NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) -
When it comes to the money part of retirement -- the "how you'll pay for it" part -- you have a pretty good grasp of the challenges: the cost of health care, the riddles of a portfolio, the shaky math of Social Security.
But there's another, deeper retirement issue to reckon with -- the part about your life.
When you have crossed the career finish line, how do you give your spirit a second wind? When you have no job to go to and no kids left in the house, where do you find purpose and satisfaction? What, in other words, have you retired for?
For these five retired couples, life is sweet.
The five couples you'll meet on the following pages have already successfully tackled the big what-for question. They are indulging passions, forging new careers, giving back to others.
Some of them had meticulously planned for this time of life, knowing that interests cultivated early would deepen over time. Others, well, maybe it looks like they just backed into a good thing, but that's not how it happened. They kept themselves open to fresh ideas, and when inspiration arrived, they embraced it.
The key message is that a retirement well lived is not just about getting the money right but also about things money can't buy: engagement, activity and meaning. Without them you'll be running blind in the decades after work.
Find them, though, and you'll easily understand why one 61-year-old retiree swears, "Life just doesn't get any better than this."
The risky retirement of Hilda and Earl Jones. Read their story. »»
Read more of MONEY's special report: The Dream Retirement
Lee Eisenberg is the author of "The Number: A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life," to be published by Free Press in January 2006.