Money Secret #1: Happy Retirees Determine What They Want

Ask Yourself These Important Questions To Get On The Right Track

A lot of my clients ask me if there’s a “secret sauce” to retiring happily.  My answer is an unmitigated “yes!”  In fact, the "secret sauce" is made up of five key money secrets which came to light after I conducted a survey of over 1350 retirees across 48 states.  The study revealed that the happiest retirees generally had five things in common that helped put them on the road to retirement bliss.

What you might find most interesting is that these aren’t the secrets of the ultra wealthy or those people that have lots and lots of money in the bank.  In fact, the secrets aren’t about the money itself as much as they are about the money providing the framework for the life you want to live.

Money Secret #1:  Happy retirees figure out what they want and how money will fuel the life they want to live.

The very first secret to being a happy retiree is to figure out what you want and how your money will fuel the life you want to live.  Face it, you’ve worked hard and saved money, but what good is it unless you know how you want to spend it?  Maybe you haven’t given it much thought, but to get yourself on track to a happy retirement, it's time to establish a baseline for your desires.  You can start by putting pen to paper and do a little exercise to get yourself thinking.  This should not be stressful, it’s merely a way to get your thought process moving in the right direction:

1. How many vacations would you like to take each year?

 

2. Where would you like to travel?  What places do you want to see (this could include both exotic locales and local treasures)?

 

3. What are some activities you’d like to get involved in?  Activities you’d like to get more involved in?

 

4. What have you been putting off or letting slip that you would like to change, starting this year- and especially during your retirement years?

  Spending more time with friends, reconnecting with old acquaintances, taking a women’s trip, taking a guys’ trip, enjoying more time with family?  Devoting more time to exercising or eating healthier?

 

5. What does a “perfect day” or even just a “fulfilling day” in retirement look like for you?  Sketch out a rough schedule below:

8 a.m.

 

10 a.m.

 

12 p.m.

 

2 p.m.

 

4 p.m.

 

6 p.m.

 

8 p.m.

 

10 p.m.

 

6. Are there sports or activities you’re interested in playing or learning?  Some ideas: golf, tennis, sailing, ceramics, collage, or photography.

 

7. What communities would you like to be more involved in?  Some ideas: your church, neighborhood association, Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, a local park conservancy, or local Jewish Community Center.

 

8. What are some nonprofits and organizations where you might like to volunteer?

 

If you’re struggling to answer these questions, that’s ok!  But now’s the time to gain some clarity so that you can start working towards how much money you will need in retirement.  Remember, you are establishing a baseline for your desires.

Did you know that there are five money secrets to retiring happily?  For the other four secrets, please see The Quick Guide to Retiring Early and Retiring Happy.

 

Follow Wes on TwitterFacebook and Wesmoss.com 

 

For valuable financial tools and information on how to set yourself up for a happy retirement, check these out: 

Retirement calculator, 401k, how do I stack up?money & happiness quiz and You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think

 

Disclosure:  This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only.  It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal.  This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make.

Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.