Mastering the Non-Financial Aspects of Retirement

Q. My husband and I are close to retirement age. The life we’ve known so far has included working at our full-time jobs, occasional social events with friends, visits and holidays with family, and the every-day things associated with being a working person in the DC area.

This might sound silly, but when we are retired, how are we going to handle the new challenges in our lives? The life I have known for the past 40 years has been a lot different than what we are about to experience. How do we navigate the next set of life changes looming ahead of us — and what are some of the topics we should be exploring? In other words, is there a way to get yourself ready for the non-financial aspects of retirement? Thanks for your help!


A. Five years ago, when he blew out 60 candles, longtime president and CEO of the National Council on Aging (NCOA) Jim Firman, wished there was something to help him navigate the life changes that were ahead of him.

According to Firman, “(t)here’s almost nothing to prepare us for this phase. I didn’t know how to age well. I figured by extension other baby boomers didn’t either,” he said.

In his role, he was positioned to do something about the knowledge gap. To help others like him (and like yourselves), he helped create the Aging Mastery® program, a ten-week NCOA course available to people age 50 and up.

NCOA’s Aging Mastery (AM) Program combines courses with expert speakers, group discussion, goal-setting, and small rewards to help older adults gain the skills and tools they need to manage their health, remain economically secure, and contribute actively in society. The curriculum takes on everything from sleep problems to healthy relationships and community engagement. It also does cover some financial fitness, but that’s not the main focus of the AM Program, as there are lots of financial retirement planners (including myself) who can help you through this part of retirement. Below are details about all the topics covered in the AM curriculum, and information you can access on these topics on our blog, whether or not you decide to do their program:

Other topics that Aging Mastery teaches seniors include best practices on medication management and community engagement ideas, including taking on meaningful volunteer opportunities.

The National Council on Aging surveyed graduates of the Aging Mastery program and found that 97% believe the course improved their quality of life. “We heard them say that it’s fun, and that’s a key to its success,” Firman added. “It’s fun because it’s meaningful.”

So far, AM has been hosted at more than 200 community sites across the country with 6,500 older adults participating. Learn more about the program and where it is offered here.

Planning for Aging, and for Your Future, Is Important

We are all getting older, and living longer than ever before. It is wise of you to prepare yourself and seek out tips and answers to questions you will likely face as you age.

Our firm is dedicated to helping protect aging and disabled adults (and disabled children) preserve dignity, quality of life, and financial security. As always, if you’ve not done Estate Planning or Long-Term Care Planning (or had your documents reviewed in the past 5 years – or last 3 years if you’re over 65), or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, please call us to make an appointment for a consultation:

Fairfax Elder Law Attorney: 703-691-1888
Fredericksburg Elder Law Attorney: 540-479-1435
Rockville Elder Law Attorney: 301-519-8041
DC Elder Law Attorney: 202-587-2797

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.