By Barry LaValley
As the saying goes, money can’t buy happiness. So a happy retirement – while made possible through financial planning – doesn’t materialize just because there’s enough money set aside.
Your employees probably have no idea how to lay the groundwork for a successful retirement. Reminding them that happiness comes from other elements in their life can jumpstart the thought process. And encouraging them to prepare, plan and strategize in those areas is critical.
Share with your employees what sets happy retirees apart from others. Here are the ten secrets happy retirees have:
- A sense of purpose. They feel that they can continue to contribute to their family and their community, and they participate in activities that support their personal values. They feel connected to the world and a form of spirituality. They understand that their existence means something.
- Continuing work. This doesn’t mean they go back to the same dull desk job they had before retirement. They don’t even have to be paid! The work can be volunteering, going back to school or simply working part-time at something they like to do. The key is to keep the mind active.
- Valued relationships. In our later years, social networks, family and friends take on increased importance. We need people in our lives to share and enjoy our activities; we also have the need to feel that “someone cares.” In general, the healthier our social and personal networks and relationships are, the happier we will be.
- A positive attitude. Many happy retirees try to find the bright side in life. It doesn’t mean that things don’t get them down, but they recognize that life is more enjoyable if you learn to adapt to change.
- Things to do. While it is okay in retirement to have days where you accomplish nothing, happy retirees report spending time on meaningful, fulfilling activities. Meaningful activities are those pursuits that make them feel “relevant” and engaged in life.
- Balance. It would be easy to do the same few things over and over, but happy retirees tend to have many interests and do a lot of different things over the course of a week. For example, they may love golf but golf once or twice a week rather than seven days a week.
- A more minimal, simple life. A simple life often involves downsizing from a larger home to a more manageable condo or apartment, having no debts and generally taking as much stress out of their lives as possible. The goal is to stop worrying about things they can’t control and to get rid of the annoyances that they can control.
- Healthy aging practices. Healthy aging is both physical and mental, and happy retirees try to keep healthy within their physical abilities. They fight through the appeal of giving in to chronic conditions by increasing the things they can control in their health to feel as good as possible.
- Altruistic attitudes. Many happy retirees believe that their satisfaction is enhanced when they are giving of themselves. In fact, research tells us that we feel better when we are willing to share. Creating happiness for others provides us with happiness also!
- A sense that time is valuable. Time can be fleeting. It can be critically important to live in the moment and enjoy as many moments as possible.
Contact your HUB advisor for ongoing guidance on all aspects of retirement planning.
Barry LaValley is President of The Retirement Lifestyle Center and a leading educator on retirement issues faced by aging boomers.