When a person finally reaches that time in life when they are able to retire it should be a happy time with the expectation to do all those things they were unable to do while working long hours. There is plenty of time available to take those long vacations previously dreamed of and spend some of that money that has been piling up in a savings account for use during retirement years.
Once a person reaches the age of 65 it is typical to feel more relaxed and happy. This period of happiness typically lasts until the age of 85. According to a MONEY magazine survey almost half of the people surveyed reporting feeling happier than they had expected to in retirement and less than 10 percent felt disappointed.
One of contributory factors to a person’s happiness in their retirement years is financial security. Maintaining health and fitness are also extremely important. Financial security and good health are the obvious factors in enjoying retirement but there are others that are less obvious but still important.
The following secrets to retirement happiness will help people get the most out of their retirement years:
- Create a Predictable Paycheck
There is little doubt that the more money you have saved for retirement the happier you will be once you do stop working. According to financial planner and author Wes Moss the happiest retired people had the highest net worth. He conducted a survey of 1400 people who had retired across 46 states and results showed that despite having a good-sized nest egg the boost to a person’s mind slowed down once $550,000 was amassed.
- Stay Working if Desired
For the most part those people who choose to continue to work after the age of 65, either full time or part time, are happier than those that opt to retire at 65. The important point to note here is that this is only true for those who have a choice. For anyone forced to work due to financial necessity the level of happiness drops considerably.
There are other benefits than money to working beyond retirement age. Keeping active both physically and mentally is a huge benefit, as is maintaining social interactions with co-workers. For some retirees giving up work entirely can be a mistake as they find their level of activity decreasing and loneliness creeps in.
- Develop Four Hobbies or Interests
The busier a person is during their retirement years the happier they seem to be. It can be quite a shock to go from working 40 plus hours a week to suddenly having every hour of the day available to do as they please. For some it is exciting and for others it is confusing, but when a person has hobbies and interests to pursue. According to Wes Moss 3 to 4 hobbies or interests provides retirees with the highest level of happiness, and retirees with only 1 or 2 hobbies were not anywhere near as happy. The happiest retirees tended to have really busy lifestyles.
It’s not just enough to have hobbies. At least one of those hobbies needs to be social in nature. The top choices of happy retirees are golf, travel and volunteering. For those who chose solitary interests such as reading, writing, fishing and hunting the level of happiness was much lower. This should come as no surprise considering that people over 65 gain a lot of enjoyment out of socializing.
- Rent, Don’t Own a Home
While it is the expected norm to own a home when a person reaches their later years owning a home can become more of a problem than a joy. Houses require constant maintenance and become an anchor more than an asset. Once a person reaches their 80’s renting is likely to be a better choice. Renting allows a person to live in comfort without facing the expense of repairs and maintenance, thereby enjoying a less stressful life.
- Keep Children at a Distance
Once a person no longer has demands on their time their close relationships can impact how they feel on a day to day basis. Married couples who are both retired are more satisfied with their lives than single retirees, but this is largely dependent upon how well they get along. Being constantly in each other’s company can be a good thing but in some relationships it can be a source of unhappiness.
While at retirement age a couple can expect their children to have grown up and moved out of the family home, if they live less than 10 miles away it can cause issues. While the reason for this is not clear it could be that children see their parents’ retirement as an opportunity to take advantage of them as babysitters.