Assessing Your “Emotional Portfolio” for the Future

Questions to consider long before you retire.

Posted May 27, 2014

If you want to keep “calling the shots” in retirement, you need to plan ahead. Getting to know yourself and what you want is the first step in discovering where you are headed.  If thinking about retirement seems premature, think again.

Not Your Mother’s Retirement, a compilation of essays by 20 retirement experts, delves into the complexities of retirement—from health and emotional issues to volunteering, finances, and travel options. The secrets, resources and practical tools help plan for the future you hope to—and can—have.

Your “Emotional Portfolio”

In an opening chapter, Dorian Mintzer, M.S.W. Ph.D., BCC, asks the critical questions that will lead to a meaningful life in the years ahead—questions that we all should be thinking about and that are as important as financial planning. Among them:

  • Who will I become once my active parenting and/or work role changes?
  • Who will I socialize with, if I no longer actively focus on my family or my work?
  • How do I structure my life so I feel connected, with a sense of purpose?
  • What is really important to me? What have I always wanted to do?
  • What has held me back? 

Nudist Facility Looks to the Future

One of the biggest pieces of the retirement puzzle is where you will live and is addressed by Sally Abrahmscaregiving and housing expert on boomers and seniors.

Although it is unlikely that you will seek out a nudist residence for retirement, a facility in Florida is fleshing out a nudist assisted living project. Many equally intriguing choices exist. It is never too soon to investigate, especially if you (or a parent) want to avoid burdening your children.

Abrahms is the first to admit that living under one roof again with one’s adult children would constitute “living happily ever after.” (She has three kids so I think she may be kidding!) While multigenerational housing is, indeed, gaining ground, it may not be what you envision. Luckily, there are lots of other specialized choices, Abrahms points out .

“Boomers are bent on ‘doing’ aging differently than Mom and Dad,” Abrahms says. “Forget about a sterile nursing home, and while their big house may be lovely, it can also be lonely and isolating. Boomers want to be surrounded by community, stimulation, and meaning as they grow old. Frequently, that means with people of all ages.

“They may be drawn to co-housing ( or sharing a house with a friend or others who want to cut costs and have companionship or live in a stimulating environment with other like-minded people—gourmet cooking enthusiasts, political or environmental activists, music or sports buffs, or avid travelers. It could mean living on or near a college campus where they can take classes, mingle with the undergrads, but if they need it, have assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. There are more than 60 University-Based Retirement Communities on or near college campuses. 

“For those who want to stay in their homes, the Village model offers a built-in community of neighbors who care about them, a built in social component and one number to call for anything: a ride, a carpenter, a dog walker, a home care agency, or a babysitter for their grandkid. What do these housing options all have in common? They offer a great way for older people to feel and be valued.” (For more information of the Village Movement, see:

Retirement Action Steps

Other significant aspects of retirement are explored in the book, including action steps to take immediately: Getting and staying healthy; savings plans with your current employer and what to do when you leave; plus advice on Social Security payments and how your retirement age or spouse’s benefits (deceased or remarried) affects the check you will receive.

Retirement is complicated, but Not Your Mother’s Retirement has managed to point its readers, whether in their 40s, 50s, or 60s, in the right direction and give them a running start to better plan for a fulfilling future.

Related: Who Will Care For Mom and Dad? ; Planning for Your Parents (Or Your) Old Age ; 10 Tips for Moving Back In With Parents

Reference: Chimsky, Mark. Editor. Not Your Mother’s Retirement: Secrets for Today’s Women to Live Fully During the Best Years of Life, Maine: Sellers Publishing Inc., 2014. 

Copyright @ 2014 Susan Newman, Ph.D.  

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