What I Learned From Retired People About Life Priorities

End of last year I decided to interview retirees about their lives. I was doing a pilot of my program Be Unstoppable and I had a couple of retired people who were going through the program.

And I wanted to understand.

I wanted to understand why people in retirement would want to be unstoppable. What drives them, what do they need?  And what about the others? Does everyone have the same needs and desires?

How is it to live the third period of life?

You can probably tell that it is not the same for everyone. Not everyone wants to be unstoppable in the same way as the retirees who have been doing my program. But there was one topic where I could see as a clear pattern: very similar life priorities. Things that are important to them, things that allow them to live happy, peaceful, fulfilled lives.

  1. Finances: When you are retired and you worked your whole life, you don’t want to worry about your finances. You don’t want to be under financial pressure. If you got your finances right throughout your life, if you made the right financial investments or benefitted from a good pension plan, you can relax. It gives you financial freedom. You don’t need to put yourself under the pressure of earning extra income or counting every penny.
  2. Physical health: that’s a clear priority that grows with the age. When you are physically healthy, it gives you the freedom to do anything you want in life.
  3. Mental health: Being optimistic about your life and the future, staying mentally sharp, learning and staying curious about new things, being able to cope with challenging moments in life, and enjoying life as it is. Mental health impacts your physical health as well.
  4. Fulfillment: Living your life fully, having goals, having projects, having a reason to get up in the morning. Be excited about living your life every day and know that there is a meaning to your life (and you don’t need to change the world to live a meaningful life).
  5. Relationships: There are different types of relationships that we need in our lives.
    • Close, intimate relationships – your partner, spouse, family, close friends. Where you feel safe, understood, in your bubble.
    • Wider circle or Community – a circle of people who are different, who expand your horizons, who shake you, who inspire you to do things differently (they help you stay mentally sharp). But also, people who share the same cause, interests, or life philosophy.
    • Relationship with yourself – being a good friend to yourself, support yourself, nurture and care for yourself, listen to yourself, listen to your needs and desires. Protect yourself, but also give yourself the freedom to do whatever your heart desires.
    • Relationship with something greater – spirituality or religion. Something that can support you in the most difficult times, something that gives deeper meaning to your actions and to your life.

The thing is, our priorities are different at every stage of our lives. They are also different depending on what works well in our lives and what doesn’t. Sometimes the work is great, we are doing well financially, but we are missing something in our relationships. Sometimes we just want to have more time for our family and ourselves. Sometimes the kids are small and all our fulfillment is around our kids and not so much around the work. We all have a different focus, different needs, and different priorities at every stage of our lives. And not all of us give the same priority to the same things.

But I strongly believe that at every moment we are striving to have a balance around these five priorities that retirees shared with me.

How is it for you? Are these priorities also important for you? Where are you at with these life priorities that retirees shared with me? Is there anything else you would add to the list?

And if you are looking for your current priorities and goals, you can check out my tutorial Find Your Priorities and Set Your Goals. It will help you to identify the right goals for you.