The MIT Age Lab has an interesting model that divides our lives into 4 phases, each lasting 8,000 days. They refer to the final phase as the “Exploring” phase. Culturally, we refer to this time as “retirement,” but with an increase in longevity, this phase could potentially last 30 years. “Retirement” no longer seems to accurately represent this period of life.
Baby boomers are the biggest generation in mankind – and are the first to really experience a newly extended lifespan. They have the opportunity to “explore,” learn, grow – and create a new definition of retirement.
Achieving happiness, however, requires planning and considering the opportunities and challenges that this phase may present – things that previous generations may not have dealt with. For example:
- If you stop working, what will you do to feel mentally or personally fulfilled?
- As you age and it’s more difficult to travel, how will you prevent loneliness?
- If you can live anywhere, where will you choose to live?
- Can you maintain your home and run errands?
- Do you have enough money saved to live out your life in line with your goals?
- Do you have a plan for caregiving, if that time comes?
- Are you prepared to leverage technology and new services to make your life more manageable, like Uber, Blue Apron, and Task Rabbit?
- Do you have documents in place that dictate your wishes?
These are difficult questions, but if you consider them seriously and prepare for what’s to come, there will be great opportunity to live a life of true happiness – travel, golf, socialize, spend time with friends and family, and relax.