Growth: Among our 10 Elements of Retirement Success

Growth means intentionally advancing in any area of your life, and retirement can offer new opportunities to make it happen. Growing as a person is one of our 10 elements of retirement success. This article aims to help you assess your approach to growth in retirement and set some meaningful goals.

Growth is an interesting topic because it’s going to mean such different things to different people. It’s also a fun topic because it allows us to daydream a bit about the things we’d like to do and the person we’d like to become.

Maybe you want to become a better husband or wife or spend more time with friends or family. Perhaps you want to create a charity, start a business or get into politics. Maybe you wish to grow in your spiritual life, take a deep dive into philosophy or study history, music, a language or computer science. Or perhaps this is the year to develop your physical fitness so you can complete an epic hike or join a tournament at your tennis club.

One of the ways you can think about planning your personal growth is to go from “why” to “how” to “what.” Here are some thoughts to get you started.

Why grow in retirement?

“Why” is your reason—it’s your driving purpose. So, let’s say you want to work on becoming calmer and more centered. You want to be a person with less stress and anxiety, who has more inner peace and is therefore able to have more patience and compassion when engaging with other people. That sounds like a worthwhile retirement goal.

How can you grow in retirement?

So next, you look at “how”—what are some ways you could pursue that purpose? You could start by Googling about inner peace or reading some self-help books. You could ask for help from a wise friend, professional life coach or spiritual leader. You could engage in new habits, like starting your day with a walk in the woods or learning how to meditate.

What will growth in retirement look like?

After you’ve thought about your “why” and some of the ways to get there, you may land on “what” next steps to take. It might be a matter of trying multiple things, and some of them might cross the line between the technical and emotional aspects of money.

For example, if your “why” is the desire to start a business working with animals, and your “how” is a home services company that offers pet grooming, your “what” might involve a significant financial investment. You will need to carefully consider the trade-offs between your desire for personal growth (an emotional consideration) and the amount of capital that you can comfortably afford to put at risk as a retiree (a technical question).

Where do you stand on the issue of growth? Do you already know your purpose and how to go about it, or is this something that you need to think about more? We find it useful to quantify where you stand today and where you’d like to be a year into the future. Then, you can pinpoint some of the specific changes and next steps that will be needed to get there and write out a plan of action.

Here’s a quick exercise that you may find helpful:

  1. Write down your current satisfaction with your personal growth on a scale of 1 to 10
  2. Now write down what you would like that score to be one year from now
  3. Finally, write down the top three things you can do to raise your score

Personal growth is a journey that ideally never ends, so our advice is to savor each step of the way.


Continue to explore each element of retirement success:

  1. Work
  2. Family
  3. Home
  4. Growth
  5. Leisure
  6. Social
  7. Giving
  8. Money
  9. Aging
  10. Health


Charlie Jordan, CPA, CFP, CeFT

Charlie Jordan, CPA, CFP, CeFT

Partner, Wealth Advisor

Charlie is a Partner, Wealth Advisor in our Atlanta office. Previously, he led the Retiring Well Practice Management group at legacy firm Brightworth. Charlie focuses on helping clients think differently about retirement, integrating the technical and personal sides of money. Charlie is a CPA, CFP® practitioner and Certified Financial Transitionist (CeFT). He is a graduate of the University of Florida and received a Master in Accountancy from Kennesaw State University.


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