The Retirement Resource - Qualities to Develop for Retirement Success

Qualities to Develop For Retirement Success

Today’s guest, Mary Blissard, is both an airline pilot and a retirement coach – yep, you read that right! It’s a unique combination, but it actually makes a lot of sense because airline pilots have a mandatory retirement age of 65. On top of the mandatory retirement age, it’s really easy for being a pilot, like many other professions, to become a defining part of your identity.

For the most part, these pilots are all set financially and beneficially – but they need help with the dramatic lifestyle transition that accompanies retirement. That’s where Mary comes in, and that’s what she’s here to help us with today.


  • Your identity after retirement
  • What you can do to mentally prepare for the transition into retirement
  • 3 activities you can do today to start developing these qualities in your life


Transitioning into retirement is a big change for anyone, but it’s more difficult if you don’t prepare (especially if something sudden happens and you are forced to go into retirement unexpectedly).

But the adverse effects of being unprepared for retirement can be mitigated if you intentionally cultivate a few traits. These qualities are really essential to any part of your life, but they will be especially useful in retirement:

Curiosity – As we get older, our curiosity is often tamped down because it is time consuming and unpredictable. But for some people, the most powerful question they could ever ask is, “What is it that I always wanted to learn about or know more about?” Cultivating curiosity opens your mind and you will discover a lot about yourself, and you also might uncover a new or forgotten passion.

Resilience – When life happens and you get knocked off of your path, or you suffer a major loss (even, potentially, the loss of a job), it’s important that you have developed the resilience and flexibility necessary to handle it in stride, change your plan, and keep moving forward.

Perspective – Even if a situation seems negative, you can look at it from a different point of view and try to find some good. The ability to reframe your perspective is entirely under your control, and that can be really helpful for people who are anxious about the aspects of retirement they can’t control. If you ever find yourself struggling with this, ask yourself these three questions: Will it matter in 10 minutes? Will it matter in 10 months? Will it matter in 10 years?

Time Management – Many people, for years or even decades, have a set routine every day, and losing that routine in retirement can be a tough transition. So learning about yourself and the way you like to manage your time is essential. A retirement coach can offer assessments that will help you determine your value system, and then you can figure out what activities fulfill those needs.

Adaptability – Like your perspective, you get to choose how you adapt to any scenario, good or bad. The change is inevitable – your growth is optional. But the earlier you start looking ahead and considering the changes that are likely to happen, and how you can adapt to them, the better prepared you will be.

Gratitude – Research has shown that people who are actively practicing gratitude – which means taking some time, every day, to specifically think about and be thankful for situations, circumstances, people, events, or physical things in their lives – are 25 percent happier than people who don’t. On top of being something easy you can do every single day, practicing gratitude enhances almost all of the other qualities mentioned in this episode.


We love sharing helpful information, but it won’t help unless you start taking action to bring these qualities into your life.

Mary has three simple activities you can do to foster these qualities in yourself, even if you’re 20+ years away from retirement:

 1. To cultivate curiosity, carry a small notebook around (or use your cell phone to take pictures) and capture ideas or things that you’re curious about. Then look them up and learn more about them, or start talking with other people about them.

2. Intentionally noticing things that bring you wonder and joy can actually be a great stress reliever. So try to look around, just in your daily life, and think of something that reminds you of the joy that you felt when you were 10 years old. (You could write a list of these things in your notebook, too!)

3. In that same little notebook, write down three to five things that you’re grateful for every day. As mentioned before, research shows that the active practice of gratitude has tangible benefits.


Qualities to Develop For Retirement Success


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About Beau Henderson

Beau Henderson is a financial advisor, author, coach, radio personality, and CEO of RichLife Advisors. He has helped over 3,000 clients to not just improve their relationship with money, but to live the life of their dreams.

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