But will that activity make us happy? It’s about the non-financial, emotional side.
Happiness during retirement requires something more than just “keeping busy” and it’s completely unrelated to the size of our nest egg. Happiness is something we have to cultivate ourselves, not relying on money or other people to create it.
So how can we do that?
A sense of purpose
Having a sense of purpose is important. It inspires focus, helps us feel valued and gives us a feeling of accomplishment. It brings elements of challenge and change into our lives that keeps each day exciting.
It keeps us moving forward.
After all, reaching the end of our career path doesn’t mean we lose our desire to be successful.
When our purpose is something we feel passionate about, it becomes so much more than just “something to do” – it transforms general busyness into activity that keeps us motivated, engaged and active.
Those who enjoy several different activities or interests tend to be happier than those who merely watch life pass them by.
Living a life with purpose also connects us to this next point: connections.
Connections with others
Isolation leads to depression for most of us, and retirement is a wonderful time to create a stronger circle of friends or spend time with family.
We all have a basic human desire to connect, a primal need connected to our very survival. Retirement doesn’t reduce or eliminate this need and it’s important to not allow ourselves to become isolated as we age, even when it becomes challenging due to health or mobility issues.
Retirement planning isn’t just about your money and where you live, it’s about creating a life you enjoy.
We tend to focus almost exclusively on financial planning, when the softer side of retirement needs just as much attention. What will we do with our time?
Rather than waiting for inspiration to hit once you retire, and letting the chips fall where they may—letting impulse guide how you spend your time–why not plan for more than just your expenses? Time is an asset, too.
Interestingly enough, a recent CNBC article states that wealthy retirees only spend about $10,000 per year more than middle-income retirees. It’s not the amount spent that – lifts their spirits, but how that money is used, the article says. Wealthier retirees focus more on physical and social activities and less on watching TV.
Learn more about how to create vitality and purpose during your retirement with our new eBook, Defining The Older Adult, written in partnership with author Roger Landry, M.D.