We consume tons of research here at Fit-To-Retire headquarters, but when Harvard completes a 75-year longitudinal study on happiness, we pay extra attention.
This one speaks to priorities. The one thing to focus on…. in life, sure, but especially in retirement. The one thing that’s more influential and predictive than money in the bank, a rewarding career, even a great report card from the doctor.
And, that one thing is (drum roll, please) good, authentic relationships.
Researchers explained it in this way:
“It’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship,” says Waldinger. “It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.”
What that means is this: It doesn’t matter whether you have a huge group of friends and go out every weekend or if you’re in a “perfect” romantic relationship (as if those exist). It’s the quality of the relationships–how much vulnerability and depth exists within them; how safe you feel sharing with one another; the extent to which you can relax and be seen for who you truly are, and truly see another.
Indeed, we witness our retired and pre-retired clients examining their relationships in depth after taking our exclusive readiness assessment which measures preparedness in five categories including Personal Relationships:
- A guy may start tiring of his long-time golfing buddies because he’s “heard all their jokes a million times” and is increasingly annoyed by their peccadilloes. He realizes their relationship goes no deeper than the creek on the 13th hole and he wants more.
- Couples grow weary of socializing with clients or business associates. They start dreading the obligatory wine-and-dines, discovering they prefer their own company or being with friends who allow them to let down their hair and be themselves.
- Family relationships start to get focused attention with an emphasis on opening up lines of communication. Spouses or partners start to realize that vulnerability and honest exchanges of feelings and fears are essential now, if they weren’t before. Parents reach out to kids who may have been distant, in hopes of mending fences with honest conversations and mutual understanding.
Prioritizing and improving personal relationships is a big part of Fit-To-Retire’s holistic approach to retirement planning. Yes, you need enough money, good health and nutrition, a purpose in life and a social network. We can help with those, too. But, those thing aren’t enough for true happiness without the one thing.
Find out how ready you are in every category. Take our complimentary assessment today.