Category Archives: Happiness

Retire-o-meter: Measuring Your Retirement Confidence

In the mid-70s The Gong Show used an ‘Applause-O-Meter’ when finalists would be rounded up at the end of the show and the audience would pick a winner via applause. A silly but useful tool. What if you could use a similar tool to rate your preparation for and likely success during retirement?

People I have talked with who are preparing for retirement focus the bulk of their energy creating and worrying about their retirement finances. This preparation is key to secure a successful retirement but it covers only one of four challenges faced during retirement. Those who have recently retired find that their security and success is based on their financial well-being as well as their physical, social and personal well-being.

During my research for Beyond Work: How Accomplished People Retire Successfully (Wiley, 2008) I learned what it takes to retire well and enjoy this new and different adulthood. These retired ‘New Adults’ understood that life beyond work is multi-faceted. Also, they were confident in their ability to live a meaningful retired life.

Understanding what is important during retirement and having the confidence in one’s ability to meet and master challenges differentiate successful retirees from those who are disappointed and unhappy. Understanding is increased with knowledge of what is to come, which increases security and lessens nasty surprises. Talking with experts in retirement, both professionals (accountants, financial planners, doctors, clergy and others) and friends who are a step or two ahead of you is a great way to build understanding. Reading books and articles helps to convert understanding into knowledge and eventually wisdom.

Confidence in the ability to meet new challenges and enjoy life is what pulls accomplished people through the tough times and actually improves their quality of life. This is true at all ages.
How confident are you in your ability to live well once you move beyond work? It’s a hard question to answer. Here are some additional questions:

How confident are you in your ability to:
• Build confidence in weak areas?
• Know which areas are weak?
• Monitor your confidence over time?
• Pinpoint specific challenges that you can learn to master?

As you probably suspect, these are loaded questions. The Roiter Retirement Confidence Profile (RCP) has been developed from the research conducted for Beyond Work. The RCP will help you to answer the questions above and provide you with ideas about how to increase your confidence. It can function as your ‘Retire-O-Meter’ confidence measure. You can complete the RCP at

More than 800 people have completed the no-cost, no obligation RCP since it went on line in June, 2008. It has 20 statements about retirement that you are asked to consider and indicate your level of agreement. For example, how strongly do you agree with this statement: “I trust my judgment regarding financial matters”? The RCP will provide you with your current level of confidence on a scale of 20 to 100. It also provides you with confidence scores in your ability to maintain financial, physical, social and personal well-being. You can complete the RCP as often as you want to determine if you are improving your weak areas and maintaining your strengths.

My hope is that you can use the RCP to help you to build your confidence in your retirement.


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Filed under Financial, Happiness, Personal, Physical, Retirement, Retirement Tips, Social, Uncategorized

Beyond Work is the “Best Retirement Book of 2008”

Beyond Work: How Accomplished People Retire Successfully (Wiley, 2008) was selected as the Independent Publishers’ Axiom Award Gold Medal winner in the 2008 retirement book category.  The competitively judged Axiom Book Awards presents gold, silver and bronze medals in 22 categories.  “The judging is based on content, originality, design, and production quality, with emphasis on innovation and creativity. The judging panel includes experts from the fields of editing, design, reviewing, bookselling, and library science.”


I was very pleased to learn of my book’s selection and I greatly appreciate the recognition of Beyond Work as a valuable tool for those considering retirement or recently retired.

Beyond Work looks at retirement as a whole life experience and describes the four sets of challenges and opportunities that people face as they move beyond work.  This time of life is much more than leaving work and managing personal finances.  It is about building a successful life by maximizing your financial, physical, social and personal well-being.  The book provides an overview of a successful retirement and specifics as to how to manage and improve your well-being.  Ideas are described using real life stories from the many people interviewed for the book.

Reviews from Amazon readers:

I am in my fifties and beginning to seriously consider retiring. I’ve seen lots of books about preparing yourself financially, and certainly seen “self-help” stuff describing how to be comfortable with yourself when you retire. But Roiter’s book is the first I’ve seen that knits all the areas to consider – social, financial, personal and physical – into an understandable, integrated picture. He uses common sense terms, and entertaining real-life examples, to explain how to prepare for what should be one of the best periods of your life. – From Looking to Enjoy Life

This book emphasizes the fact that not since you were very young have you had a chance to think or act on your own behalf. Now you can do what works for you. Using easy-to-grasp illustrations of the focus of our lives during various stages, the author opens up new possibilities for the “new adult” to look at what retirement has to offer. I have recommended this book to several people and each has responded with thanks and enthusiasm. (My broker bought it for her mother-in-law.) Several report their identification with the personal stories the author includes. The book encourages one to think differently about one’s life, retired or not. – From Dee Monroe

And more reviews are available on Amazon

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Filed under Best retirement book, Happiness, In the News, Retirement, Retirement Tips, Uncategorized

Three Personal Qualities for Retiring Well

I am frequently asked ‘what are the qualities that are consistent among people who retire well?’  I have been pondering the answer to this question.   As I reviewed the interviews I conducted for my book and my conversations with my clients, I found that three qualities stood out.  They are Competence, Confidence and Courage, the 3 Qualities for Retiring Well.

The 3Cs:

1.       Competence – This comes from a combination of talent, skill and experience, but it does not stop there.  It is made fresh through constant learning.  The past informs us, the present teaches us and the future is what we make of it.

2.       Confidence – This uses competence as the foundation for making decisions.  It is confidence that allows a person to make the best choices, not just the easiest choices.

3.       Courage – This allows us to take positive action when there is no certainty.  It is the fuel of discovery and resilience.  Retirement is filled with challenges and opportunities; courage allows us to meet the challenges and exploit the opportunities.

Bill Roiter 

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Filed under Financial, Happiness, Personal, Physical, Retirement, Retirement Tips, Social

Twas the Night Before Retirement

Twas the night before Retirement, when all through the house
Joe was up stirring, awaking his spouse
His 401(k)’s disappearing, his health insurance too
Joe was worried and scared knowing not what to do

When outside of his door there arose such a clatter
Joe rushed out to see what was the matter
Not knowing what happened, he stood there and shivered
But lo and behold! A package was delivered

“What’s this?” Joe wondered, “I must have a look”
Though he knew in a moment it must be a book
Suddenly Joe was relieved, his worries no more
Bill Roiter’s
Beyond Work was his own and he had to explore

In the pages he found eye-opening advice
On how to retire successfully, the words clear and concise
In retirement, Joe learned, he must focus on four domains
Financial was one, but Personal, Social, and Physical remain

Baby boomers are worrying about their futures, no doubt, but the holiday season also adds pressure and stress to already uncertain times. With less control over finances, stress has played a larger part in their lives. Somehow, the happy in the holidays is taking quite a hit this year.

When retirees worry too much about their finances, they forget about three other areas in their life that cannot be put aside: their personal, physical, and social domains. When financial security is taken off the table, so to speak, retirees and boomers can look for happiness from their family, friends, and themselves. By concentrating on other matters they can remain not only successful, but also happy.

Happy Holidays!


Filed under 4 Domains, Happiness, In the News

Did you know that 100 years old isn’t as old as it used to be?

I feel bad for the people who are 99 years old and looking forward to the big one-oh-oh.  Turning 100 is not what it used to be 20 years ago.  The centenarian club is more crowded than it used to be, with more than 50,000 members in the United States alone.  If you want to get the attention once given to people turning 100, you will have to wait an additional 10 years to become a 110 year-old super-centenarian.  In 2002 there were about 18 members of that club. (Source).

What this means for those of us considering retirement or recently retired is that this age inflation is due in part to the advancement made in medical care.  More 100 year-olds mean more people in their 90s, 80s, and younger.  Many once deadly illnesses can now be treated or even cured.  Your odds of living well longer have improved.  Greater longenvity for those in their 100s also means greater longevity for you and for me.

Medicine is doing what it can, as fast as it can, to help you recover from, manage, or cure many diseases.   You can increase the effectiveness of medicine by partnering with a good doctor and doing what you can to stay as healthy as you can be.

You can learn about the role of your health during retirement in chapter 5, “The Physical Domain”, in Beyond Work: How Accomplished People Retire Successfully.  Specific information about 8 remarkable trends in health care that will be in place in 10 years or less can be found on pages 120-124 of chapter 5.

You can order a copy of Beyond Work: How Accomplished People Retire Successfully from Amazon by clicking here.

At what age to you think that you be old?  Why?


Filed under 4 Domains, Financial, Happiness, In the News, Personal, Physical, Retirement Tips, Social, Uncategorized