Research shows that most of the ingredients required for a happy retirement can be lumped into six broad categories: Health, Connection, Purpose, Growth, Play and Money.
We all know that eating right and exercising is good for our bodies, our brains, and our souls. And as most good things in life, it’s always easier said than done. Although, most of us don’t have to make radical dietary changes or spend hours per day in the gym. All we must do is pay a little bit more attention to what we put in our mouths and stay active. Small changes can make a big difference in boosting our health and happiness over time. Another overlooked benefit is drastically cutting down on doctor visits and health care costs, which continue to rise every year at an alarming rate.
For many of us, this is the most important item on the list. Strong and positive relationships yield happiness where poor/negative relationships yield unhappiness. People with good relationships and a real connection with coworkers often enjoy their jobs more. On the other hand, people sometimes put so much energy into their work, they neglect and damage relationships with others, especially at home. This is a common source of profound regret for many people. No matter how much love we have for someone, relationships take effort. Retirement brings the opportunity to reconnect with children, parents, siblings, friends, and of course a spouse.
Tony Robbins (and many others) once said, “if you’re not growing, you’re dying.” This adage applies to all of our lives.
There is a unique enthusiasm that comes from “getting into” something. Finding a passion can be hard for some people because they fear that self-discovery may be too intense. But, there are examples of less “deep” forms of growth that can boost happiness levels - like spending time on your vegetable garden. Just ask yourself, is there anything you’ve wanted to try?
One day you have a job to do. People expect you to show up at a certain time and do certain things. You feel needed. Then you retire and when your alarm clock goes off or not, far fewer people expect far fewer things from you. This void can feel like an abyss.
It’s no wonder why many people have a hard time staying retired. They’re bored or lack purpose and start to feel irrelevant. The more one feels a sense of purpose and relevance about what they will do once they leave their job, the easier the transition. We always recommend finding your purpose before retirement, not after.
What experiences do you find fun? We tend to cherish memories that almost always involve people we care about and doing something fun. Just getting together with friends or family can boost happiness levels. Sitting on the couch and watching cable news or Netflix does not.
And finally, what many of us believe is the root of a successful retirement: money. Research shows that once a level of basic needs is satisfied, additional funds do not boost happiness levels. More money can help pay for some of the items discussed above, but money alone doesn’t buy happiness. In fact, as any financial planner knows, money is often the source of profound stress and unhappiness. The key to minimizing money as a source of stress is to develop a healthy relationship with it. By understanding what it truly means to you and how you can use it to benefit you and the people or causes around you.
For us, financial planning is a fulfilling line of work and a personal passion. We can’t make someone physically healthy, give them a sense of relevance, assign a hobby to them, or make assets appear from thin air, but we can boost an awareness of the issues and encourage them to think about and talk about their issues. We believe that this may be the most valuable assistance we can provide to my clients.
Registered associates of Continuum Consulting Group are registered representatives of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker-dealer (Member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Continuum Consulting Group is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. CRN-2842400-112219