Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on NewRetirement.
Enjoyable retirement is the goal, isn’t it? You work your whole life and hopefully create and follow a plan so that when the time comes you can sit back and do what you want to do.
Well, a recent Nationwide poll suggests that not everything is going according to plan for many retirees. The company reports that as many as 28% of retirees say life in retirement is worse than it was when they worked. It’s a shame given how diligently many of us save and plan for our post-retirement life.
And who knows what danger awaits those of us who will be retiring in the near future with this economy.
Luckily, there are ways you can improve your chances of a more rewarding retirement, especially if you’re willing to be creative, imaginative, and a little bit adventurous.
1. Know that the best is yet to come!
Age Wave and Merrill Lynch research has found that of all life stages between the ages of 65 and 74, we are the happiest and happiest.
And experts from Princeton University and the London School of Economics and Political Sciences found that happiness peaks at ages 23 and 69, respectively.
Wow! 69! That’s older than many of us. And even if you’re past 69, there’s still good luck to be had – luck doesn’t generally fall off a cliff!
2. Think big, act bold
When news broke in 2015 that more than $300 million worth of jewels and gold had been stolen from Safe Hatton Gardens in London’s diamond precinct, experts believed the physically demanding heist was carried out by a team of extremely fit burglars had to.
But it turns out that what has been described as one of the biggest thefts in English legal history was actually the final hooray for a group of retirement-age crooks, some of whom were well into their 60s and 70s.
no We know what you’re thinking. And no!
No, we are NOT suggesting that anyone plan their retirement by committing a crime.
But we strongly suggest that attempting such an ambitious caper at an age when most people believe their greatest achievements are behind them shows that reaching retirement age doesn’t necessarily mean cutting back on one’s ambitions.
When Allianz Life asked 3,000 adults as part of its Gift of Time study how they view the extra years offered by today’s longer lifespan, 49% said that longer lifespans “could open up many new and interesting opportunities for people’s lives “.
For example, did you know that there are more entrepreneurs and more successful entrepreneurs over 50 than in any other age group?
What are you going to do with your long life?
3. Set new goals and achieve interesting things
Retirement can, and ideally should, be a time to strive for new goals and accomplishments, whether that’s pursuing a passion or activity you’ve always dreamed of but never got around to (writing a book, starting a blog , making an app, learning to play a musical instrument, whatever) or finding new ways to use the skills you’ve developed throughout your career (like helping those less fortunate than you, in In this case, you may want to check the options and resources at Encore .org).
The point is, though, just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still think big, take risks, and even be a little bold.
4. Have a written comprehensive retirement plan
It’s hard to enjoy retirement when you’re not sure you’re running out of money.
Planning—creating a truly comprehensive retirement plan—can give you peace of mind. And look, it doesn’t really matter how much you’ve saved, it IS possible to feel secure at any level of wealth. It’s all about making decisions.
The NewRetirement Planner is an easy-to-use system that helps everyone find their own path to a secure future. The system goes far beyond savings and investments.
You’re sure to discover ways to be comfortable with your finances now and in the future.
Forbes Magazine called the system a “new approach to retirement planning.” It’s a powerful, comprehensive set of tools for creating, monitoring, and managing a long-term financial plan. Make smarter decisions and get better use of your time, taxes, investments, healthcare and more.
5. Find new friends
Research shows that retirees with a solid circle of friends are much more likely to say they are happy with their lives. Unfortunately, forming new relationships after leaving the workforce can be more of a challenge. But it can be done.
Volunteering at local charities, getting a part-time job, joining groups that band together around a common interest (dancing, hiking, heritage preservation, you name it), and enrolling in classes at a local college are all great ways to meet new people Meet people and expand your social network.
6. Reconnect with friends you’ve known for a long time
Let’s just not call them “old” friends.
As you make new connections, be sure to maintain relationships with the people with whom you shared formative experiences earlier in life and who you knew before you became the person you are today.
The real attraction is the opportunity to spend time with people with whom we still share a deep connection despite the years that have passed.
Meeting old friends is more than just a stroll down memory lane. They can improve our perspective on life and remind us of who we are and that what really makes life meaningful are the relationships we have with friends and family throughout our lives.
7. (Happily) Stay Married…
Speaking of friends you’ve had for a long time… staying connected in your marriage can be an important part of enjoying retirement.
Research shows that a happy marriage or long-term relationship is good for you:
- Married people have better health and lower mortality risk than unmarried people.
- The benefits of marriage depend on the quality of the relationship, with bad relationships being no better and perhaps worse than no relationship.
- The quality of marriage is important throughout the lifespan but seems to be especially important later in life as health tends to decline and the impact of adversity increases.
- Marital problems have been found to accelerate declines in physical and mental health with age and increase risk of death. At the same time, poor health can act as a stress factor in the marriage and lead to a deterioration in marital quality.
And, um, since we’re talking about relationships, you might be interested to know that older couples who had sex — which was defined as any activity with a partner that was sexually arousing — more frequently had higher levels of marital happiness than couples who did had less sex or were sexually inactive.
8. Seize opportunities to shake things up
Being able to sit back and relax without a daily to-do list hanging over your head is one of the great perks of retirement.
But a steady relaxation diet — or following a daily pattern too closely — can lead to boredom and a feeling of lethargy. That’s why it’s important to find ways to break out of the usual routine and spice things up occasionally.
This can be something as simple as taking a spontaneous car ride, trying out a new hobby, attending local cultural events, trying new cuisines, etc.
Or you could try something more radical to push yourself out of your comfort zone, how about living abroad for a month, a year or forever!
Trying new things is one of the proven strategies to stay young and happy.
9. Focus on what gives your life meaning
Not to get too philosophical, but a happy retirement probably requires a little more than fun and games.
Purpose is what actually gives people the most satisfaction.
10. Take care of your health
Maintaining and improving your health is not complicated.
You know the guidelines: carry out regular medical check-ups, eat healthily and exercise regularly!
Here are a few additional pointers:
- Enjoy the sunlight for at least 15 minutes a day. This helps your skin produce vitamin D, an essential vitamin for bone health, mental health, cardiovascular strength, and more.
- dental floss! Most adults brush their teeth but do not floss. Flossing is not only vital for healthy teeth, but also for preventing Alzheimer’s and heart disease, according to researchers at the University of Bergen in Germany.
- Treat yourself to the hearing aid: The research is overwhelming: the ability to hear can have a tremendously positive impact on your life. Hearing aids can help people improve everything from romance, confidence, independence, relationships and a sense of humor.
- Drink enough water: Drinking enough water can keep energy levels high and improve brain function. It also keeps the skin healthier.
11. Did we mention that? You must have a really good plan and backup plans
If you have a detailed plan for your golden years, you can actually enjoy your retirement.
However, a plan is not enough. It is unlikely that you can predict exactly what will happen in the future. You also need contingency plans in case things don’t go as you expect. With the NewRetirement Planner you can create different scenarios.
It can be a good idea to create a worst-case-scenario plan and assess how to adjust your spending if the economy underperforms, your health begins to falter, or you encounter some other unexpected event.
NewRetirement’s Planner was designed for anyone worried about their retirement – especially those who are nearing the end of their careers and in their 50’s and 60’s. While saving and investing is an important aspect of the tool, for people nearing retirement or just starting out, figuring out how to keep their money as long as they do is most important.