You want to have a better retirement. But how do you get there? You could spend hours researching the latest science behind happiness, personal finance and investment theory, and health research. Or you can take a few minutes to watch the best TED Talks related to retirement.
With their engaging speakers and easy-to-digest format, even the shortest TED Talks contain insights that can help you grow as a person and refine your knowledge of humanity and the world around us.
These 10 TED Talks can help you feel inspired, be smarter and have a better retirement.
1. 3 Ways to Plan For the (Very) Long Term
Futurist Ari Wallach used to talk to people about planning for the next 10 or 20 years, but recently he’s seen a shift. In his Ted Talk, “3 Ways to Plan For the (Very) Long Term,” he outlines how our society has succumbed to “short-termism,” where planning for the next six months seems like a feat. This failure to think in the long term leads to “sandbag fixes” that might work for now, but don’t really solve problems. Wallach shares his ideas on planning for the next 30 to 50 years and getting comfortable with the fact that we’ll all die at some point.
“Try and look past your own life if you can because it makes you do things just a little bit bigger than you thought were possible.”
Planning your retirement is indeed a long term issue. You need a financial plan for 20-30 years. You also ideally are thinking about your legacy and planning for beyond your own death. Get started now before that long distant future is actually upon you.
- The NewRetirement retirement planner can help you with your long term finances. Set different spending levels for different phases and easily see the impact small changes have on your long term finances.
- Equally important is knowing how to spend your time in retirement. Try writing a retirement manifesto or explore 3 ways to find meaning in life after retirement.
2. The Habits of Happiness
What’s better: a life of happiness or a life of ups and downs so we can appreciate the sweetness when the suffering ends? In his TED Talk, “The Habits of Happiness,” French Biologist-turned-Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can find a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment. Not simply a pleasurable sensation, but a state that pervades and underlies all of the joys and sorrows that life throws at us.
Ricard says the answer lies in training our minds in habits of well-being, just as we train our bodies for fitness.
3. What You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in 10 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s dementia. While we don’t yet have a cure, Neuroscientist Lisa Genova says there are things we can do to prevent or delay those glitches in memory, even if the disease is programmed in our DNA.
She tells you “What You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s.” The answer, Genova says, lies in getting enough sleep, taking care of our cardiovascular health, and improving our neuroplasticity and cognitive reserve. Despite conventional wisdom, that’s not doing crossword puzzles – which is simply accessing information we already know. Instead, neuroplasticity involves learning something new, which creates new synapses in the brain.
That sounds like a good excuse to take a class, read a book, travel to a new location, learn a new language and make new friends.
4. The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship
Divorce is a financial nightmare in retirement. Furthermore, research like this study find that marriage is good for you, and so are long-term relationships. While stressful marriages are detrimental as we age, strong relationships with a partner help in nearly every aspect of life.
In her TED Talk, relationship therapist Esther Perel offers “The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship.” She says sex and desire often fade over time, even among people who continue to love each other. Why is this? Part of it has to do with a shift in the way we think of marriage. For many years, marriage was an economic partnership. Today, we expect economic security, friendship, transcendence, familiarity, surprise, comfort, passion, safety, adventure, mystery, etc.
So are all long-term relationships doomed to watch desire fade? Perel says no, if we can follow Proust’s advice that “mystery is not about traveling to new places, but it’s about looking with new eyes.”
- It may seem obvious, but it is also important to remember to include loved ones — especially spouses — in your retirement planning. A survey by Fidelity Investments found that finances and retirement planning are extremely difficult subjects for married couples. Going through a reliable retirement calculator can be an excellent way to really get into the details with your loved one(s). Just make sure you use a retirement calculator for couples. Here are more reasons it is important for couples to discuss retirement plans.
5. How to Use a Paper Towel
Herman Melville said, “A good laugh is a mighty good thing.” In “How to Use a Paper Towel,” a short and humorous yet informative talk, lawyer Joe Smith demonstrates a foolproof method for drying your hands using not two, three, or four paper towels, but just one single paper towel.
This TED Talk is just about 4½ minutes long, but it’s bound to bring a smile to your face. And hey, it just might help you save the environment and save on your paper goods budget. And, if it inspires you, then you will prove that an older dog can indeed learn a new trick.
6. Saving for Tomorrow, Tomorrow
Economist Shlomo Benartzi tells a story of a crowd of people planning on attending a TED Talk next week. Ask them today whether they will want a banana or a piece of chocolate next week, and an overwhelming majority will choose the banana. But what happens next week? The majority of people choose the chocolate. This is because self-control isn’t a problem in the future, Benartzi says, it’s a problem now. And this is the problem with saving for retirement. We always think we’ll save more later, but when later comes, we end up spending instead.
It’s Benartzi’s goal to use behavioral economics to understand the mistakes we make and turn challenges into solutions. When it comes to saving for retirement today, are you choosing the banana or the chocolate? Learn more in his TED Talk, “Saving for Tomorrow, Tomorrow.”
- It can help to know how much you’ll really need for a secure retirement. Use the NewRetirement retirement planner to get personal, detailed and reliable answers. Getting started is easy and it could be the inspiration you need to save adequately.
7. How to Live to Be 100+
Many people say they want to live to be 100+, but Longevity Coach Dan Buettner says there is a lot of confusion over what it takes to get there. Should we eat meat or tofu? Run marathons or practice yoga? Follow the advice of Oprah or Dr. Oz? To find out, Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and the National Institute on Aging to study Blue Zones, or communities whose elders live with “vim and vigor to a record-setting age.”
Studying these Blue Zones tells us that there are four lifestyle factors that can improve your chances of living well past the century mark. Buettner describes, “How to Live to Be 100+:”
- Live a life where you’re constantly nudged into physical activity.
- Eat a plant-based diet.
- Live in a community that treats older people well.
- Have a purpose or reason for getting out of bed in the morning, whether it’s catching fish to feed your family or spending time with your great grandchildren.
- The downside of living to 100? You need to pay for it. Find out how to plan for a long life! The NewRetirement retirement planner makes it easy.
8. There’s No Shame in Taking Care of Your Mental Health
If you came down with pneumonia, you’d take yourself to the nearest hospital right away. But what if you came down with a bad case of depression? In his TED Talk, entrepreneur Sangu Delle discusses his battle with depression and the (often self-imposed) stigma that surrounds treating our mental, emotional and social well-being as surely as we treat physical maladies. Learn more in, “There’s No Shame in Taking Care of Your Mental Health.”
Since retirement increases your risk of depression by 40%, removing the stigma of taking care of our mental health is even more important in retirement.
9. What Makes a Good Life? Lessons From the Longest Study on Happiness
Do fame and money make us happy? Many people believe they do but Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger says they are mistaken. In his TED Talk, he discusses, “What Makes a Good Life? Lessons From the Longest Study on Happiness.”
Waldinger is the director of a 75-year Harvard study on adult development that has studied 724 men, half from Harvard and the other half from low income neighborhoods of Boston. For the last ¾ of a century, this phenomenal study has followed these men to ask about work, home life, health and happiness, studying their medical records and interviewing family members.
What they’ve found is that happiness is not predicated on fame or fortune, but on good relationships. People who are more isolated than they want to be live shorter lives. In other words, loneliness is toxic. So whether you’re 25, 40 or 60, Waldinger offers suggestions for strengthening relationships with friends and family.
- Want more ideas for a good retirement? Here are 41 tips for happiness, health and wealth in retirement.
10. Prepare For a Good End of Life
Thinking about the end of life often inspires fear and denial. But after helping two friends end their lives well, Entrepreneur Judy MacDonald Johnston says we need to think not only about how to live well, but how to die well. Watch, “Prepare for a Good End of Life.”
With a plan and the right people, our quality of life can remain high, even as our independence and bodily functions slow down. MacDonald Johnston says a plan is not, “I want to die at home,” or “Just shoot me.” You need to decide where you want to be and who you want to be with. You also need an advocate – don’t assume that role will be played by a spouse or child – who will ensure your wishes are carried out.
This TED Talk may deal with things many of us would rather not think about, but planning ahead leaves more room for peace in our final days.
What is YOUR Favorite TED Talk Related to Retirement?
TED is an amazing resource for inspiration. Have you watched a TED Talk that inspired you to think about retirement in a new or different way? Send us an email and let us know about it. We’ll add it to this list!
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