If you want to have a good retirement, you need to figure out what that means to you. Do some life planning for retirement, set goals and create a plan that allows you to achieve exactly what you want. What do most of us want? It is usually pretty simple a: Happy retirement. Healthy retirement. And, a wealthy retirement (or at least one that is affordable).
A happy retirement is no longer really about sitting with your feet up and watching the rest of the world whiz by. Many people now think that retirement is a time for embarking on one of life’s greatest adventures. This is the time to do what you want with the experience-laden good sense to appreciate it.
How to be happy in retirement? Here are 50 retirement tips that can help you have a really good retirement. Make this the best time of your life!
1. Have a Sense of Purpose and Meaning
Make every day meaningful. Oxford University suggests that a meaningful life lessens the effects of aging. And, research from Patrick Hill and Nicholas Turiano found that people who have a sense or purpose or direction in life outlive their peers.
In fact, people with a sense of purpose had a 15 percent lower risk of death, compared with those who said they were more or less aimless. And it didn’t seem to matter when people found their direction. It could be in their 20s, 50s or 70s — even when controlled for other factors that affect longevity like age, gender and emotional well-being.
2. Create the Best Retirement Plan Possible
Most people have lived their lives day to day, month to month, year to year.
However, retirement is the time to have the best plan possible. You want to spend this time of your life doing what you want to do and you want to make sure you have the finances and wherewithal to achieve what is important.
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3. Make Friends with Your Future
Perhaps the best way to plan for retirement is to visualize your future — really think about the details of who you will be, where and why. Being able to imagine now who you will be in the future and what your needs and desires will be at that time is perhaps the most important aspect of planning.
4. Think Health Not Wealth
More than 80% of today’s retirees say health is the most important ingredient for a happy retirement, meaning that the majority value good health even over financial security. According to a Merrill Lynch study, “Americans age 50+ cite health care costs in retirement as their greatest financial concern, regardless of their wealth level. Yet the vast majority of people have not factored health care costs into their retirement planning.”
So, the best retirement plan involves not just your finances but also ways to stay mentally and physically healthy. Gardening, walking, joining a gym, eating healthy are all proven ways to stay physically healthy. Staying vital, having a purpose and challenging yourself mentally are great ways to maintain your mental health.
5. Trade Time for Money
If you can live on a little less than you have been planning, then retirement can be a lot closer than you might have thought possible. Cut expenses dramatically and the time to retire might be tomorrow.
6. Want Health in Retirement? Make Exercise Fun
Try making exercise something you look forward to instead of something you have to do. Instead of walking (trudging) on a treadmill, take walks through the park or go for mini hikes. Still does not appeal to you? Why not listen to music or — better yet — bring a friend along and talk and laugh as you get the heart rate going.
Best of all, there is a bonus to the fun! Research from Cornell Food and Brand Lab found that those who think they are having fun while exercising end up eating less than those who are doing it for exercise.
7. And, If Walking Is Your Exercise, Walk Fast
Many research studies have found that how fast you walk after age 60 is a good gauge of longevity. Apparently your walking speed can predict dementia, shorter life spans and depression.
In one study, published in Neurology, researcher, Dr. Joe Verghese, says: “As a young researcher, I examined hundreds of patients and noticed that if an older person was walking slowly, there was a good chance that his cognitive tests were also abnormal.”
8. Think Income Not Investments
Esteemed economists like Nobel Prize winner Robert Merton believe that it is more important to estimate and plan for your retirement income needs than worry about investments and how much you need for retirement. He recommends dividing your income needs into three categories:
- Minimum guaranteed retirement income — This category is for how much income you need to maintain your life at the bare minimum. Your retirement assets should be allocated to guarantee this income for as long as you live. Social Security and lifetime annuities are two common guaranteed income sources.
- Flexible income — This category is for how much income you would like to live at your desired lifestyle. Income for this category should come from conservatively invested assets.
- Nice to haves — You can take some risks with investments in this category.
The best retirement plan insures that you have enough income to cover your expenses