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Extension > Family > Live Healthy, Live Well > Healthy Futures > Investing and Retirement > Across Generations: Dealing with life transitions

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Investing and Retirement

Across Generations: Dealing With Life Transitions

Sharon M. Danes, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist — Family Social Science

Revised 2008 (by author); reviewed 2013.

Most adults are concerned about future security, and money issues are especially important when planning for retirement. However, other factors are also vital. For instance, some people work their entire lives, and think about when they no longer will have to work. For others, work is their top priority. They can’t imagine a time when they’ll no longer go to work each day. Additional issues include one’s overall mood, zest for life, and the ability to affect or change surroundings. Research shows that all of these factors should be considered in the decades before retirement.

Evaluate What's Important

When thinking about your life, ask, “What makes me happy?” In part, happiness is taking advantage of opportunities to do things that are rewarding. For example, if you enjoy being out-of-doors but seldom leave the house, happiness is hard to experience. Decide which values are high priorities. Then your retirement can be shaped to provide experiences that include these values.

Goal Setting

In order for your values to be reflected in retirement activities, set goals. Goals give direction and meaning to action. Goals are more likely to be reached if stated in specific terms. For example, “I am going to save $50 a month toward retirement,” works better than “I am going to save money.”


Retirement is a transition in life. It is also a transition in relationships. It is important to discuss and plan for the transitions in mid-life and near retirement. Ideas may change as one gets closer to retirement. Conflict management is an option when values or retirement roles differ between partners. University of Minnesota Extension has workshops that help people plan for retirement


Danes, S. M. (2003). Planning ahead for retirement. St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota Extension.

Related Resources

Planning Ahead for Retirement — Guides you in developing a retirement plan that takes into account the financial, emotional, and social aspects of your life.

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