If you are getting close to your retirement and are trying to think of ways of maximizing your golden years, your financial situation certainly plays a large role.
That being said, there are a lot more things to life – and retirement – than money. While many people equate retirement planning with a 401(k) or saving money for the future, you will be missing out on a major part of the picture if all your concerns have to do with money!
A happy retirement, and life for that matter, is always going to be contingent on a fairly large number of factors. So, once you have your dream retirement plan in place in terms of your financial future, make sure that you also spend a good amount of time thinking about the many non-financial aspects of a successful and enjoyable retirement. So, now is the time to look at the stories and statistics regarding happy and successful retirements so that you can integrate similar plans into your future.
Some of the very happiest retirees have nothing in common other than the values they have applied to their golden years.
If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered!
The happiest retirees go back to work
If you are looking forward to sitting back and doing close to nothing during your retirement, you may want to reconsider your plan. Many think that they work their entire adult loves for the incredible privilege of really getting to enjoy relaxation in retirement, but that approach can actually end up aging you faster.
It may be hard to believe, but numerous studies have shown that people who continue to either work or volunteer – even if it is just on a part-time basis – past the age of 65 are far happier and healthier than their fully retired peers.
The main focus in this factor is that the word voluntary. While the act of working can be incredibly energizing and restorative for retired individuals, the need to work for financial reasons is not.
The primary reasons why is because the ideal “job” for a retiree includes tasks such as physical activity, social interactions and a sense of purpose are all important things to maintaining strong mental, physical and emotional health. Just like life before retirement, these things should be help with the utmost importance.
The happiest retirees maintain relationships
This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock, but retirees who are able to maintain happy and healthy romantic and platonic relationships are reportedly much happier than their lonelier counterparts.
In fact, when it comes to retirees with a spouse, those who rate their romantic relationships to have a good or great relationship are also shown to be happier and healthier.
The fact of the matter is is that when people retire, an unfortunate side-effect of that is that a lot of the built-in social networks that are created in professional life can fall by the wayside. While it may sometimes seem like a nuisance to spend time with your coworkers and colleagues, or spend a weekend night to go to a company holiday party, these kinds of social interactions are very important to our mental and emotional health.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t have highly beneficial relationships in retirement! These new interactions can be with your children or their children, with your new neighbors, with members of cubs or religious communities you belong to. This interaction can even come from the people you see on a regular basis like the nice young man who works at the café down the street.
It is important to remain social and extroverted during your retirement. Not only will these efforts and interactions make you a happier person, recent studies also suggest that loneliness can result in a much higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other age-related forms of dementia.
While alone time is also healthy and helpful, you want to make sure that you are not spending every night of your life inside, alone, watching the television.
The happiest retirees are active and healthy
Some of the top places to retire in the United States include cities like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Fort Myers, Florida, and San Diego, California.
While all three of these cities are undeniably very different, they do hold a few crucial things in similarity. The most important, perhaps, is that because these three places enjoy hundreds of years of sunshine and great weather all year round, they are perfect places to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.
The importance of your physical health and level of activity simply cannot be overstated when discussing ways to ensure living a happy life during retirement. In fact, one recent study has stated that having good health even outranks the importance of financial security when it comes to ensuring a happy retirement. How crazy is that?
The truth is, however, your physical health and your financial well-being are two things that are dramatically intertwined.
The reason why health is both a financial and non-financial aspect of life is because the healthier you live, the more likely you are going to avoid major financial stresses due to costly visits to see your primary care doctor, or even worse the emergency room.
Just as those three aforementioned cities indicated, low-impact activities like going on long and restorative walks on the beach or spending a day out on the links and playing 18-holes can have an incredible impact on your quality of life.
Beyond that, it is crucial that you take care to eat well, get enough exercise and continue to expand your mind and keep learning to make sure that both your mental and physical health are as good as they can be as you begin your retirement.
The happiest retirees find ways to stay busy
We’ve already gone over the importance and unquestionable value of holding on to some kind of job and professional responsibility during your retirement, but there are other ways to make sure that you remain active and excited about your life.
Many people forget to ask themselves how they are going to exactly spend their retirement years. While sitting back and enjoying the freedom may sound really nice at first, it will soon become quite boring and downright unhealthy to boot.
Of course things like extravagant trips and memberships to clubs and the like are something to consider when ti comes to your financial security, there are other much less expensive ways to stay busy and young!
Think about it, for decades now you have been spending the vast majority of your time working and – quite possible – raising your children. Once you hit retirement, that massive time commitment that you have grown accustomed to over the years will essentially disappear. So, how do you plan to fill your days?
Of course staying active and hanging out with friends and family is very important as we have mentioned, there are many other ways to bide the time as well.
Learning a new skill, like how to cook beautiful meals, how to paint, how to woodwork, and many other tasks that involve both your body and mind are a great idea. Not only does it keep your hands busy, it can also fill you with a great sense of passion, determination and accomplishment.
Studies show that the happiest retirees are the ones that make sure to keep themselves busy. In fact, one recent study actually showed that the very happiest of retirees tend to spend their time engaging in three to four regularly scheduled activities. The same study showed that the busiest retirees are also the happiest. Perhaps the reason why is because having a busy and productive schedule can actually allow you to enjoy the downtime that you have rather than leave you thinking longingly about the past. Just like, retirement is about making the most out of your time. Making the most out of your relaxation time and your free time is certainly a fantastic way to encourage a happy and healthy life.
So, where do you go from here? Whether you are decades away from your retirement, or just a few months, it is never too late to start considering the many factors that relate to happiness in your retirement.
Make sure to pick a location that you can be free to continue the things you love to do and ideally learn new things. Be open to new experiences and spending time with new and exciting people.
Retirement may seem like a time to look back on the past, but what it really is a time to look excitedly towards the future. You have so much more to learn, see and do in your retirement. While your financial security is certainly an important part of all of it, hopefully this quick breakdown has urged you to also consider the other very important aspects to a happy and healthy retirement.