Retirement planning is about saving, there’s no denying it. Preparing for your post-work life involves creating an investment plan, minimizing taxes, and planning for health care costs. But your actual retirement is not just about your finances.
“Money isn’t everything” is a refrain here at Wealth Legacy Institute. There are a number of things that contribute to success in retirement, and most of them are not monetary. Our most successful clients—the ones who say they’re living the retirement of their dreams—have a few things in common.
One, they took retirement planning seriously. Instead of putting it off like so many of us do, they started saving early and consistently. Two, they looked at the big picture. They moved beyond financial rate of return goals, and incorporated lifestyle and personal goals for retirement.
Finally, they focused on actively enriching their lives through day-to-day pleasures that add fun and joy, as well as through meaningful pursuits that offer a deeper fulfillment.
Things That Will Enrich Your Life In Retirement
If you’re wondering how to enrich your life in retirement, you’re not alone. Consider the following “secrets” to a happy retirement:
Nurture and Build Relationships
Many newly retired folks soon learn that what they actually need to be happy is not a beach home or an enormous income—it’s a community of friends to enjoy their time with. Nurturing and building healthy relationships are essential to a happy, successful retirement.
Friendship and socializing is good for both your mental and physical health. It could even help you live longer! If your social circles could use a little rebuilding, don’t worry! It’s totally natural as you get older. Consider all your relationship circles when looking for social connections.
What’s Your Purpose
Is your purpose helping others? Is it discovering new places? Or perhaps looking inward and awakening your spiritual self? When you’re engulfed in your career or busy raising children (or both), it can be hard to find time to slow down, reflect, and take time for yourself.
But retirement is a great time to dive deep into what really moves you—and there’s a good chance doing so will lead to a happier and more fulfilling life.
Focus on Your Health
Some of us are natural athletes. Others, not so much. Whether you’re a marathon runner, a couch potato, or something in between—making a concerted effort to exercise in retirement will do you a world of good. There are many ways exercise can enrich your life in retirement:
- Opens you up to new social connections
- Keeps you looking and feeling young longer
- Could save you money on health care
- Keeps disease and chronic pain at bay
Quick Checklist for a Happy Life in Retirement
Beyond these three “pillars” to a happy retirement, there are a number of qualities, activities, and attitudes you may not have thought about that can enrich your life in your later years:
- Rest and relaxation
- Living in the present
- Positive thinking
- Sense of autonomy
- Breath work
- Learning new skills
- More play
- Connection to nature
Think about the list above. Which things resonate with you or spark curiosity? You may want to explore them further.
Toxic Factors to Avoid in Retirement
The other side of the coin when it comes to enriching your life in retirement is avoiding negative or even toxic influences in your life. Bad behaviors, damaging thought patterns, and even people can keep you from being happy in retirement.
Boredom can strike unexpectedly, especially newly retired folks. Especially if your identity has become inextricably tied to your job, it can be challenging to find new ways to occupy your newly found time. For inspiration, here’s a list of 45 fun things to do in retirement.
Everyone has their own idea of a perfect retirement. Regardless of how much money you have stashed away, the right retirement lifestyle for you may not look like your neighbors’, your friends’, or what you’ve read about in magazines. So save yourself the heartache and don’t compare yourself to others—it’s a sure fire way to steal your happiness.
Avoiding Your Feelings
Lack of communication with friends, family, or your partner can lead to misunderstandings, feelings of resentment, and a negative impact on your overall happiness. We’re not saying you have to bring up every little thing that gets on your nerves—but don’t be afraid to talk about important things that are making you unhappy.
And there’s no reason to wait until retirement, either. If you’re preparing for retirement, there are some important conversations you should have with your partner, sooner than later.
Gambling or Other Addictions
You may have put up with a spouse’s gambling when you had two incomes, and now with a fixed income it seems more pronounced. Excessive drinking can also be easier to ignore when there are more work or social distractions. The sooner you address destructive habits in your life (whether yours or someone else’s) the sooner you can take back control of your happiness.
Other related behaviors that could potentially derail your path to happiness in retirement to look out for include:
- Playing the victim
- Blaming others
- Lack of direction
- People pleasing
- Toxic relationships
- Dwelling on the past
- Worrying about the future
Success in Retirement is Possible, And It’s Up to You
We encourage you to expand upon both of these lists, or better yet make a checklist of your own. Be honest with yourself! Then think about how you can eliminate harmful aspects of your life by replacing them with something more enriching.
As important as your retirement investment plan is—in the end, money provides no guarantee of retirement happiness. The right financial advisor will help you plan for your financial future, and also consider how it plays into the bigger picture. But it’s up to each individual to define, and create, their own happiness and sense of fulfillment.
To become a successful retiree, you need a solid game plan and direction that makes you excited about living this next stage of your life. Start by reading Retirement Secrets - order the book now!