Who Will You Be in Retirement? – David Ekerdt
Who Will You Be in Retirement?

How Mindful is Your Retirement?

USC Survey for RW.com


What Can be Learned from the Mindfulness Practices of Highly Satisfied Retirees?


For a graduate school class on Mindful Aging at the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology of the University of Southern California, Managing Partner Joe Casey conducted a survey of 79 retirees.

As Richard Rohr and Wayne Dyer have noted, priorities in later life tend to shift away from the pursuit of success and status toward deeper meaning and significance. Engaging in mindfulness practices, especially on a frequent and consistent basis, may help foster resilience, clarity of purpose and life satisfaction during retirement.



  • Those who have been retired the longest and the shortest reported the highest levels of satisfaction. Retirement is a major life transition and it may advance from an initial honeymoon period through various challenges and issues. (Slide 6)


  • Those who have been retired the longest and the shortest also reported the greatest clarity of purpose. (Slide 10)

Mindfulness Practices

  • People at all levels of satisfaction reported engagement with some form of mindfulness practice.
  • Of the five practices surveyed (Meditation, Gratitude, Journaling, Prayer, and Exercise), Gratitude and Prayer were the most frequently reported among the highest satisfaction groups.
  • Among the group reporting the lowest satisfaction, the only practice noted was prayer.
  • Retirees with higher levels of satisfaction reported a much higher frequency of Mindfulness practices on a weekly basis.  (Slide 8)


  • All respondents reported Family as a primary source of joy in their lives in retirement. However, among those reporting higher satisfaction, there was a much broader and diverse list of sources of joy in life. (Slides 12 and 13)



  • Take charge of your life in retirement.
  • Whether you are in retirement now or you’re planning to retire, look beyond financial planning. Consider cultivating mindfulness practices in your day-to-day life.
  • Put the right practices in place – the earlier the better.
  • Start small.
  • Build the right habits over time.
  • Strive for consistency. 


Recommended Reading


Dyer, W. (2010).The Shift: Taking Your Life from Ambition to Meaning.

Rohr, R. (2011). Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life.



Joe Casey is a former senior HR executive at Merrill Lynch, who’s created a second career as a retirement coach. He holds a Masters in Gerontology from the University of Southern California and, as a retirement coach and Designing Your Life coach, he helps people discover What’s Next after their primary career. Learn more on The Retirement Conversation podcast.

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