The Keys to Successful Aging

As a historian and amateur genealogist, I have written extensively on various topics including articles relating to the history of the “Medicine Hat” and some of its more interesting characters and historical events. In addition to my passion for local history, I also enjoy the researching and writing from time to time about other topics which I find of interest. One such topic is “aging” and more specifically “retirement”. For those who are contemplating or who are in the early stages of this important aspect of life, here is a brief article, which is a slight departure from my usual “historical” offerings, which some may find of interest.

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“Over the Moon”-The Case of Edmund Joseph “Moon” Marcino vs. The Estate of Victoria Kolewaski

Having practiced law in Medicine Hat for over 35 years and as you can quite imagine, I was involved in many interesting cases. Here is a story I wrote several years ago which I have just updated. It is about a case which was the highlight of my legal career.
It is entitled, “Over the Moon”- The Case of Edmund Joseph “Moon” Marcino vs The Estate of Victoria Kolewaski.  READ ON

“Frugality Risk”: How Much Money Should You Spend In Your Retirement?

In an earlier article entitled, “Retirement, Financial Risks and Negative Interest Rates, I identified and discussed the key financial risks that every retiree must understand and consider in developing a retirement plan. Based upon my own experience and from my observation of others, there is another risk that some retirees must address, which is seldom identified or even discussed.

Frugality is considered by many to be a valuable financial habit and some consider it to be a significant contributor to the establishment of wealth. By definition “frugality” refers to the quality or state of being frugal; the prudent and careful management of material and resources, especially money. Those who consider themselves to be frugal are economical in the consumption of consumable resources such as food, time or money and avoid waste, lavishness or extravagance. READ ON

“Grumpy Old Men”: The Relationship Between Aging and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence as a field of academic research has been around for several decades but has only recently become a popular topic among corporate executives as they search for new ways to improve talent/recruitment within their organization. The topic first gained notoriety following the publication of the book in 1995 entitled “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman. Based upon subsequent research and numerous empirical studies, it has been determined that having a high EI is essential in achieving success not only in business but in life itself and that it may be just as important as having a high IQ.

According to Goleman, there are five key elements to Emotional Intelligence:

  • Self-awareness.
  • Self-regulation.
  • Motivation.
  • Empathy.
  • Social skills.

“Grumpy Old Men”

It is not uncommon these days to discover that there is a general negative perception of seniors and the aging process. Many younger people when thinking about aging associate it with physical decline and diminished cognitive skills. Many seniors are stereotyped as being unhappy and isolated and lacking in motivation. Seniors are often portrayed as “grumpy old men”.

To the contrary, recent studies have demonstrated that as we get older, our emotional intelligence improves significantly and seniors are more focused on positive outcomes as opposed to having negative feelings. They have a tendency to value relationships and work harder at maintaining existing relationships and fostering new ones. They generally have a more positive outlook and a greater sense of optimism, all of which is somewhat surprising to many observers. Studies have found that there is a correlation between aging and an increase in emotional intelligence.READ ON

“Trick or Treat”: Developing a Retirement Strategy-From A Canadian Perspective

In an earlier article entitled, “Retirement, Financial Risks and Negative Interest Rates”, I identified and discussed several key retirement risks that everyone contemplating retirement should know and understand. In doing so, I encouraged those entering this next phase of life to develop not just a retirement plan but rather a retirement strategy. Understanding the difference between a plan and a strategy in this context may mean the difference between a successful retirement and a failed one. READ ON

Retirement, Financial Risks and Negative Interest Rates

-Develop Not Just a Retirement Plan But a Retirement Strategy

By far the most predominant question among Canadians that are in the early stages of retirement or who are contemplating entering this stage of life is:  

Will I have enough money to last my lifetime without compromising my lifestyle? 

In an earlier article entitled, Risky Business”-The Retirement Conundrum”, I identified the various financial risks that must be considered in developing a retirement plan. The question posed reflects one of the more challenging risks associated with retirement-longevity risk. 

But this is only one of several financial risks that need to be addressed or at the very least understood, when contemplating retirement.

Let me explain. READ ON

Are We Living Too Long?

My grandfather was 93 years of age when he was struck down and killed instantly by a car while crossing the street at night in front of his house. He had lived independently for years after my grandmother passed away. He was never sick a day in his life and continued to have all of his faculties. He allegedly had been playing “crokinole” with a little old lady across the street, just before the accident. 

When I tell this story, most people react by saying “ Oh, how sad!” My response over the years has consistently been the same, “I think we all wish we could be so lucky.”  

My wife recently returned from visiting my mother-in-law who has an advanced form of dementia and who resides in a dementia unit in an adult seniors care facility. Apart from her mental state, and being wheelchair bound, she is otherwise in good health. She is currently the same age as my grandfather, when he passed away. After a particularly frustrating visit, my wife remarked, “I think she has lived too long”.  She was not being disingenuous but rather it was a thoughtful statement made by someone who is as committed, understanding, loving, caring and compassionate as any daughter could be in the circumstances. 

At first blush, I was taken aback and somewhat surprised by the remark, as my wife loves her mother dearly. Upon reflection, however, I decided to explore the context of that statement more closely and what follows is the result of that enquiry, which some may find provocative. 

For others, I hope it is at least informative and offers some food for thought!READ ON

Successful Aging: Develop a Passion and a Purpose

We all wish to age well in our retirement. But how?

In an earlier article entitled, “ The Emotional Phases of Retirement” , I used the term “successful aging” to describe that emotional phase of retirement when we have effectively reached a point where “life is good” and we have reached a measurable degree of contentment.  This is when the accomplished retiree considers that the retirement role has been mastered and he finds himself in a comfortable and rewarding routine, which is both satisfying and enjoyable. He has reached the ultimate goal of retirement. He is relaxed and has a feeling of comfort and can look back and take pride in the fact that he has “worked” hard and has made a valuable contribution and now is being justly rewarded. His financial plan is has come to fruition and is firmly in place and relatively speaking, he is financially secure.

We all strive for this feeling of contentment.

But how do we get to this place?

Although financial security is a very important aspect of “successful aging”, equally important is creating an environment for emotional stability as we go down the “runway” of life.

As one author commented, “Self-acceptance, positive attitude, creative expression, purposeful living and spiritual connection” all play an important role in achieving successful and meaningful aging.


A “Busy” Retirement: Is it the Right Kind of Busy?

In a recent article entitled, “The Emotional Phases of Retirement”, I reviewed in some detail various academic studies on “retirement” that focused on a part of retirement planning not often considered or discussed, as people contemplate this phase in their life. Most articles and books on retirement planning place emphasis on the financial aspect of retirement, many promoting their own version of a plan which is guaranteed to produce financial results. Few discuss in any meaningful fashion, the “emotional” aspects of retirement and how to cope with this significant change in lifestyle. A friend who is much younger than I and who is still working but contemplating this next phase in his life, recently asked me, “if I had any difficulty in adjusting to retirement”. After a lively discussion, I sent him an email with some information on the topic.  READ ON