living or uninterested in a forced retirement was to take their decades of skills and launch new businesses. Individuals between the ages of 55 to 64 started about a quarter of all new businesses.
Finding an exciting hobby, starting a new career path or business or volunteering provide a sense of purpose and that purpose can help you live longer and better. Compared to retirees just 50 years or so ago, today’s retirees are living decades. If you don’t want to live those decades at loose ends now more than ever you’ll need a sense of purpose. According to one 14-year study, those who died during the study had reported a lower sense of purpose in life and few positive relationships than did the survivors. Here are three excellent health reasons to be more proactive in finding and managing a sense of purpose in your life: lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke, lowers the risk of developing impairments in daily living as well as mobility disabilities, improves relationships and allows people to handle pain better.
Similarly, a lack of purpose has been shown to have the opposite effect. A significant study of thousands of subjects found that people with a lower sense of purpose were 2.4 times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease than those with a strong sense of purpose.
Having a sense of purpose in life is just one aspect of successful retirement. If you are interested in finding other areas to consider in your planning for retirement, consider attending a LifePlanning Seminar and see how all your planning ties together.