How to have a happy retirement
Happiness – it’s likely to be the greatest gift you possess. But what’s the key to finding that in retirement – we are all so different, after all, and one person’s happiness might be another’s idea of a nightmare?
A story in the Guardian newspaper on the 14th of February 2019 described how many attempts to measure the highly subjective concept of happiness have revolved around largely psychological indicators and attitudes. For example, deciding what you really want out of life after work, treating age as just a number, expanding your horizons and setting store in your relationships with family and the wider community. Often, it is summed up by the expression “life satisfaction”.
The Guardian article, on the other hand, argued that more important to the majority of the population – including, of course, its retirees – is sufficient and secure income and access to housing they can afford.
Financing a happy retirement
In other words, financial security is likely to remain a priority not just for the working population, but also for those who have retired.
Of course, you don’t want to have to fixate on money and your financial worries during retirement – but the way to avoid it is to ensure that you have sufficient. And that means saving for your pension as early as you can, as much as you can, and ensuring that whatever you have managed to save is working its hardest for you.
A comfortable pension income then gives you the means to choose your own, individual route to happiness. By keeping your options open, your access to sufficient funds allows you to pick and choose between those activities and pastimes that bring you joy.
With a healthy pension pot then safely sorted out, you might indeed look to your life satisfaction. What might that be?
- travel is a favourite for those who rediscover a sense of adventure with the freedom that retirement brings – and the more effectively you have marshalled your financial resources, the broader your horizons when it comes to travel plans;
- without having to worry about the undue expense of it, your travels might also include more frequent visits to friends and family, to work on, develop and enjoy the relationships you build;
- if you want to give something back to the community, your options are again much broader. Voluntary work, for example, may be something you can afford to do if you prepared the way with sound financial planning in the run-up to your retirement;
- further education is rarely very expensive to pursue on a part-time basis when you are retired, but knowing that your day-to-day expenses are well taken care of may release you to enjoy any courses in learning that you choose to pursue;
- perhaps happiness fulfilled is going to be in learning to play a musical instrument – when, again, sufficient funds in the bank are going to give you the wherewithal both to buy the instrument and to pay for whatever tutoring you need.
Happiness and life satisfaction, therefore, is likely to be all the more certain if you have completed some financial planning for your retirement. Then money doesn’t need to be a fixation, but a liberating benefit allowing you to pursue the greatest gift you possess – happiness.