When Lyndsay Green was in her fifties, she spent many hours in long-term care facilities, visiting her elderly aunts. It was then she realized she might not survive old age unless she started preparing for it.
So sherounded up and interviewed dozens of people over 75, all living their senior years with exemplary courage, integrity and grace. Then she merged their wisdomwith wide reading and wrote a book, released earlier thisyear: You Could Live a Long Time: Are you Ready?
Finances not so important
Most books and articles on retirement planning tend to focus on money as the key ingredient to a successful life after work. What is striking about the advice given by the elders is how little of it dealt withfinances. The elders have varying financial circumstances, but, regardless of income level, they seem to have what they need, writes Green.
Attend charm school and contribute to your RECP
Matters of the heart were uppermost. Green got an inklingright from the start from Aunt Jean, whohad entereda seniors home at the age of 86 and charmed her way into the hearts of those around her, particularly the care staff. Green draws inspiration from her example and remarks: Note to self: Attend charm school before its too late.
Indeed, one of the main tips in the book for those still in the work force is to stop being so busy with workto focus more on developing a web of relationships to sustain you in old age.Yes, build up the RRSP but also give some weight to the RECP (Retirement Emotional Circle Plan), advises Green.
Traveling through Elderland will be so much better if you can draw on a strong social network. The emotional support and assistance will be important to keeping depression at bay and staying healthy longer. We are all better when we are loved, says the grandmother in the Alistair MacLeod novel, No Great Mischief.
There is lots of guidance in this delightfulbook on how to go about building up ones RECP. And there is lots more advice on other matters, such as looking after your body, keeping your mind sharp, leaving a legacy, deciding where to live, developing a work plan (not a retirement plan) and developing the right frame of mind.
More on the book and Lyndsay Greens blog