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Why Do So Many People Die Soon After Retirement?

In a recent podcast my friend Dan Miller talked about retirement and what that means for most people.

I wanted to sum up a few points that are very applicable to my coaching clients, but the link is below if you like to listen to the entire thing.

  • He encourages people to have a 25 year plan that includes life beyond retirement.
  • Build a life with courage and not one of ease.
  • Most retirees say they want a life that's stress free and predictable. Most of the time that just turns into a life that's boring.
  • If you want a future that doesn't require any type of courage, you'll start to die.
  • By desiring a life of ease you're telling your body, mind, and spirit that they really aren't needed anymore, and they start to deteriorate. You've essentially given yourself a death sentence.
  • Despite good health, good finances so many people die a few years into retirement.
  • Many retirees suddenly find themselves with no friends, no money, and no purpose. You'll have a tough time getting up in the morning if those three things are absent.
  • And again...No matter how old you are, be planning the next 25 years.

Boozing-Firemen-Got-Suspended

The correlation between retirement and sudden death seems to be higher in the career paths I work with. Folks in high stress/high risk occupations seldom adjust well to a life of ease after years of adrenaline loading and uniformed service.

That's where I come in. I help those folks find second careers or retirement options that feed their life of courage.

Here's the link to Dan's podcast. I highly recommend it. It's one of the few that I listen to every week. Check into the 14 minute point for the section on retirement.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, "Would you like to know more?"

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Comment by Dr. David W. Powers on October 28, 2016 at 1:00pm

Thanks for the comment Mike! I'm glad your dad is still out kicking rocks instead of picking them out.

I do have another Teespring coming soon...something with a tactical gnome.

Comment by Mike Copelin on October 27, 2016 at 11:52am

I'm late to the party, but can't help but appreciate this blog post.  What you are doing with these retirees is exactly what the doctor ordered (Dr.Powers, that is).  My father in law retired from Dupont Plant in Old Hickory, TN a few years back and in talking to him, he relayed all the friends he had that died just after retirement.  It was at least 6 people and he sounded like was accepting his own fate.  He is a veteran, has always worked out on regular basis, and extremely active.  I encouraged him to start planning his days for accomplishments instead of picking out head stones. That was a few years back and he is still active, but just shows the expectation many have at retirement. 

Not related, but have you done any Teespring campaigns lately?  I saw one of yours and liked it. 


Group Leader
Comment by Jen McDonough "The Iron Jen" on September 7, 2016 at 8:20pm

LOL Thanks David. 

Your picture was enticing for sure!! We just did a simulated car fire training tonight for our fire department - this stuff never gets old. Thank you!

Comment by Dr. David W. Powers on September 7, 2016 at 6:24pm

Thanks for the awesome comments!

Especially you Jen with your shiny new National Registry patch!


Group Leader
Comment by Jen McDonough "The Iron Jen" on September 7, 2016 at 7:16am

It is heartbreaking to see folks who have woven their jobs as such a part of their identify work so hard and then not enjoy the fruits of the labors, pursue their passions, and continuously seek out their best lives. 


Group Leader
Comment by Dan Miller on September 7, 2016 at 7:10am

Thanks for the clear points on this.  It so sad to see active people slow down to a crawl, start having massive physical problems and anticipate their death - just because they "retired."  So predictable and so unnecessary.  Too many people find on retiring that they have:

  • No friends
  • No money
  • No purpose

Any of those can be addressed - but if left unattended, that person has told their body, mind and spirit - it's time to die.


Group Leader
Comment by Lee Flint on September 6, 2016 at 10:47pm
Thanks for the thought provoking post. I think high achievement individuals die soon after retirement for a variety of reasons. Some include 1) choices made to sacrifice investments in personal health and fitness to work, 2) poor diet, 3) delayed medical procedures/exams due to limited time availability (and poor planning), 4) lack of adequate post-retirement planning, 5) relationship atrophy due to mis-placed priorities earlier in life, 6) short-term successes without long-term consideration. Coaching can work wonders in almost all these areas. For military retirees, I recommend at least 90 days of personal time after the last day of service (aka "terminal leave") to work through these concepts.

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