98 Tips for a Healthy, Wealthy, and Happy Retirement!

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 use these retirement tips to create a plan that allows you to achieve exactly what you want. What do most of us want? It is usually pretty simple, we want a happy, wealthy, and happy retirement.

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 98 retirement tips that can help you have a really good retirement. Make this the best time of your life!

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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 Most Complete 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 and most complete 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.

Online retirement planning tools like the NewRetirement Planner can help you plan. However, be careful of simple retirement calculators. Those can be good for quick answers, but aren’t reliable enough for financial security. Working with a financial advisor is another excellent way to achieve your goals.

3. Overcome the Terror of Spending Your Nest Egg

Terror about retirement spending is not uncommon. In fact, most people are worried about spending their nest egg and running out of money. After all, you have been conditioned for decades to earn, not spend.

4. Worried? Get Reassurances

It is perfectly normal to feel worried about your retirement plans. You don’t want to retire and only later discover that you overlooked something or made a mistake.

The NewRetirement Planner is a DIY system that is designed to give you confidence about your future, but there is a lot that goes into a plan. We have options for getting additional help.

5. Imagine 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.

6. Make Friends with Your Future Self

Hopefully you like the person you are now. And, if all goes well, you will like the person you’ll be in the future.

Cultivating a friendship with a version of who you will be as you age, helps you gain a sense of direction, motivation, and accountability. Furthermore, you can tap into their wisdom and resilience, enabling you to overcome challenges and make more informed decisions.

7. Think Health Not Wealth

According to an AgeWave study, 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.

So, the best retirement plan involves not just your finances but also ways to stay mentally and physically healthy. Gardening, walking, joining a gym, and 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.

Additionally, it is important to plan for how to fund healthcare costs. 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 these costs into their retirement planning.

8. 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.

How you spend your time is probably more important to your retirement happiness and before as how much money you save and earn. Don’t overlook the value of your time – how you spend it, where, and with whom – in your retirement planning.

9. Volunteer and Feel Great

If you are looking for meaning in retirement, volunteering might be something to try.

According to an Encore.org study, 55% of Americans believe that putting skills and expertise to use in some fashion to help others is an important part of how they view retirement. And 28% put post-midlife work with real social impact at the center of their planning.

10. 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.

11. 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.”

12. 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.

13. Leave Behind More Wealth than You Had When You First Retired

Retirement is not always about scrimping and saving. Many people are lucky enough to be able to increase their wealth throughout retirement. Bud Hebeler was one such guy.

14. Create and Maintain a Comprehensive Investment Strategy

Perhaps too much emphasis has been put on retirement investments, but it is not something you want to get wrong.

Creating an investment policy statement could be the secret weapon your retirement needs. An investment policy statement defines your investment goals, strategies for achieving those objectives, a framework for making changes to your plans, and options for what to do if things don’t go as expected. This type of document can help you make more rational decisions about your money.

15. Don’t Overlook Taxes

When it comes to your retirement planning, saving, investing, and plotting how to spend your free time are at the top of the list. How much you will have to pay in taxes after retirement may be the last thing on your mind, but taxes can be a bigger swing in your wealth than investment returns.

16. Keep a Schedule and Follow 7 Other Overlooked Retirement Skills

It can be difficult figuring out just what to do with your time once the 9 to 5 is over and done. Retirement is a major life change, and not all of it is fun. But with a schedule, you can help avoid the boredom and restlessness that comes with switching from a busy life to one where busyness only happens because you want it to.

Studies have shown that a structured life is one of the keys to happiness. Work usually imposes a schedule and structure on your life. When you retire, you are faced with days and evenings at your leisure. While you may find this novel and a bit exciting, you may want to define some specific routines to maintain order and structure.

17. Research the Best Places to Retire and Go There

New lists about the best places to retire are common. While it is possible that you already live in the best place for you, it is also possible that there is a better place for your retirement. Best of all, relocating may give you more money for retirement expenses if you manage to downsize or move to a more economical location.

Retirement doesn’t have to mean that you’ll stay in the same house where you’ve always lived. Downsizing can free up your time. And moving to a 50+ community can surround you with like-minded people with similar interests. There’s less home maintenance, too.

18. Make Your Travel Dreams a Reality

According to surveys of NewRetirement users, knowing how to have a happy retirement typically involves figuring out how to travel. Travel is clearly the most popular and desired pursuit for this phase of life. From day trips by car to round the world journeys, retirees have wanderlust!

Achieving what you want out of retirement can be a matter of setting a goal and then prioritizing that goal above everything else. Using a the Retirement Planner can help you visualize what you need to do to achieve whatever is important to you.

19. Think Positively About Aging

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ― Sophia Loren

Really interesting retirement happiness research from Becca Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale University, shows that Sophia Loren was onto something.

Levy has found that when older adults think of getting old as a positive experience – being about wisdom, self-realization and satisfaction – they then.

  • Function at a higher level
  • Live 7.5 years longer
  • Are more likely to eat well, exercise and avoid vice

20. Some Researchers Think Aging is… Optional…?

David Sinclair is a Harvard professor who made Time Magazine’s list of of the 100 most influential people in 2014. He argues that aging is… optional.

He believes that growing old is not a natural part of life but rather a disease that needs a cure. The bad news is that, yes, everyone does need to die at some point, but he says that we can double our life expectancy AND live healthy active lives right up until the end.

21. Avoid Retirement Depression (It is More Common Than You Might Think)

A study published in the Journal of Population Ageing found that those who were retired were about twice as likely to report feeling symptoms of depression than those who were still working. And, research from the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs found that the likelihood that someone will suffer from clinical depression actually goes up by about 40% after retiring.

22. Spend Time with the Grandkids

Research from the Institute on Aging at Boston College found that grandparents who were able to both give and receive support from grandchildren are less likely to be depressed. In fact, “the greater emotional support grandparents and adult grandchildren received from one another, the better their psychological health,” said Sara M. Moorman, an assistant professor at Boston College.

If you have grandkids, spending active play time with them can help you stay healthier. Active play doesn’t have to mean that you’ll climb a tree, but you can play other games and go on outings together. The National Institute on Aging’s (NIA) says spending time with the little ones you love is also great for bonding.

23. Have You Found Your Ikigai?

The residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa have discovered three proven concepts for happy longevity: ikigai, moai, and hara hachi bu.

24. Make Sure Your Retirement Planning Includes Your Spouse and Loved Ones

It may seem obvious, but it is actually important to remember to include loved ones — especially spouses — in your retirement planning. A survey by Fidelity Investments found that finances and retirement planning are extremely difficult subjects for married couples.

Going through a retirement calculator can be an excellent way to really get into the details with your loved one(s). Just make sure you use a retirement calculator for couples.

25. Single? Here Are Tips for You

Whether by circumstances or choice, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that almost a third of men (31%) and more than half of women (55%) are unmarried at age 65 or older, most often due to the death of a spouse. These aging adults are often referred to as elder orphans or solo seniors.

There are some challenges to retiring alone.

26. If You Have a Health Setback, Adopt a Positive Outlook

Much new research indicates that you are who you think you are. The power of positive thinking is turning out to be very true.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that seniors with a positive bias toward themselves and life are 44 percent more likely to fully recover from a bout of disability than someone with a negative outlook.

27. Find a Motto for Your Retirement – Put it On Your Refrigerator

Keeping your retirement goals front and center is important. Some people write down their goals, keep a budget or plan.

Other ideas include creating a Pinterest board with your retirement goals or finding a famous retirement quote, a funny and inspirational quote about retirement and aging or a quote about the pros or cons of retirement and putting it up on your refrigerator.

Maybe you could write your retirement manifesto.

28. Protect Yourself from Fraud

Seniors are an all too common target of fraud. According to the National Council on Aging, “approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as 5 million elders who are abused each year. One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.”

29. Stay Married – Especially If You Are a Man

Marriage is good for you, and so are long-term relationships. This Psychophysiology study points out that while stressful marriages are detrimental as we age, strong relationships with a partner help in nearly every aspect of life.

Additional research from Harvard Medical School found that men who have marital partners live longer than men without spouses.

Even though you might spend every day together once you retire, date night is something different and special.

30. Devote Time to Retirement Planning – Even After You Retire

Research shows that most people spend more time buying a TV, making a restaurant reservation, and planning a vacation than they do planning their retirement.

Planning, assessing, and updating your retirement plans should be on your monthly checklist – even after you retire. It is important to check in with your budget and investments and adjust as necessary. Online tools like the NewRetirement Planner can help.

31. Don’t Let Retirement Taxes Get You Down

For most people, taxes are the opposite of a happy retirement. In fact, according to Pew Research, 56% of Americans hate or dislike doing taxes. (Although, there are actually 5% of people who love it. Who are these crazy people?)

If you would rather spend less money on retirement taxes, it is a good idea to plan ahead to minimize this expense.

32. Spend Your Savings (Safely)!

You want to have a clear plan in place for making your savings last, but experts are finding that many of today’s retirees simply aren’t spending enough.

There are so many questions. Good news: the Stanford Center on Longevity in collaboration with the Society of Actuaries (SOA) has some answers.

33. Adjust to Turning Your Perspective Upside Down

Retirement is a big deal. Both your lifestyle and your finances do an almost 180 when you retire. Your time is suddenly spent in leisure not work and you go from earning money to spending. It can be challenging to go from a focus on accumulation (saving, saving, saving) to spending (efficient use and drawdown of your assets).

34. Be Social

You may be retired, but working on creating and maintaining friendships is one of your most important “jobs” as a retired person.

Research abounds on the benefits of being social as we age. The links between healthy social relationships and better health are well established. One study from the Pennsylvania State University found that when the social activities are linked to physical exercise, even more benefits are achieved.

And, it turns out that the opposite is also true. Researchers found that loneliness in older people may significantly increase the chance of death. Psychologist John Cacioppo says that loneliness may have twice the impact on early death as obesity and is as damaging as disadvantaged socioeconomic status.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, maintaining friendships is actually critical to your health and well-being.

You need people you can rely on emotionally and for real life help. And, believe it or not, science says that you are way better off when you have people who rely on you!

35. Be Social with People Outside Your Age Group

It turns out that there are some powerful benefits to have younger (and older) pals — a sense of vitality, energy, different perspectives and more. 

36. Choose the Right Time to Start Social Security

The later you start Social Security, the more monthly income you will receive. You might be eligible to begin benefits at 62, but delaying the start of benefits can reap big rewards.

37. Buy Happiness

Yep. Money actually can buy happiness.

From buying time to investing in experiences, there are multiple ways that you can spend money to achieve retirement happiness.

38. Know Your Best Years May Be Yet to Come

This is likely to surprise you. I was kind of shocked. But, a few years ago researchers identified the two ages in an adult’s life when you are likely to be at your happiest.

Experts from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences found that happiness peaks at the ages of 23 and 69.

Whoa! Sixty-nine! That is older than many of us.

39. Are You a Family Caregiver? Be Careful to Keep Your Own Retirement on Track

The costs of being a caregiver can be overwhelming. There is the extreme emotional turmoil but there are also serious financial concerns — from money spent out of pocket and from time spent caregiving instead of earning income.

While you may only be able to think about how to help the person you are caring for, there are steps you can take to protect your own retirement. You deserve the time it takes to care for your own self, too. 

40. Get a Dog

The research on the benefits of owning a dog is pretty overwhelming. Beyond emotional benefits like their unconditional love of us, one study found that dog owners need fewer doctor visits. Another study from Australia found that pet owners had lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and a lower heart attack risk than people without pets.

Other research has suggested that caring for a dog, in particular, is healthful in that it keeps us vital and generally insures that we get a walk every day.

41. Don’t Stop Budgeting

If you’ve saved well, you’ll want to be sure that your retirement funds last as long as you need them to. And if your finances are less-than-stellar, it’s even more important to budget, since you won’t have next week’s paycheck to supplement financial mistakes.

Willingness to be flexible with spending is “absolutely key” both before and during retirement, says Jon R. King, certified financial planner with Austin, Texas-based Pegasus Financial Solutions, LLC. “Spending before retirement is important because the less you spend, the more you save,” he says. “Cutting spending after retirement makes [your money] last longer.”

42. Keep Learning About Finances

A recent survey suggests that financial literacy is lower than even most people might expect. Fidelity asked more than 2000 people — half who were between the ages of 55 and 65 and not retired — questions in eight different retirement categories. The average that people got right was a mere 30 percent. Absolutely nobody got all the questions correct and the highest overall grade was 79 percent. Can you do better?

Resources for learning:

  • Books about retirement, aging, and personal finance
  • Subscribe to the NewRetirement newsletter
  • Watch relevant Ted Talks
  • Follow trusted YouTube retirement experts like Joe Kuhn and Rob Berger
  • Attend a class. Check out the NewRetirement classroom.
  • Join a group. Try the NewRetirement Facebook or Reddit group. (Even if you don’t ask a question or comment, you’ll learn by hearing what other people have to say.)
  • Listen to a Podcast. The NewRetirement Podcast has a variety of guests including Noble Prize Winners, authors, and regular people who have retired early and have tips to share.

43. Be Sure to Plan Your Next Big Financial Goal: Your Estate!

A big part of retirement planning is figuring out how much you can and want to leave behind to heirs.

Do you know what your estate is likely to be? And, have you created all the recommended documents and kept your paperwork up to date? Find out by using the Retirement Planner! This is critically important.

44. Know Your Money Personality Type

For better and worse, your genes and your circumstances have conspired to create a money personality type.

Understanding your money attitudes and habits can be useful to creating a stronger financial future.

45. Be Realistic About What Retirement Will Mean to Your Lifestyle

While many things are fairly universal for retirees, such as having lots of time to do what you want, some things might surprise you. Boredom can be a big problem, especially for someone who is used to a busy pre-retirement life. Time isn’t necessarily fun when it’s spent in front of the TV wishing you had something to do.

46. Continually Optimize Your Health Insurance

It is important to re-evaluate your supplemental Medicare coverage every year. Insurance companies change policies and your health changes too.

Shopping for the best supplemental coverage can really save you money and improve your benefits.

47. Don’t Forget to Plan for a Long-Term Care Need

You also want to look at ways to fund long-term care costs. Long-term care is not covered by Medicare or Medicare supplemental insurance. And, research suggests that at least 52% of people turning 65 today will need long term care at some point.

You need to plan for it!

  • The NewRetirement Planner allows you to try out different strategies for planning for long term care as part of your overall plan.
  • Discover how much long term care insurance costs.
  • Explore creative or unexpected ways to cover long term care.
  • What are the pros and cons of long-term care?

48. Prepare for the Awful Things that Are Likely to Happen

We all want a happy, healthy and wealthy retirement. But the reality is that awful things are probably going to happen.

49. Throw a Retirement Party

Retirement really is something to celebrate. And, if you have a good retirement plan, that is a major achievement — something to be really proud of!

50. Will a Retirement Survival Pack Help You Have a Happier Retirement?

From calendars to help you maintain a schedule to replacements for what you will miss from work plus books, apps and tools for staying physically and mentally healthy, discover a retirement survival pack.

To read the full article, click here.