WOMEN CAN BE EXTREMELY HAPPY IN RETIREMENT!
[pullquoteright] Most people understand life expectancy has changed since Social Security started in 1937 when folks lived to be 59 years old. Today, they live to be 77 years old.
We all have our dream retirement vision.
In an ideal world at retirement, how much money would you want? What exciting activities and pursuits would you have? Where would you live and what kind of home would you live in? Who is there with you? Is it your current partner or someone else? Please don’t be shy, remember, this is your ideal. What is the state of your health and what kind of shape are you in?
The human mind is capable of boundless creativity. Hopefully so.
Why do we say hopefully? You might be surprised that even when people have time, money and reasonably good health, many are still unhappy. Which gender does research indicate is most unhappy?
In an article entitled “The Surprising Gender Gap in Retirement Happiness”, Retirementlifestylemastery.com reports the stereotypical portrait of a retiree struggling with depression often focuses on a man who realizes that no matter how much golf he plays, he still is not completely happy with his life–having all the time in the world to play golf is not scratching his itch.
Yet, a recent survey of nearly 700 retirees showed that women struggle much more with finding purpose in retirement than men do. A whopping 80% of the women who were polled felt as if they had no purpose in life after quitting work, whereas only 54% of the men responded in this way.
Women also showed much more worry about a lack of income during retirement years, which greatly reduces their happiness. They have also seen a more drastic reduction in their social lives after retiring, which they treasure more than men. One of the major findings was that women are more severely affected by loneliness, one of the primary dangers to mental health of retirement years.
The publication goes on to say another factor in general unhappiness during retirement for women is the realization that their children need them less and less. This creates unease as their strong maternal instinct is not fed, which arose later in the survey when women said much more often than men that they wished they lived closer to their families.
As for men, they were found to have more established hobbies that they could transition into during retirement. Men also said that they were more content to simply relax at home during their retirement years.
Another interesting conclusion of the survey was that 50% of the men fully enjoyed their retirement, as opposed to only 38% of the women. Almost two-thirds of the women mentioned their vanished social network at their place of employment as a major loss in their lives. The survey also discovered that a women’s satisfaction with her retirement will often correspond directly to her quality of social life.
Before we present researched ideas on what satisfied female retirees are doing in their retirement years and our own suggestions to enhance that experience, it’s important to understand that even dreaming of an extensive retirement is a luxury because so much that determines how long you live is primarily based upon the country you were born and live in. Perhaps the foundation to initially being happy in retirement is the fact that for many countries it’s a luxury to even reach that part of the trail.
What countries can expect the longest life expectancy?
In a September 1, 2013 voanews.com report Lisa Schlein shares the World Health Organization reports women aged 50 and older globally are healthier now than they were 20 and 30 years ago. But while women’s health has improved, a new WHO study finds the gap in life expectancy is widening between older women in rich and poor countries.
The World Health Organization reports heart disease and stroke and cancers are the leading causes of death of women aged 50 years and older worldwide. But, it notes these deaths occur at earlier ages in the developing countries.
The study is one of the first to analyze the causes of death of women aged 50 and more from a range of rich and poor countries. It finds many of these women are meeting an early death because they live in countries that lack the money and resources to prevent, detect and treat non-communicable diseases.
She explains that thanks to improvements in health, the Study finds women over 50, on average, have gained 3.5 years in life expectancy over the past 20 years. It notes older women in Germany and Japan now can expect to live to 84 and 88 years respectively and women in many other developed countries can expect to live to age 83 or 84.
The report says life expectancy for women in the poorer countries is about 10 years less. It notes women in Eastern Europe also die at an earlier age because of high rates of cardiovascular disease, accidents, and high alcohol consumption.
The World Health Organization says the epidemic of chronic diseases can be reversed with available cost-effective ways to address common non-communicable diseases. These include prevention, early diagnosis and management of high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol.
Reuters and Theglobeandmail.com contributes developed countries have tackled cardiovascular diseases and cancers in women with tangible results, the WHO study said.
Fewer women aged 50 years and older in rich countries are dying from heart disease, stroke and diabetes than 30 years ago and these improvements contributed most to increasing women’s life expectancy at the age of 50, it said. An older woman in Germany can now expect to live to 84 and in Japan to 88 years, against 73 in South Africa and 80 in Mexico.
Low-income countries, especially in Africa, offer community services to treat diseases like AIDS or offer maternal care but many lack services to detect or treat breast cancer. In many developing countries, there is also limited access to high blood pressure medication to treat hypertension, one of the biggest risk factors for death.
So if we want to live to a ripe old age having wealth will greatly increase our ability to see that vision become a reality. Health.howstuffworks.com states, “By far the most important factor in life expectancy is wealth; richer people tend to eat healthfully and smoke and drink less. They also have access to the best health care. Affluent countries also tend to have low rates of violent crime and civil unrest. The following countries have the highest average life expectancies in the world. In case you’re wondering, the United States, with an average life expectancy of 77.85, ranks 48th.”
Here are the top eight countries for life expectancy. Number one is Andorra at 81.53 years, Macau, 82.19, San Marino 81.71, Singapore 81.71, Hong Kong 81.59, Japan 81.25, Sweden 80.51, and Australia at 80.51.
There are some reasons worth noting to these countries longevity success.
Japan has one of the lowest adult obesity rates in the industrialized world, at only 3 percent. As in Hong Kong, this is mainly due to a healthful diet based around vegetables, fish, rice and noodles. Many Japanese people also stop eating when they feel about 80 percent full, rather than until they can’t manage another mouthful. The Japanese are also much less reliant on cars than people in Western countries, preferring to walk whenever possible, and therefore get plenty of exercise.
People in Hong Kong generally eat a healthful and balanced diet, based around rice, vegetables and tofu, with only small amounts of meat. This means that obesity rates are low, as are the rates for most dietary-based cancers and heart disease.
Located between France and Spain, Andorra was one of Europe’s poorest countries until it became a popular tourist destination after World War II. Its 71,000 inhabitants now enjoy all the benefits of a thriving economy, which include excellent nutrition and public health care facilities.
The worst countries to live in if you want to reach old age are Afghanistan (49.72), Swaziland (49.42), Guinea-Bissau (49.11) and Chad (48.69), whose people are generally expected to die before they even reach middle age so says thedailymail.co.uk.com.
They continue while the United States has consistently fallen in the rank of world nations over the last 50 years, the average life expectancy has risen from 69.8 years in 1960 to 78.49 today. And while Chad’s figure of 48.69 today is shockingly low, in 1960 Afghanistan had the world’s lowest life expectancy at 31.3 years.
Our research shows Monaco to be one of the best places to live. If James Bond does not have a license to kill you, Monaco has the world’s highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita as well as the lowest poverty rate. It has a population of 36,000 people and is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The main income comes from tourism and gambling. No one pays taxes in this small Mediterranean country so it has become a haven for the rich and famous. The country has an excellent standard of compulsory state funded healthcare.
So now that you are approaching those golden years what can you plan to help ensure you have some happiness once you get there?
We look to health.howstuffworks.com for guidance again, this time for activities and interests that allow women to be happier in retirement. What are the top five activities? Drum roll please.
Number one is Travel. No surprise there. Baby Boomers represent 28 percent of the U.S. population, and every 7 seconds another Baby Boomer turns 50, according to Baby Boomer Magazine.
Although not in everyone’s budget, travel is on the wish list of many Baby Boomers and retirees, and may account for up to 80 percent of non-business travel. From learning a new skill like gourmet cooking (in Tuscany), to participating in either domestic or international goodwill projects. Seniors who travel can tailor their excursions to fulfill passions like antiquing, museum hopping or just lazing around on the beach.
The other four are Physical Activity, Volunteerism, Learning and Crafting.
Do the last four excite you?
In our middle aged circle, we have some suggestions to expand upon theirs.
From our perspective physical activity becomes your enjoyable job in retirement. You would consult your doctor first but swells of research speak to the myriads of important health benefits.
Our focus here is volunteerism. To volunteer for important causes with community oriented organizations is greatly admirable and you may also feel good about yourself. At times, in the long term, this approach may eventually feel like going to work.
What about volunteering at something you love?
We love competitive women’s wrestling in many forms. We started out as fans, now have a blog and plans to promote women’s wrestling that will run deep into the future. We can’t see retiring from this. We hope to make a profit.
What do you love?
Please ask yourself that question over and over.
The next step is to find organizations that service or sell what you love and volunteer for them. Soon, you start meeting people who love what you love and now you have friends who become professional contacts. Contacts increase networking. Networking often leads to job offers.
Life seems to be a very personal and sometime alone but not lonely experience. Since you have to walk through it as seen through your eyes and mind, why not walk down a pathway you love.
When you are younger with a family, a practical job with benefits and security it’s hard to leave to pursue a risky employment love interest, but after you have retired what is holding you back?
To retire and sit around, eat good food, travel and watch television may be enjoyable but is it satisfying? Will it make you happy? Having a purpose often seems to be the strongest ingredient to happiness.
We quoted the article “The Surprising Gender Gap in Retirement Happiness” earlier that addressed the importance of a social network for women in retirement that seems to diminish after they leave the workplace and the children are gone. It doesn’t have to.
You are free and even with a modest retirement if you first volunteer with an organization doing something you love; something very important may well happen in retirement.
You’ll be happy.
~ ~ ~
Sources: www.voanews.com/content/who-life-expectancy-women-rich-poor-countries, www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/life-expectancy-gap-growing-between-rich-and-poor-world-women, www.foxnews.com/health/2013/03/05/study-shows-declining-life-span-for-some-us-women, usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/story, www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields, http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/aging/senior-health-lifestyle/10-countries-with-the-highest-life-expectancy.htm, www. money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life,