Plan for happiness

Lifestyle

It may sound simple, but thinking about what will bring you happiness in retirement is the key to getting more out of the next big chapter in your life. And that goes beyond just knowing you want to get out of the 9-to-5 grind or having a hobby to dabble in. Happiness in retirement is all about doing more of whatever it is that brings you true satisfaction—whether it be travel, pursuing a passion, spending time with family, volunteering, or even starting your own business. 

“Pre-retirees should consider what kind of lifestyle they would enjoy, both in the short term and the long term,” says Tyler Wilkinson, chief financial officer of Soltis Investment Advisors in St. George, Utah. “That is really the crucial first step in planning for retirement.”

What kind of lifestyle will bring you joy in retirement? Take this quiz to discover your personal path to happiness.

Dreaming up your vision for the future is the fun part. After all, more than 60 percent of soon-to-be retirees in a recent survey conducted by Athene* said they expected the second half of their lives to be the best yet. But the key to connecting emotional fulfillment and financial well-being is balance. Once you have a clear picture of what kind of lifestyle will bring you happiness in retirement, it’s essential to put a financial plan in place that can support those goals.

Make Your Dreams a Reality
Begin by taking inventory of what you have, says Scott M. Sadar, CFP, executive vice president at Somerset Wealth Strategies in Portland, Ore. “That includes assets you’ve earned or picked up along the way, and future income streams, like pensions.” Next, track your spending closely. Sadar says this will help you identify places where you’re currently overspending, so you can figure out how much of that money you could put toward retirement instead.

Next, think about how much money you’ll need to fulfill your retirement dreams—both big and small. That means considering larger expenses, like a condo on the beach or that bucket-list trip to Australia, as well as your day-to-day needs. 

“The whole process of drilling down and really understanding how much you are going to need in retirement can be daunting,” says Sadar. But he emphasizes that planning is crucial to having the retirement you want.

Once you have a solid grasp of your current finances and your needs in retirement, it’s time to meet with your financial advisor or Athene agent to help close any financial gaps you might have. That may mean choosing safer, relatively short-term investments that allow you to grow your money, or contributing more to your employer-provided retirement accounts.  

“There’s still time to make some subtle or dramatic changes to your financial plans that can help support your happiness goals and feelings of success in retirement,” says Sadar.

*Participants in this study were provided through the Harris Panel, including members of its third-party panel providers.

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