Retire to Happiness: Tips to Thrive in the Next Chapter of LifeSubmitted by Compass Wealth Management LLC on September 22nd, 2016
Here’s a thought: retirement doesn’t mean the end. It doesn’t mean an end of self-importance or purpose - it just means a new chapter—a paradigm shift of what life is beyond long days and meetings and bosses. Unless you own your own business, and even then, you are not your business. You’re not solely defined by the question, “What do you do?” But, it doesn’t mean you should stop refining that answer once you're in retirement.
A quarter of retirees actually think life in retirement is worse than it was before they retired. Don’t be one of those people. Let your golden years shine when you set out a vision of what you want life in retirement to be.
Healthy finances. Because you won’t be working full time in retirement, you won’t have that steady paycheck to count on for income. Your state of finances plays a critical part in the decision of when to retire. In fact, in a study conducted by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, 51% of people say they will never fully enter into retirement due to finances.
Having a healthy portfolio and steady finances are something you’ll want to have set-up well in advance of your retirement party. However, it’s never too late to set your finances straight by re-evaluating your portfolio, investment strategy, and monthly budget. Set up an initial strategy session with your trusted financial advisor and then maintain regular contact so there are no financial surprises that could negatively impact your life in retirement. Focus on figuring how much you can realistically spend out of monthly income given Social Security, pension, 401(k), and other income sources. Work with your advisor to determine which accounts you’ll dip into first to avoid negative tax consequences.
Transition time. Frankly the idea of retirement at age 65 is a bit antiquated. President Roosevelt signed Social Security into law in 1935 and established 65 as the retirement age. This worked for the American worker at that time when people didn’t live as long; the average life expectancy for men was 58 and was 62 for women, which compares with the average life expectancy of 79 in 2016. This was also a time when most companies guaranteed employees a pension upon retirement - a rarity today. For some people, going from full-time work to full-on retirement doesn’t make economic or emotional sense. Consider trying out new endeavors before you actually retire. It may not be the 9-to-5 activities you did for 43 years, but try to find something that can provide you with self-worth and continuous learning.
Family and friends. According to the United States of Aging Survey, connectedness with family and friends outweighed financial-based concerns for seniors in relation to the sense of fulfillment. Your relationships are an investment that won’t offer a return financially but will be invaluable in terms of happiness, kindness, and care. Strong personal connectivity is the best weapon against loneliness.
Communication counts. If you have a partner—husband, wife, lifelong roommate—include them in your planning. Clearly outline your goals, wants, needs, and wishes together to best determine how to move forward in retirement. Structuring time in retirement also applies to time spent with your significant other. You’re both going to have a lot more time around one another...and that can drive some couples bonkers. Consider a schedule where some nights are spent with other friends or family members, either individually or together.
A 2013 Fidelity study found that 40% of couples didn’t align on the expected lifestyle they would have in retirement. This is why another important discussion should be held on where you want to live. After leaving your full-time job there may be nothing keeping you in particular place. Take each other’s retirements expectations and activities, as well as collective finances, into consideration. Maybe a move some place warmer (snowbirds!) or to a home with a smaller yard, or to a place with lots of other senior citizens, or to another (cheaper) country might make sense. But before any move, we recommend giving it a (temporary!) try before making a permanent commitment.
Health habits. In addition to strong social relationships, physical health is incredibly important in later life. “Good health” was picked as a top key to happiness in retirement by over 3,300 pre-retirees and seniors in a survey conducted by Age Wave and Merrill Lynch. Regular exercise, sleep, and a healthy diet can mitigate chances for sickness or falls, as well as provide for quicker recoveries.
Time management. It’s easy to assume that you’ll have more “free time” in retirement than when you were working full-time. While more free time sounds like a glorious thing, it’s important that those newly free hours are well spent. One telling study based in Taiwan found that how free time is managed—not how much actual free time one has--was correlated with a higher quality of life. Using free time well means organizing activities that align with your personal goals and priorities on a weekly or daily schedule.
*This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a representation by us of a specific investment or the purchase or sale of any securities. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. This material was developed and produced by Advisor Websites to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. Copyright 2014-2016 Advisor Websites.