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The 9 Traits of a Happy Retirement

Listen to Best in Wealth Podcast Episode 230

What makes for a happy retirement? 

According to Merrill Lynch, “Only 51% of 25–34 year old's say that they often feel happy compared to 76% of people ages 65–74.” So what makes them happy? 

An article entitled “Why 72% of Retirees Are Happy” talks about three financial traits and six non-financial traits of happy retirees. What are these 9 traits? Find out what they are—and if you are implementing them—in this episode of Best in Wealth. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:05] What things make you happy?
  • [5:19] 3 financial traits that make for a happy retirement
  • [8:44] 6 non-financial traits of happy retirees
  • [17:07] Why planning your retirement is important

3 financial traits that make for a happy retirement

Fritz from The Retirement Manifesto grabbed his information from a book called “What the Happiest Retirees Know: 10 Habits for a Healthy, Secure, and Joyful Life.” What are the three traits?

  • Having at least $500,000 in liquid assets: The book must be a bit older because most people want at least $1 million of liquid assets. Most should strive for $2 million or more, depending on your retirement plan. Fill in the blank: What should your number be?
  • Having your mortgage paid off: I work with countless retirees. This definitely makes for a happier retiree. It is a large burden lifted off your shoulders. But, if you refinanced at a low rate, it might not be in your best interest to pay off your mortgage immediately. Why? You could receive a higher interest rate by putting that money in a money market or high-yield savings account.
  • Having multiple streams of income: If you have liquid assets, it counts as an income stream. Social security is another source. Perhaps you have a pension. What about annuities or rental income? Multiple income streams are imperative.

What do you think of this list? 

6 non-financial traits of happy retirees

What non-financial traits will make you happier in retirement? 

  1. Curiosity: Those who have a variety of hobbies and interests tend to be happier. It keeps you busy. Curiosity leads you to try new things. 
  2. Purpose: According to “What the Happiest Retirees Know,” 97% of retirees with a strong sense of purpose were generally happy compared with 76% without that same sense. You have to figure out what your purpose in retirement is. What is near and dear to you?
  3. Social connections: Humans need relationships. Retirees who are not married are 4.5x more likely to be unhappy. If you are single, you need to build relationships—and many of them. Put yourself out there and try new things to meet people. The number of friends a retiree has is more correlated with happiness than the amount of money they have. 
  4. Retiring at your planned time: Boston College found that those who retired voluntarily expressed much higher levels of well-being than those who were forced to retire. They may not have completed financial or psychological preparations for retirement, leading to lower well-being. I see this happen often. Health can get in the way. Downsizing can force an early retirement. That is why we need to get you financially free as quickly as possible. 
  5. Personal health: A large contributor to happiness is your health. Retirees who take care of themselves and maintain a healthy lifestyle are generally happier than those who do not. There are many low-cost forms of exercise such as walking, swimming, biking, and hiking. Do not wait until you retire to get healthy. If you do not build good habits now, you will not during retirement either. 
  6. Planning for a happy retirement: You need to plan every phase of your retirement. Those who are regretful spent the least amount of time planning their retirement. Maybe they did not have enough money to retire. 

If you are stressed about planning your retirement, go to FortressPlanningGroup.com and schedule a meeting with me today. 

Resources Mentioned

Connect With Scott Wellens

Podcast Disclaimer:

The Best In Wealth Podcast is hosted by Scott Wellens. Scott Wellens is the principal at Fortress Planning Group. Fortress Planning Group is a registered investment advisory firm regulated by the Securities Act of Wisconsin in accordance and compliance with securities laws and regulations. Fortress Planning Group does not render or offer to render personalized investment or tax advice through the Best In Wealth Podcast. The information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, tax, investment or legal advice.