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.
The study found that a sense of purpose led to a longer life. Explore 6 ways to find meaning and purpose for retirement.
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.
If you are worried, here are 6 ways to overcome the terror of tapping retirement savings.
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.
Advice: Collaborate with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional from NewRetirement Advisors to identify and achieve your goals. Book a free discovery session. Engagements start at $1,500.
Coaching: Our expert coaches provides a fresh pair of expert eyes on your plan. We’re here to help as you level up your skills and deepen your understanding of personal finance. Our coaches are experts in financial planning as well as our Planner and can help you over any speed bumps on your path to financial security. It is just $175 for a 50 minute 1:1 session.
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.
Explore these 7 ways to visualize your future so that you can create and achieve a secure and happy retirement!
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.
Use the NewRetirement Planner to get a personalized estimate of your lifetime healthcare costs and make sure you are covered.
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.
Here are 23 ways to cut costs so that you can be rich in time!
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.
Here are 6 tips for making a volunteer impact.
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.
The best retirement plan insures that you have enough income to cover your expenses. The NewRetirement Planner can help you figure out how much income you need. Or, explore 18 retirement income strategies.
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.
Not comfortable tackling this on your own? Don’t want to pay fees to an investment advisor? You might want to Collaborate with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional from NewRetirement Advisors to identify and achieve your investment goals. Learn more and book a free discovery session.
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.
Here are 17 tips for retirement taxes.
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.
Learn more about 8 overlooked skills for a happy retirement – resiliency, sociability, budgeting, motivation, and more!
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.
Not sure where to go? Try this Retirement Destination Checklist.
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!
Anything is possible with the right prioritization. If travel is what you have always dreamed of, here are “20 Great Retirement Travel Ideas.”
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.
Learn more in his book: Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To. And then, just try thinking about planning to make your retirement savings last for another 100 years!
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.
Learn more about how to apply these long life strategies to your retirement.
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. Here are important retirement planning topics to tackle with your spouse.
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. Here are a few tips for navigating retirement on your own.
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.” Here are 7 ways to protect yourself from investment fraud.
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.
Consider the importance of a quarterly retirement plan review!
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.
The NewRetirement Planner enables you to see your potential tax burden in all future years and get ideas for minimizing this expense. It takes forethought, but Roth conversions (there is a Roth Conversion Explorer to help you see opportunities for when and how much to convert), taxable income shifts, and other strategies can result in significant lifetime savings.
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. They analyzed 292 retirement income strategies and are recommending the “spend safely in retirement strategy” as the best way to spend in retirement.
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).
Explore 6 tips to flip your mindset from saving to efficient spending. Or, if you are worried about retirement, try changing your perspective!
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. Get inspired by some beautiful stories of friendships across generations.
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.
Learn more about the surprising age when happiness peaks.
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. Explore 5 tips for taking care of yourself.
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. Here are six ways pets can improve your health.
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.
What is your money personality type?
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.
If you want to know how to be happy after retirement? Explore 120 things to do in retirement.
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!
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.
Here are 21 things that might go wrong and how to deal with them all.
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!
Here are a few tips for throwing a really great retirement party.
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.
51. Watch a Movie
Movies – like all art forms – can be a great way to explore important themes in your life. Movies with themes of retirement and aging run the gamut from great animated choices to watch with your grandkids to adult comedy and drama.
52. Optimize Your Resources to Maximize Your Income and Protection from Risks
One of the key reasons that the very rich hire financial planners is that they can help optimize resources – make small tradeoffs – to dramatically improve the client’s overall wealth and security.
Through education, innovation, and access to retirement products and strategies, NewRetirement hopes to provide that same level of holistic planning to the average retiree.
Examples of small tradeoffs that make a big difference include:
- Delaying the start of their Social Security can mean an additional 30 percent in monthly income. Use the Social Security Explorer in the NewRetirement Planner to help determine the best time for you to start benefits.
- Buying a lifetime annuity or long term care insurance may mean less total savings are required for retirement
- Working longer can be the difference between making ends meet and not
53. Keep Working or Reverse Your Retirement
Retirement, retirement jobs, reversing retirement. The trends toward older people working fell through the pandemic, but more older Americans are again reconsidering staying in their job or re-entering the work force. Paychex estimates that one in six retirees are considering going back to work.
And, 75% of Americans expect to be employed for as long as they can, with 39% saying it’s because they like to work, according to a Bankrate Financial Literacy poll.
And, according to a Federal Reserve Board study, a full 1/3 of those who retire eventually reverse retirement and return to work on either a full or part time basis.
Whatever the data says, many seniors make some kind of career change and work because they find something they love doing. The additional income is good, but it is often the satisfaction of a job well done that keeps them working. There are so many benefits to working past the traditional retirement age.
The most common reasons that people go back to work are somewhat dependent on income levels. People with less income usually go back to work to boost their cash flow. Retirees of the highest income levels go back to work because they want to take advantage of their skills and make more money.
No matter your reason, here is more information about reversing your retirement.
54. Know that Your 50s and 60s Are the Best Time to Start a Business
Forget the stereotype of the 20-something wunderkind. The vast majority of successful entrepreneurs are over 50. There are tons of surprising facts about entrepreneurship later in life.
Explore 12 Business Ideas for the Over 50s .
55. Get Out and Do Something Amazing – It Is Not Too Late
Walking away from the 9-to-5 opens up a world of opportunity for you. You can do anything and become anything that you want. If you’ve always wondered what would have happened if your life had taken a different turn, this is your golden opportunity to make that turn and see what happens.
It will be exciting to see what today’s retirees accomplish. Older Americans today are more vibrant than those of the past. Even so, there have been many notable accomplishments and amazing feats by people well into their 60s, 70s and 80s — at age 65, Colonel Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken and at 90, Pablo Picasso was still actively producing art.
Retirement does not need to be about retiring from the world.
56. Cut Housing Costs
Housing is the most expensive budget item for most households. Your home is probably also your most valuable asset. As such, optimizing your housing to best achieve your retirement plan is critical to your retirement success.
A few ideas for cutting housing costs in retirement include:
57. Try This if You Aren’t Sure if It is Time to Retire
Some of us can’t wait to retire and do so as early as possible. Others are not so sure about life without work. Reluctant retirees might be worried about money or they might be concerned that they will just really miss work. The fear of missing out (FOMO) can be strong for both work and leisure.
If you want a happy retirement, you need to leave the workforce at the right time for you.
58. Don’t Wait for Retirement to Be Happy: Thrive in the Transition
The transition to retirement can be a time of feeling a little stuck. These types of in-between times can be difficult in that you are waiting for something to happen. You are neither here nor there.
Here are 8 tips for to help you thrive no matter your stage of life — but especially if you are in one of those awkward in-between phases.
59. Follow the Lessons of Healthy 90 Year Olds
UC Irvine is heading a celebrated research project that is documenting what factors determine who will live past age 90. Here are some of their findings:
- Smokers die earlier than nonsmokers
- People who exercise live longer than those who do not. As little as 15 minutes a day makes a difference. Forty five minutes a day is best.
- Nonphysical activities are also important. Think book clubs, meeting friends for coffee, crossword puzzles.
- Vitamins do not seem to make a difference.
- Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with living longer. Up to two drinks a day leads to a 10–15 percent reduced risk of death.
- Coffee is good too – 1–3 cups a day.
- Gain a little weight — people who are average or slightly overweight seem to live longer than those who are underweight.
If you want to know more about this retirement research, 60 Minutes did an excellent report on “Living to 90 and Beyond.”
60. Think About College in a Whole New Way
Most people go to college to meet a goal, not for personal enrichment. Taking a college class, or a few classes, after you retire is a whole different experience. There’s less pressure to get each class under your belt and move ahead. You might actually enjoy criminal justice or cultural anthropology now that it’s not something you must take in order to earn a degree.
61. Start a Retirement Planning Club
We all need help with our retirement plans but very few of us turn to friends for that support. A retirement club — kind of like a book club where you discuss retirement topics instead of novels — can provide an ideal and friendly forum for helping you have a more secure future. Learn how to get started. Or, try a retirement book club.
62. Forget Retirement – Take a Long Vacation Instead
The road to retirement is changing dramatically, with older Americans taking a long vacation, or a work sabbatical, for a period of time and then rejoining the workforce –often by switching careers — to delay full retirement. Explore the pros and cons of sabbaticals before full retirement.
63. Keep Making 5-Year Plans
Goal-setting isn’t just for twenty-somethings. The more you plan for the future, the more you’ll get out of your retirement. Brainstorming over your next move in life can be a great way to spend Sunday morning coffee time.
Just make sure your plans and goals keep in synch with your retirement finances. Keep using the NewRetirement Planner to stay on track.
64. Not Yet Retired? Do Some Catch Up Savings
Catch up contributions are the IRS’s way of making it easier for savers age 50 and up to tuck away enough retirement savings. You probably already know that there’s a limit to how much you’re allowed to save in tax-advantaged retirement account such as IRAs and 401(k)s. Well, once you reach age 50, you’re allowed to make additional “catch up” contributions over and above those annual contribution limits.
Learn more about catch up limits and how to take advantage of them…
65. Getting Older? Be Sure to Take Your RMD!
RMD stands for required minimum distribution. When you reach a certain age, you are required to withdraw a minimum amount from your IRAs and 401ks or get a huge tax penalty.
Until recently, RMDs were required by everyone at age 70 ½ or 72. However, in late 2022 Congress passed the Secure Act 2.0 as part of the omnibus spending bill that increased the RMD age to 73 in 2023 and 75 in 2033.
RMDs can be great retirement income, but often trigger higher taxes. Here are 6 strategies for managing these withdrawals to minimize taxes.
66. Think of Yourself as Young
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?
Satchel Paige may have had it right. In studies conducted over four decades, Harvard psychology professor Ellen Langer showed that mental attitude can reverse the effects of aging and improve physical health. Langer proved time and time again that age is truly a mindset and not a number. If you think of yourself as young, you can be young.
The right mental attitude can reverse the effects of aging and improve physical health.
67. Stay Inquisitive About the World Around You
It’s easy to become isolated and fall into a rut after you retire. Keeping a curious mind will allow you to really enjoy learning how the world works.
Curious people are always asking questions and searching for answers – meaning that the brain is getting a work out and staying strong.
68. Plan for a Longer and Healthier Life in Retirement
In the 1950s, people retiring at age 65 lived until 78. Today’s retirees can expect an average lifespan of 83 or 84 years – which means that half of you will live even longer than that.
Your expanded lifespan means many things:
- That your retirement savings will need to last longer
- Your overall health-related costs will be higher now than ever before
- You will need to plan for different phases of retirement – each with its own financial requirements
Use the Retirement Planner to find out how long your money will last.
69. Think About Your Death
What? Yes, you read that correctly.
An essay published in the New York Times made the case that thinking about your death can make you happier. The idea is to think about your daily choices as if this year were your last year. The research indicates that using death to help prioritize how you use your time actually improves your satisfaction and overall happiness with your choices.
And if you are worried that thinking about death is too depressing, the opposite may be true. Researchers have found that contemplating mortality can actually make you funnier — “Joking in the face of death: A terror management approach to humor production.”
70. Re-imagine How You Travel
The beauty of retirement is that you have time. You do not have a clock to punch or other specific demands on your days. As such, you can plan travel with practically unlimited time. Done right, this can save you money and be much more enjoyable.
Imagine you wanted to see Spain and Italy. When working, you either have to see very little of each place in a short period of time or take two trips. Two trips are double the airfare and if you are trying to squeeze it all into one trip, then you might be paying a premium for hotels close to the things you want to see and other conveniences that make seeing everything possible.
Everything is different in retirement. You can take two months and see two, three, or more locations in one trip — dramatically reducing your airfare costs. And with time, you can rent apartments or other lower-cost accommodations, cook some meals in your rented home, walk instead of taking taxis — all of which can dramatically decrease your daily spend and also enable you to really enjoy being in the location instead of packing it all in.
71. Develop a Multi Year Roth Conversion Strategy
A Roth conversion is when you take money that you have in a traditional 401k or IRA account and move it into a Roth 401k or IRA.
Roth conversions can sometimes really save you money on taxes, but they could also cost you. It all depends on your circumstances. There are a large number of criteria to consider and ultimately, your decisions about Roth strategies will come down to what is right for you and your goals, the assumptions you make about your future, and your current and future income and investments.
Use the Roth Conversion Explorer, part of the NewRetirement Planner to help devise a personalized strategy for conversions.
72. Beware of Over-Saving
It is possible to have too much of a good thing.
Saving too much is more common than you might think. It is not quite as common as not saving enough, but it happens.
Over saving often stems from wanting to be prepared for any and all possible future scenarios and a fear of running out of money. It can also be an ingrained habit. It can be difficult to transition from a lifelong practice of saving to spending on yourself and your dreams.
73. Shake Things Up
The chance to kick back and relax without having a daily to-do list hanging over one’s head is one of the great benefits of retirement. But a steady diet of relaxation—or adhering too closely to any daily pattern for that matter—can lead to boredom and a sense of listlessness. Which is why it’s important to find ways to break out of the usual routine and spice things up occasionally.
That could involve something as simple as taking a spur-of-the-moment road trip, trying out a new hobby, attending local cultural events, sampling new cuisines, etc.
Or, you could try something a bit more radical to push you out of your comfort zone, what about living abroad for a month, year or forever!
Trying new things is one of the proven strategies to stay young and happy.
74. Retire! Even if You Haven’t Saved Enough
Look, savings are just one way to achieve a secure retirement. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of different levers that can be used to pull off financial independence in your 50s, 60s and beyond.
You can take on a retirement job, move abroad, drastically reduce spending at home, tap into home equity and more.
75. Stop the Negative Self Talk About Money
Money is a highly emotional topic.
And, there is a lot of guilt, shame, worry, and regret around personal finance. These negative emotions are too often present in our internal dialogue. Stopping negative self-talk about money is essential for promoting a healthy and positive mindset towards your financial situation.
Be aware of what you are saying to yourself and challenge negative beliefs. Focus instead on what you are doing well.
76. Be Aware of IRMAA
If you have enough wealth, your Medicare costs – specifically your premiums – might be more than you had bargained for. Not everyone knows this, but there are Medicare surcharges (officially called Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount, or IRMAA) that correspond to income brackets.
77. Develop Micro Financial Habits
You probably floss your teeth each morning and/or evening. And, maybe you park farther away from your destination to get more steps in or make your bed every morning to get a good start on the day. Those are micro habits that improve your health and general productivity.
But, what are the micro habits you can practice to improve your financial well being? Here are 17 micro financial habits that should be easy to adopt. Some are best to do daily, others could be practiced weekly, monthly, or even quarterly.
78. Use Tools to Make Good Financial Decisions
Some sources estimate that we make an astounding 35,000 decisions per day. That works out to roughly 2,000 choices per waking hour. Fortunately, most of those decisions (what to eat for breakfast or what shoes to wear) are made quickly and instinctively. However, there are many life choices that merit a much more thorough approach. In particular, financial decision making benefits from deep analysis, careful research, and keeping emotions in check.
Making financial decisions with your gut might not produce the best outcomes. A better idea is to use tools like the NewRetirement Planner to systematically understand what goes into the decision and compare outcomes of your options.
Here are more tips for great financial decision making.
79. Be Wary of Your Emotions
Stress. Loss. Fear. Greed. Shame. Envy.
Optimism. Confidence. Enrichment.
Those are some of the common emotions that can steer you toward the wrong financial decision. The supposedly good emotions can be as damaging as the negative ones.
Daniel Kahneman, auathor of Thinking, Fast and Slow and his follow up, Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment, said, “People are very loss averse and very optimistic.” He points out how these emotions work against each other in a particularly damaging way. Because people are optimistic, they don’t realize how bad the odds are.
80. Get Rid of Stuff You Don’t Need
You have probably heard the stories, the millennials don’t want your stuff.
Young adults today live in smaller houses, they buy used and are more into experiences than antiques, heirlooms, old desks, books or porcelain.
So, you don’t have to hold onto it all for them. And, you may emotionally benefit from cleaning it all out.
However, the real benefit of sifting through your stuff is not just the joy that Marie Kondo preaches, you may find that the upside is downsizing your home! Learn more about the benefits of de-cluttering.
81. Consider Securing a Home Equity Loan Before Retirement
A home equity loan, also known as a second mortgage, is a type of loan that allows homeowners to borrow money using the equity in their homes as collateral. Equity is the difference between the current market value of your home and the outstanding balance on your mortgage.
Getting a loan before you retire, a milestone that many people believe should be debt free, may seem controversial. However, depending on your financial circumstances, a home equity loan may be smart financial move.
The money in the loan can give you financial flexibility. And, you won’t pay interest on the loan if you don’t use it.
82. Set Goals and Understand Your Values
Retirement is an exciting time. You want to set both financial and lifestyle goals that reflect your values.
When setting up your comprehensive retirement plan, you’ll want to consider if you are planning for wealth creation, minimizing taxes and optimizing every dollar, protecting your financial well being from risks, spending for happiness, or some combination of the above.
There is no right goal for a retirement plan, just what is right for you.
83. Talk About Financial and Retirement Plans with Your Friends
Peer pressure does not end in middle school. We feel the pressure as parents, in the workplace and sometimes even about when we will retire or what to do in retirement.
However, peer pressure is not always bad. Peer pressure can also encourage us to adopt better habits and make better decisions.
- Studies have shown that people who have friends with high financial intelligence become more financially intelligent themselves.
- And, just as you are more likely to exercise if your peer group exercises, you are more likely to save for a secure retirement if your friends are saving as well.
Personal finance is a big deal. By talking about it with friends and family, you are helping yourself and your loved ones by bringing the topic to the forefront. Financial and retirement planning is too often done in secret or not done at all. However, having straight talks about it can help make the issue more prominent.
84. Prepare for Bull Markets, Bear Markets, Inflation, Recession, and More…
It actually doesn’t matter what direction the economy is headed.
A long term investment strategy involves understanding your goals, time horizons, and risk tolerance and these factors are independent of the ups and downs of the economy. Have an investment plan that you are comfortable with and stay the course.
85. Consider an HSA Plan if You Qualify While Working
A Health Savings Account or HSA is a medical savings account that is attached to a high deductible health insurance plan (HDHP). It can be a savvy way to save money by reducing your overall medical spending. It can also have compelling retirement savings benefits. Money can be deferred into an HSA account on a pre-tax basis just like a traditional 401(k) or IRA contribution. When money is withdrawn to cover qualified medical and dental expenses, withdrawals are tax-free.
86. Stress Test Your Retirement Plan Quarterly
Things change everyday. Your outlook, circumstances and even your goals will evolve.
As such, it is a good idea to reassess your retirement plan at least quarterly. It is an especially good idea to stress test your plans to make sure that your future is secure if all goes according to plan, but also if things go sideways.
Look at: longevity, inflation rates, rates of return, health costs, spending, and income. Assess your best and worst case scenarios.
87. Consider Climate Related Disasters as Part of Your Plans
Bomb cyclones, record high (and low) temperatures, atmospheric rivers, polar vortexes, super storms, thundersnow, heat domes, derechos, and firestorms are new and increasingly frequently used terms for describing extreme weather and the impact it has on where we live.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, over the last 42 years there have been an annual average of 7.7 weather related events that caused at least $1 billion in damages. However, from 2017 through 2021, the average was 17.8 such events each year.
You may want to seriously consider the possible impact of climate and natural phenomena on your long term health and financial well being as you look toward retirement.
88. Foster an Attitude of Resilience
As best-selling author Jim McCarthy told NewRetirement CEO Steve Chen, the secret to mental health as we age is to build better habits that lead to mental and emotional resiliency. Though some people seem more like orchids than dandelions, McCarthy says we can all develop skills for self-preservation and flourishing if we are mindful and take it one step at a time.
Preparing yourself for whatever life may throw your way is an important part of retirement planning.
89. Figure Out How to Make Your Savings Keep Pace with Inflation
You might think that when you retire, all of your savings should be held in cash or low risk investments. However, cash loses value as prices rise due to inflation.
If you want to maintain the spending power of your savings, you need to stay invested. And, ideally your investments outpace inflation.
Balancing the need for high enough returns with appropriate risk levels can be challenging. Here is a discussion of other competing retirement investment goals and how to sort them out for long term wealth.
90. Don’t Keep Up with the Joneses
Guess what, the Joneses probably aren’t as rich or happy than you think they are. And, it is likely that the family in the modest house driving old cars are much better off than you could ever imagine. However, what is really important is that: they don’t matter.
If you are constantly trying to keep up with the Jones’, then you may never feel like you have enough. A key driver of happiness is knowing what is important to you and staying focused on your own priorities.
If you want to know if you have enough, you will do well to focus on what is important to you and determine how much you need to fulfill the life you want.
Understanding the average retirement income might be an interesting benchmark, but it should not be used to determine how much is enough for you.
91. Is Retirement Fast Approaching? Find More Money and Save It
As a pre-retiree, this is your last chance to amass the savings you need to retire comfortably. You might be surprised by how much you can save when you are a few to 10 years from retirement.
Pre-retirees should use the motivation of their looming retirement date to buckle down and save as much as possible.
- Cut expenses.
- Bank all tax returns, raises, bonuses, inheritances, or other surprise money.
- Consider a second job.
- Explore ways to create passive income.
- Save as much as possible. (Unless you are one of those people who have already saved too much.)
92. Plan for Out-of-Pocket Medical Costs and the Potential for a Long Term Care Need
You really need to think carefully about your future healthcare costs. There are three categories of spending you need to consider:
Early Retirement Healthcare: If you retire before age 65, funding healthcare before you become eligible for Medicare can be expensive. Explore 9 ways to cover healthcare for an early retirement.
Medicare: You are sorely mistaken if you think Medicare will pay for everything. According to Fidelity, an average retired couple age 65 in 2022 may need approximately $315,000 saved (after tax) to cover health care expenses in retirement.
Long Term Care: Not everyone will require long term care, but everyone needs a plan for how to pay for it if they do need it. Here are 10 alternatives to long term care insurance.
The NewRetirement Planner has some very robust functionality to help you predict your own healthcare costs. The system allows you to:
- Enter early retirement costs
- Estimate out-of-pocket Medicare costs based on your location, health status, and type of coverage
- Explore options for how to pay for and plan a long term care need
93. Make the Right Social Security Decisions
The longer you wait to start Social Security, the more money you are likely to receive over your lifetime (depending on how long you life). As a general rule of thumb:
- Don’t take Social Security at 62, unless you have a very short life expectancy due to illness.
- If you think that you’ll pass away before 80, then start taking it at your Full Retirement Age (FRA), which is between age 66 and 67, depending on when you were born.
- If you think that you’ll live beyond 85, then wait until age 70.
94. Focus on Relationships
Recent research suggests that loneliness can be a huge threat to health. In fact, the dangers of loneliness are on par with obesity, light smoking, and anxiety.
We say it all the time, “keep in touch.” Well, in retirement it is more important than ever to actually do it. Maintaining your social connections is critically important to your well-being and chances of having the best retirement.
Call up a friend for a walk. Have a standing date for coffee every morning with friends. Keep in touch with colleagues you had at work by having lunch every once in a while. No matter what you do, it is important to nurture and participate in your social networks.
95. Master Cash Flow
The most important rule of personal finance — spend less than you earn — applies to retirement as well. In fact, it is even more important than ever before. The risk you run of overspending is that you will actually run out of money.
The trick is that you actually need to make a good prediction and figure out exactly how much you will spend every year for the next 15–30 years.
96. Develop the Habits and Practices that Breed Happiness
Below are 6 practices that are scientifically proven to breed happiness:
- Gratitude: Practicing gratitude cultivates happiness by shifting focus towards appreciating and acknowledging the positive aspects of life, fostering contentment and satisfaction.
- Awe: Experiencing awe, whether through nature, art, or extraordinary moments, brings a sense of wonder and expands our perspective, leading to increased happiness and a greater appreciation for life’s beauty and possibilities.
- Fun: Engaging in enjoyable and lighthearted activities promotes happiness by providing moments of pleasure, relaxation, and rejuvenation, allowing us to experience joy and a sense of playfulness.
- Mindfulness: Cultivating mindfulness allows us to fully engage with the present moment, heightening our awareness and deepening our connection to our surroundings and ourselves, leading to greater contentment and happiness.
- Connection: Nurturing meaningful connections with others promotes happiness by fostering a sense of belonging, support, and shared experiences, providing opportunities for love, compassion, and personal growth.
- Purpose: Having a sense of purpose, whether through meaningful work, personal goals, or contribution to others, brings a deep sense of fulfillment and happiness, as it gives our lives direction and meaning beyond ourselves.
- Control: When we believe that our actions and choices can influence our circumstances, we feel more in charge of our own destiny, leading to a greater sense of satisfaction and happiness.
97. Focus on Your Dreams, Not Your Savings Balances
When building your retirement plan, it is more meaningful and effective if you build your plan based on what you want to do and experience in the future rather than on an arbitrary savings balance.
In fact, don’t start with what you think you can save. Start with what your dreams are for the future. Those dreams may inspire you to do things differently starting now.
98. Think About the Big Picture
It is easy to worry about getting older. Health faltering and all… Did your golf game not go as planned this afternoon? Has your knee faltered for a second (or third) time? No doubt. It’s a bummer. Aging is a…
However, instead of focusing on your own shortcomings, be sure that you are doing and experiencing things that make an impact. Bring joy to other people. Be inspiring. Do something memorable.
Sure, retirement is your time. Just keep the big picture in mind and be sure to leave behind a little inspiration.
Speaking of inspiration… Share this article with your friends! And, let us know what you think makes for a happy retirement in the comments below!
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