Think having a nice big nest egg is the key to happiness in retirement? While financial security is obviously wonderful, it’s only part of what leads to true happiness in the “third stage” of life. An article published in U.S. News & World Report shared “9 Secrets of Retirement Happiness” that look beyond a healthy retirement income. From prioritizing wellness, to fostering connections, to embracing the freedom to try new things, these tips can help you to cultivate happiness in your retirement years.
You’ve likely spent decades preparing for the financial side of retirement—but have you dedicated the same time and focus to the other factors that can lead to your happily ever after? If not, our Live Happier ® Guide is a great way to start!
1. Choose your retirement date. Take control and make this decision for yourself, before the decision is made for you. People who proactively choose when to retire tend to be happier than those who are pushed into retirement by layoffs or early retirement packages. But if the latter should happen—if you’re forced to retire before you’re either financially or emotionally ready—take back control with either a part-time job, a “second act,” or satisfying volunteer work.
2. Create a spending plan. Being financially ready to retire isn’t just about accumulating income; it’s about knowing how to spend it. If you have a plan for how you’ll spend your retirement income over time, you’ll feel comfortable knowing that you’re not overspending—and you’ll be able to fully enjoy the fruits of your labor without being overly frugal.
3. Maintain your health. A full time job often leaves little time for self care. One of the major bonuses of retirement is having more time to prioritize healthy living. From preparing nutritious meals to exercising daily, a healthy retirement routine can help you uncover the best version of yourself. If your busy life caused you to neglect your health, retirement is your chance to hit the reset button and make wellness a way of life.
4. Invest in key relationships. Whether you and your spouse or partner retire together or separately, it’s a good idea to plan out what your “retirement relationship” will look like. Having more time to spend together is a great thing. But constant togetherness—after decades of having your own routines and schedules—can add stress to any couple’s relationship. Make sure you each have the freedom to pursue your own passions, in addition to embracing your time together.
5. Cultivate friendships. Jumping out of your career and into retirement can feel isolating and strange, especially if your social circle has revolved around your job. Make socializing a high priority as you move toward retirement. Find people who share your passions and get involved with groups or activities that will help you to stay connected. Connections with friends—new and old—are a key factor in your happiness later in life.
6. Discover passions. If work or caring for your family has been your only endeavor for too long, take time to rediscover yourself. You’re about to enter the “you” chapter—which means it’s time to think about how you want to spend your days. It’s time to do more of what you love. Think about hobbies and forgotten interests you’d like to pick up again, or surprise yourself and try something totally new!
7. Keep learning. If you’re used to having deadlines, goals, and challenges at work, it can feel strange to have that suddenly stop in retirement. But your drive to achieve doesn’t have to stop—it can just be redirected. You can continue to challenge yourself in retirement by learning a new activity or skill, taking a class, devoting your energy to a charitable cause, or even consulting part time.
8. Focus on the legacy you want to leave. At all ages and stages—including the retirement years—it’s important to feel that life has deeper meaning. Choosing to spend time volunteering, mentoring, and giving back to your community can significantly up your happiness quotient. It’s a chance to leave a legacy to future generations and to feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.
9. Make sure you’re ready. How will you really know when you’re ready to retire? One way to find out is to take a sabbatical—a few months away from the working world—to see if it feels right. Maybe you’ll be restless to return to your job, or maybe you’ll find that you’re ready and eager to move on to full retirement. Which loops us right back to tip #1: choose your retirement date. When you feel ready to take control and make that choice, it’s a well-earned achievement and truly something to celebrate.
Want a more detailed roadmap to your retirement happy place? We’ve got you covered. Download the Live Happier Guide today for helpful tips and guidance on your search for the ideal community for your next—and best—chapter.