Log In

Reset Password

Factors that influence how our retirement will turn out

Golden years: numerous factors in earlier life influence the level of satisfaction in retirement

The Bermuda Budget Statement presented on February 25 by David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, was revealing in many respects, some for later discussion. My attention was immediately drawn to our demographics – where 25 per cent of our population will be seniors in 2025, a mere three years from now.

Seniors that may not continue to work are living off pensions and yet may be around for a very long time – without the ability in many circumstances to continue to hold their own financially or in the workforce.

Generally, oldsters receive little attention, sort of dropped off by the mental side of the road, no longer relevant to working day society.

But it is a given now in western societies that certain groups are living longer than ever – in spite of health issues more dominant in other community segments. Real data point to ever increasing numbers of elders living to 100 and beyond, a full two decades more than defined by current actuarial life expectation and mortality tables. Your author had clients 15 years ago whose parents were over 100 years old.

The ramifications of these lengthy oldster numbers have yet to be wholly recognised as the game-changers that they are, becoming an ever-evolving fascination due to increased studies, personal observations, and strident rejection of media treatment of those over a certain age.

Oldsters are way underestimated as superb influencers, decision-makers, astute thinkers, and deliberate purchase power consumers.

Those not so close to retirement, with far more daily life challenges on their plate, may want to give this a pass. However, do keep in mind that how you manage your life through age 50 is a real determinant on a successful old age.

Retirement planning, then living it successfully – from the happiness quotient side – can be viewed through two individual prisms:

-Absolutely dreading the looming event for many reasons: financial concerns, health issues, incompatibility worries, loss of identity, decrease in self-worth, and isolation

-Or embracing the final release from work and the lessening of family responsibilities giving time to create, experience the new and old again, become more socially active, and just feeling free to be, “in the age of enlightenment”

We are limiting focus on finances for this perspective – as, after all, the adage says “money can’t buy you happiness!”

Both those two attitudes above are highly relevant in determining how a retirement will evolve. Both can be present in the same individual, seesawing through this enormous change, as the biggest decision in one’s life takes precedence, mandated by legislation, or even more often, by company decision or personal choice.

How then have many not only survived but thrived through this life change – even with decreasing physical functionality and health issues – into very old age. Leaving genetic tendencies to longevity aside, let’s have an overview look at data from two fascinating studies.

Successful ageing

This study has followed two groups of men, 569 in total, around 45 per cent college students and 55 per cent core-city youths, for more than 60 years or until death. It draws on seven personal control variables and six outcome variables to assess successful ageing at the age range of 70 to 80 and uncontrollable predictor variables before age 50 are listed in the report.

Personal control variables before age of 50

• Alcohol abuse

• Smoking

• Marital stability

• Exercise

• Body mass index

• Coping mechanisms

• Education

• Outcome variables

• Physical health

• Death or disability before age 80

• Social supports

• Mental health

And two self-rate variables:

• Instrumental activities of daily living and

• Life enjoyment

The concept of ageing is observed from three dimensions: decline, change and development.

Decline: yes, older bodies decline in functionality as a natural progression of ageing.

Change: one changes (or adapts) to many things in the process to maintain one’s sense of self. However, our ability to love and be loved does not diminish with age an amazing ever-present trait.

Development: continues as oldsters reach maximum satisfaction, maturity, patience, and other attributes.

The conclusion: if even some of the person control variables were managed, one’s health after retirement may be enhanced. Caveat: this study is very physically specific in reporting outcomes.

What’s love got to do with it?

Social functioning, perceived health, and daily happiness in married octogenarians is a research paper on interactions between couples in their management of everyday life with interviews on a daily basis (for eight days) to understand how each individual in the relationship perceived happiness.

The sample size was small, octogenarians in long-term relationships, heterosexual couples, and did not include ethnic groups, welcome anyway because overall studies in this age group have been so very rare so any interaction in this age group is interesting.

Variants were:

• Physical limitations and pain

• Social interactions with others

• Marital satisfaction

• Level of happiness

It appeared that higher social interactions outside of the marital relationship was the component to best happiness.

Conclusion: one’s partner can provide much of one’s happiness, but not all – one needs social connections outside of one’s relationship for fuller harmony within.

Your author would still like to see to see far more assessment reports on the level of intellectual functions, from early to late 80s and 90s, still remaining a contributor to community and economy. A friend in their late 80s just published another scientific paper; yours truly has just published the first of seven primers on Bermuda’s finance environment.

The bottom line of these studies on maintaining health and intellectual functions into very old age means less burden financially, and more positivity intellectually, on a collective society.

Have a read – illuminating information to help everyone plan for the future.

What could be better than that?


Bermuda Budget Speech 2022

Successful Ageing, George E Vaillant, MD & Kenneth Mukamal, MD, American Journal of Psychiatry, 2001 158:839-847

What’s Love Got to Do With It? Social Functioning, Perceived Health, and Daily Happiness in Married Octogenarians. Robert J. Waldinger, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Marc S. Schulz, Bryn Mawr College. Psychology and Ageing 2010, American Psychological Association 2010, Vol. 25, No. 2, pages 422 to 431.

Martha Harris Myron is a passionate promoter of financial literacy and author of the Bermuda Islander Fundamental Financial Planning Primer Series. Proceeds from all author writings are donated to the Bermuda Sloop Foundation for 2022

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published March 12, 2022 at 7:24 am (Updated March 14, 2022 at 7:55 am)

Factors that influence how our retirement will turn out

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon