The View From Unretirement: Want a happier, more fulfilling retirement? Try this Japanese concept.

by | Jan 4, 2023 | Stock Market

Typical New Year’s resolutions, financially speaking, tend to be things like:” I’ll save more,” “I’ll reduce debt” or “I’ll become smarter about investing.” I’d like to offer a different one for 2023, particularly for people who are newly retired or nearing retirement: “I’ll find my ikigai.”

What exactly is ikigai (pronounced ee-kee-GUY) and why should you try to find it for retirement? Ikigai is, as you might suspect, a Japanese word. It combines “iki” (which means alive or life) and “gai” (which means benefit or worth). Loosely translated, ikigai means “the reason to get up in the morning,” so it’s similar to “raison d’être” in French. The four parts of ikigai Ikigai means finding what you love (your passion), what you’re good at (your vocation), what you can do that the world needs (your mission) and what you can be paid for (your “profession,” though getting paid could be financially or psychically through volunteering or mentoring). In my unretirement, now one year in, I’m finding my ikigai through freelance writing about personal finances and retirement; volunteering on weekends at the nearby Furniture Assist charity in New Jersey and mentoring through NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute and the Gerontological Society of America’s Journalists in Aging program. I first heard about ikigai in 2019 when I wrote a Next Avenue series about the five Blue Zones around the world, …

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