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Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, tells the story of the people of Roseto. In the late 19th and early 20th century, many of the people of Roseto Valfortore (a small town 100 miles southeast of Rome) migrated to the United States to create a new life in the ‘Promised Land’. The Rosetans began buying land on the rocky hillside of Pennsylvania. They built closely packed houses and churches like their town of origin, and having originally named their new home ‘New Italy’, they soon changed this to ‘Roseto’ after their home town.
The culture here was rich in spirituality, community, good food and festivals. The closest town of Bangor was mostly Welsh, and the next overwhelmingly German. Given the fractious relationships amongst these ethnic groups at the time, the Rosetans tended to focus their attention and time within their own community. They spoke Italian, and they lived in their own self-sufficient world.
Steven Wolf, a physician, was visiting a farm in the area during a summer in the late 1950s. Having a beer with a local doctor, he learnt that the local doctor had seen almost no cases of heart disease amongst Roseto residents younger than 65. In fact, further research revealed that almost no one in that community had suffered from heart disease or a heart attack before age 55. After age 65, the rates were roughly half that of the rest of the United States. The death rate from all causes was 30 to 35% lower than expected.
His interest piqued, Dr. Wolf explored what could account for these health outcome gaps. He initially believed the lack of heart disease was a result of their healthy Mediterranean diet. The more research he did, the more he realised this wasn’t the case; for example, they now cooked with lard instead of olive oil. Furthermore, many Rosetans smoked heavily and struggled with obesity. Neither was it the case that there was anything special in the area, given that the Welsh and German towns didn’t benefit in the same way.
After spending time there researching this phenomenon, Dr. Wolf realised that a very different factor was keeping them from heart disease. His research concluded that it was their culture keeping the Rosetans healthy. Their close-knit community, where three generations lived together in one household, prevented disease. They would not flaunt their success and would mask the failures of those who were doing less well. They participated in an active and compassionate society, which psychologically served to ward off disease.
In this post I am not going to encourage you to take up smoking and eat to the point of obesity; quite the opposite, in fact. But creating a healthy new life is about more than just your physical health. It is about how you spend your time and your overall wellbeing that will determine your happiness in retirement.
If you have read and acted upon everything we have covered, when you get to retirement, your life, from a financial perspective, will be considerable easier than many people experience. You already have your money in an environment where you can generate a flexible income and have a Lifetime Cash Flow Forecast, which you can use to forecast and plan your income in line with how you want to spend your money. So now it’s time to act on these plans.
I use the metaphor of your retirement as a strong, healthy oak tree. There are three keys that nourish this oak tree; the money is just the start. Money provides the water that your tree needs to live and to grow, but without the other two key elements, your oak tree will wither and die. So now it is time to focus our attention on the sunshine and nutrients your oak tree needs.
How you use your time is the sunshine needed to grow a strong and healthy oak tree. Finding and pursuing your purpose, ticking off items on your ‘Bucket List’ and creating a rewarding life with balance are the rays of light that allow your oak tree to flourish. This balance of your time will be a key determining factor in how happy you are in your new life. Without these rays of light, your retirement will lose its colour, and your growth will become stunted.
The Nutrients: Your Wellbeing
Finally, your wellbeing is the flow of nutrients that feed your oak tree. The quality of the output is determined by the quality of the input. The health of your body, your mind and your relationships will give you strength and longevity. If you do not feed your oak tree with the nutrients it needs, the growth will slow, the tree will be susceptible to disease and its life will be shortened. Nurturing your body, mind and relationships will give you the strength to live a long and amazing new life.
The ‘watering’ of your oak through financial planning is very important but now it is time to turn our attention to the sunlight and nutrients that will allow your oak tree to flourish. We will work through each of these areas in turn, to ensure you can live out a long, balanced life that is rewarding, fulfilling and leaves you with a sense of achievement. At www.Dream-Retirement.com, you can find out about our seminars and programs that will help you delve more deeply into these areas.
Getting older might make you feel like you are slowing down. Do not be fooled into thinking this is cognitive decline, you have so much information in your brain that it takes more time to access it! You can be stronger and happier in your retirement than ever before. Life is an adventure, you can expect change and embrace it. Learn the right time to retire, how to boost your retirement income and create your dream retirement. Follow your dreams and love what you do!
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