Episode 12 — How to Flourish Emotionally During Your Rewirement: Part 2

In part 2 of her mini-series on how to flourish during retirement, Danielle Howard explores the different ways we can blossom emotionally during our fall season of life. Using Dr. Martin Seligman’s PERMA model, Danielle explores five distinct emotional areas that should be well-balanced, including:

● Embracing the attitude of gratitude around our finances
● Finding moments of engagement and meaning in our fall season
● Fostering our relationships through the changes of retirement
● And finding sources of personal accomplishment

Join Danielle now as she shares the importance of flourishing not only financially, but also emotionally, during your fall season of life, and how you can achieve a balanced financial and emotional rewirement.

[00:00:02] Welcome to the Wealth Done Differently – Retirement Podcast. Danielle Howard – A Certified Financial Planner ™ shares insight into the financial tools, techniques and temperaments needed make the most of your retirement dollars and relationships. Danielle bridges the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, bringing complex financial topics down to earth. Danielle will educate and inspire you as you define and refine your version of prosperity.

[00:00:35] Hello and welcome to the Wealth Done Differently Retirement Podcast with Danielle Howard. She is a certified financial planner. You’ve hopefully heard some of the other podcasts before and she is amazing. Today is the second part, I don’t want to say second part, there’s another podcast, but it’s part of a two-part series this one’s entitled Emotionally Flourishing in Retirement. The last one was Financially Flourishing in Retirement.

[00:00:58] Say that five times fast. Yeah.

[00:01:01] So this is – I’m excited to get into it and I already know all about this and, I mean, from what I’ve been told all I need is a big huge bucket of money in order to have a successful retirement. Am I right.

[00:01:13] You’ve been listening to the financial services industry and all those ads out have it.

[00:01:18] That’s the only place I get my info, except for you. So how big of a bucket you’re wanting out. Well not a not a Home Depot bucket and that seems a little small. I’d like it like an earthmover bucket. Is that the right term for it. Yeah, probably That’s right.

[00:01:33] Yeah well if that’s all it was about I think it would actually be easier if for all it was is getting a big bucket of money even though that sounds pretty ominous to most people. But having a big bucket of money is actually probably easier than looking at what true emotional flourishing in retirement is all about and I warrant that the financial services industry has it all wrong. It is not about drawing the line in the sand and at age 62 or 58 or 67 stepping over that line and I picture it as sailing off into the sunset dressed in white linen with that cocktail in your hand that’s the present that the image that the financial services industry has perpetuated over the past, you know, since they’ve been in existence.

[00:02:32] I think that is that it’s wrong and that it is a disservice to our integrity of the aging process. But we need to redefine that.

[00:02:44] And the thing that they don’t show is I mean I’ve seen it dozens and dozens of times. Beautiful couple on a beautiful boat and a beautiful sunset or sunrise or whatever it is. They don’t show the storms. They don’t show the hole in boat. They don’t show the fact that they ran out of sandwiches about a half an hour ago. None of those things. So I agree with you. They don’t have it right.

[00:03:04] So what is the right way. That is our quest. You know I don’t have all the answers. I dig into this stuff all the time. I have been exploring it for years and I’ve been looking at the research by Dr. Martin Seligman and encourage people to go visit his at the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center. He’s got some really great ideas about what is financial flourish and what is human flourishing. How do we live a life that is meaningful? And he’s got some really neat ideas that I’d like to share with you today and apply to our retirement season of life and talk about some of the financial implications of living with the idea of a well-being theory.

[00:03:59] Please do. This sounds exciting.

[00:04:03] So he talks about PERMA which’s Positive Emotions Engagement Relationships Meaning and Accomplishment. And this is part of his overall well-being theory and what I’ve done is I’ve just kind of pulled it apart and applied it towards the retirement season of life. So, Dr. Martin Seligman has presented us with some well being theory and we want to apply this well being theory to this fall season of life.

[00:04:35] So let’s look at the Positive Emotions Engagement Relationships Meaning and Accomplishment and how that we want to imbue that in this fall season we’re in. With our positive emotions, when you think of a positive emotion you think of joy comfort happiness. And it’s how we cope with some of the challenges, the negative experiences in life.

[00:05:06] So as you alluded to it’s how do we deal with the hole in the boat and the fact that we ran out of sandwiches and that oh my gosh is this storm on the horizon. And we’ve been told aging isn’t for sissies. You hear that all the time. Absolutely. I was with my parents last weekend, and my dad was like this getting older stuff is hard.

[00:05:26] Your dad and my data would get along just fine. Age and eight for sissies.

[00:05:30] Oh yeah. I love the quote of Viktor Frankl Yeah. Between stimulus and response, there is a space in that space is our power to choose our response. And in our response lies our growth and our freedom. Absolutely. That’s powerful stuff. Yeah. And as we look at applying you know what it means to have positive emotions in our Fall Season of Life.

[00:06:01] We need to 1) embrace the fact that it isn’t all going to be you know – kicks and giggles – sunsets and puppies and kittens. That’s right. That’s right. Kicks and giggles and plates full of sandwiches. Got it. Yeah yeah.

[00:06:14] And if we can embrace that attitude of gratitude and understand that happiness is not circumstantial. It is it’s an internal attitude. And when it comes to our financial lives I hear so much of a victim mentality, especially as people are moving into this retirement season. I don’t have enough. I didn’t save enough. You know my health isn’t good enough. And the list goes on and I think we have to capture that. We have to say is that the route I want to go or do I want to shift and how can I bring more of the positive emotion into my financial circumstances. It isn’t about having more bigger buckets. It’s about our attitude with what we have. And I encourage people to look at your financial life and it may be simply writing down three things that went financially well today and making a cognizant effort to focus on a positive financial aspect. And if you write it down it will it will resonate. It will be reflected back at you.

[00:07:34] And that helps to create that positive emotion. The one thing you said that really stands out I think is absolutely true is the focus right because we can choose to focus on the negative or like you said it’s choosing to focus on the positive things that have happened and it’s so hard to do that when that negative thing is looming there. How do you find the strength or the ability to focus on the positive? Is it just that repetition of writing three things down that went positively or just finding the positive each day.

[00:08:05] It’s a muscle that needs to be built. And if you can start small if you can take a look at a circumstance and find people in your life that are going to support you in that, and be willing to look at your circumstances a little bit differently. During the recession I had some folks come to me who were in some pretty heavy duty financial sad times as many many people were and they were so obsessed that they were not going to be able to leave their family the financial assets that they had originally intended. They were very much focused on legacy and that the context was all about wow we just experienced this financial recession and we lost so much and now we’re not going to be able to – we’re not even sure we’re going to have enough for ourselves let alone be able to leave, you know, this financial legacy for our kids, and we pulled that apart. And I had them starting out, I had them look at creating a legacy letter. And that was about focusing on their character attributes and what their hopes and their dreams for their family and what did they want to leave that was not about the finances and it was they were able to completely shift their mindset about what they were going to be able to leave their family and they uncovered riches of this family experience that was not at all about the financial side. And so we were able to through going through this process shift from a very you know negative perspective to something that was really really positive and I’ve had them come back to me you know 10 years later saying that was really really powerful. It was nothing circumstantial I didn’t make them 15 percent in the market you know and recoup all of that money they were you know clients that I was managing their money but we were able to shift their mindset to more of from focusing on a negative aspect to creating something really really positive. And that was you know it was very insightful for them and they’ve been able to continuously look at how are we building a legacy with our family that is spending time with our grandkids, it’s us being able to go to the games, you know, doing these things versus having that life insurance policy in place that’s going to leave them a chunk of change. . So writing down three things that went financially well today. It may be from a, ‘Wow.

[00:10:53] I was able to have a discussion with my wife over saving up for this vacation that we want to go on next month.’ It might be something about ‘I chose to make my coffee at home instead of buying it at’ whatever local coffee connoisseurs. You know that’s a huge difference. You know so anything that you can tap into I was able to sit down and decide how I wanted to share some of my financial resources and this sounds kind of silly as I’m saying it but again it’s connecting with your choices and just recognizing that you probably make a lot of good financial choices but because it’s not right in front of us and because we have the media coming at us and the noise is louder from the negative side. We need to figure out a way how to turn up the volume on the positive side of our financial choices. So that’s positive emotions.

[00:11:59] The next one if I’m not mistaken was Engagement.

[00:12:01] Yes. When does time stop for you? So when are you involved with something that you look up and a couple hours went by. When I am when I’m writing, when I get on a topic that is is really it just pulls my inner soul out; that’s when time stops for me when I am fully present. Dr. Martin talks about when your strengths are matched with your challenges, and your strengths can be their moral strengths not necessarily talents. So take for example humor, kindness or caring. And when that is connected and matched up with some challenges in life. This is where the rubber hits the road and you are fully fully engaged. And, in retirement, if you can find these places, these spaces, these times where you are now your day is as full and meaningful and you are engaged. And when you’re making financial decisions, when you’re using your money to do that, for me I like to cook. I like to cook for friends, I like to cook for family, and I.

[00:13:25] I can lose myself in that because I say I’m cooking with love. I like to cook healthy. I like to make it look beautiful and there’s challenges in that. You know, people have all these, you know, health concerns and ‘I’m gluten-free’, ‘I’m taste free’, ‘I’m whatever’. I’ll serve you ice.

[00:13:48] When I am faced with a challenge and can connect that skill with the challenge and I feel very engaged. So I may need to take a cooking class or I may need to pick different foods that are better for you know whichever guests are going to show up for the house. But I can match my talent, my tenacious ability to look in a refrigerator and make something out of it, and bring that to the table. I do that with my financial advising too because every client is different. Everybody brings something different to the table and we look at all the different pieces and bits and put it together and create something beautiful, so this is engagement for me. People need that in retirement. You need that. And that’s why I say you want to rewire, you want to refire, you want to re-aspire for something. That’s a beautiful analogy; all the different ingredients that your clients bring to the table.

[00:14:55] You can help them make that masterpiece. That’s fantastic. Right.

[00:14:58] It’s not only the financial pieces, it’s a character assets too, but we won’t get into that one right now. Alright. Next. In relationships we want – to part of well-being theory is relationships, and we know that over time it is a skill and it’s something that we need to work on and we need to – it’s going to be a challenge as we move into our Fall Season of Life. Many times you have a couple or you know that you’ve been working. You’ve been involved in a business or you’ve been your days have been full and now all of a sudden whether it’s at the same time or in a different – may have a year or two difference – but all of a sudden you’re together with this person that you’ve been with for 30 years and you’re going, ‘Who are you and what are we supposed to do now’.

[00:15:50] Why are you here all day long. Why are you here? Yeah yeah yeah.

[00:15:55] And, we’re seeing more and more divorces happen more. It’s real. It’s really sad. You know rates of suicide have gone up alcoholism goes up. And all of this downside, when people leave the context of relationship and engagement and accomplishment that they may have experienced when they were working and draw that line in the sand. And I just think it’s going to be a life of vacation. It isn’t working for them. So a really big piece of this is that relationship and how especially with those that are closest to us how do we use our money to facilitate healthy relationships. This may be you know going on a couples retreat. It’s going to be learning new communication skills, it’s going to be learning and walking alongside each other in a way that that facilitates this new celebration, and constructive conversations about who we are now.

[00:17:01] Yeah my aunt and uncle they budgeted to go out once a week with a large group. And, they always went to the same place. I think it was a buffet actually. My uncle loved buffets so is probably a buffet but they would get together once a week and that’s that’s not something that they did when they were working. They didn’t have as much time and probably the finances they didn’t think about it at that point. But that’s a huge thing. Once a week they kept those relationships alive because there was probably I think seven or eight couples that did that together.

[00:17:29] It’s huge. You know, and it’s being intentional about it. You need to carve the time out. One of the biggest things that happens to people in the aging process is people tend to isolate and you know if you know that part of being well and flourishing in your emotional life is to stay connected with those relationships. It will probably have a financial context. So how in your spending plan you want to be intentional about whether it’s going out to the buffet or you know having a potluck and having the neighbors over on a regular basis. How do you want to use your money to cultivate those relationships and make sure that they are that they are rich that they are meaningful that and that you’re staying engaged with that?

[00:18:18] That’s great. I know that part four, the fourth thing, is meaning and that kind of goes with relationships because it’s great to be able to have those potluck dinners and go out to eat once a week with the other retired folks or the people that have that time. But it’s not easy when your kids are working full time to be able to connect with them or your grandchildren are working and trying to get through college. They might not have the same amount of time as you do. So you’ve got to fill those gaps and I think the meaning is kind of where we’re headed with that; correct?

[00:18:48] Yeah that’s being involved in something that’s bigger than ourselves. When we look at the research being done on habits and on what keeps people feeling rewarded in their work, part of that is now they have to have meaning they have to feel like they are part of something that is bigger than just themselves. It’s more than just getting a paycheck. And when you look at your activities what brings meaning and purpose. This is where we need to figure out how to balance vacation with vocation. And how to you explore what brings meaning and purpose here day in this new season of life. Again you may have had a lot of that with what you did in bringing at work or bringing income into your life at one point you know they say when you’re involved with something that brings you joy and brings you meaning you never work a day in your life. Well, there may be a reason why you still need to bring an income stream in. Or maybe there isn’t. Maybe if you got to a place in your financial life that you have enough that you’ve decided it’s time for a shift. You still need to have that context of what brings meaning and purpose to my day and then be intentional about it. I spend you know from two hours in the morning writing every day. I am going to spend two hours in the afternoon volunteering at this organization or I am going to you know you need to put it on your calendar. Now I’m going to spend an hour at the gym, I’m going to – because what happens, I hear it all the time, I am so busy. I talked to the retirees or people, you know, when you ask – I don’t ask what are you doing in retirement, I ask what fills your day. Well, I’m retired.

[00:20:50] What does that mean? That’s great, but doesn’t answer the question.

[00:20:55] Yeah. Are you just watching TV all day long and or are you on Facebook all day long. Or you know what is filling your day. Because time goes by it’s it’s a bank and you want to use it wisely. So finding that that meaning and that purpose and that is something that is bigger than yourself is really really powerful in helping you to be well-rounded and that well-being of your life. And, you know, there are financial context to that. Now if it is doing a vacation and combining that with some sort of you know volunteer work you know what does that cost. How do you plan for it? So take a look at it and what does it mean for you. And what’s the last one? Accomplishments. And this is the one my husband is really happy as part of this because this is where working on his golf game does come into the retirement plan. Alright. He is an athlete and he has been. Yeah. I mean he’s a very very good golfer and I wrestled with this one, believe me. It has -we’ve been married for 26 years and there has been times when golf really was a source of soreness in our relationship. But I’ve come to understand that for him he needs that that mastery he challenges him to become better at it; that achievement, that competency, and it involves discipline and time management and pure determination. I’ve embraced that that is a part of who he is and he isn’t just out there hitting a little ball around to pass time. He’s actually focused on bettering his game and there is a – there financial implications to that. You know if you have a hobby that you want to not only you know it’s not only passing time but that you really want to cultivate. I have a client when they retired that he started taking an art class just because it was something that was interesting to him and he found out he was really good at it. And this kind of you know motivated him to look at what do I need to explore here what classes do I want to take. How do I want to become better at this? And you know what is the financial implications of doing that.

[00:23:34] Are there organizations that you want to get involved with or courses you want to take the understanding that there are financial implications in cultivating all of these different aspects of emotionally flourishing in retirement.

[00:23:52] So look those are five large areas that you’ve unpacked, pretty well, and keep a balance in there I think is really important between all those different things. How do we how do we kind of find that balance or how do we ask ourselves that question? Are we doing PERMA?

[00:24:08] That’s a good question. None of these can be addressed a vacuum. Take for example the golf game, you know, if Mark was just going out and golfing every day because he wanted to be a master of that and it is having an impact on our relationship, then it’s out of whack. And so you have to look at this as a well-rounded. I use a wheel of life that it doesn’t go into each one of these facets specifically but it looks at different areas of your life that you want to inflate and to look at a well-rounded life, you want to address all of these. So it may be that you start out with. We could do an action call for this podcast saying ‘Write this down’ – Engagement Relationship Meaning Accomplishments. And, you know, rate yourself from 1 to 5 and say, boy, if I am you know – Positive Emotion in there too. So positive emotions – How do I feel about my money? Well, I’m at a 1. I really do not like talking about money; it’s just irritating, that yadda yadda. I’m at a 1 but I’d like to be, you know, -. What would it look like to increase the level of satisfaction just a little bit? What would it take for you to create a positive emotion around your financial life? And just rate yourself. Yeah. It’s just, it’s not judgemental, it’s just to say this is where I’m at. Recognize it. And then what would be one baby step, what would be one small thing I could do to change that. So if I want to increase my positive emotions maybe I’m willing to try writing down something positive that went well with my finances today. It might sound a little quirky to start with but I’m willing to try that and give it a shot for a week. You know we know that our financial lives and we know that well-being it’s a very very robust – it’s a huge, it’s an elephant. And how do we eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

[00:26:23] Absolutely. I know we’re running low on time. Is there anything else you want to cover in this podcast or do you have a closing thought?

[00:26:30] I just think that people need to understand that there’s that strong financial undercurrent in applying this well being theory to your retirement life and the willingness to start a conversation, to look at what little bite you want to take, to say OK I’m going to get online and go to Danielle Howard Number Four Letter U and download that monetary manifesto to see what that has for me. Or maybe you want to sign up and get engaged in an eight-week retirement online course in the privacy of your own home or you want to call your financial adviser and say wow it’s time for me to really start looking at what it’s going to take to move me towards a healthy retirement. Whatever your baby step is,

[00:27:22] do it. Just take the step. Absolutely. All right, Danielle, thank you so much for your time today, I really appreciate it. And thank you everyone that’s out there listening to today’s podcast Emotionally Flourishing in Retirement with Danielle Howard. If you have not subscribed to the podcasts yet please click subscribe now button below. This way when Danielle comes out with her next podcast it’ll show up directly on your listening device. It also makes it much much easier to share this with friends and family and take a moment, just a moment, to think about your friends and family that may be struggling in one of these five areas. It’s a great discussion to have as a group; take them out to dinner and just ask how are you finding meaning in this part of your life; on a scale of one to 10, are you satisfied with that? Just have the conversation. It’ll be an interesting dinner and I think you’ll really help build the relationships, which I believe is number three and PERMA, so that’ll help. We’ll just tie it all together. Thanks again for listening today for everyone at Wealth Done Differently Retirement, this is Aric Johnson reminding you to live your best day every day. We’ll see you next time.

[00:28:24] Thank you for listening to the Wealth Done Differently – Retirement Podcast. Click the subscribe button below to be notified when new episodes become available. The information covered and posted represents the views and opinions of the guest and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Wealth By Design, LLC.

The Content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional investing advice. Always seek the advice of your financial advisor or other qualified service provider with any questions you may have regarding your investment planning. Danielle Howard, Certified Financial Planner ™ is an Investment Advisor Representative of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and Wealth By Design, LLC.
are not affiliated.

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