How to Retire Happily

Written by: Mike Valles

How to retire and actually retiring happy are clearly two different things. Many people now entering retirement probably should not do so because they do not have enough resources to fall back on, and their Social Security payments are going to be too low to live on. Clearly, this is apt to result in more stress rather than happiness.

An article in the Wall Street Journal revealed that 57 percent of workers surveyed had less than $25,000 in savings. As recently as 2008, however, this figure was reduced to 49 percent. Another disheartening statistic is that 28 percent of Americans do not believe that they will be able to save enough to retire comfortably. They have no real expectation of retiring at all, let alone planning on how to retire happily.

One of the most important considerations of when to retire is the age factor. People in America are definitely living longer, and this means that more money must be saved. Most people today can expect to live to be about 83.

Then, you need to consider the level at which you want to live. Do you expect to live at about 80 percent of your working income? What about things you want to do after you retire? Do you plan on doing a lot of golfing, fishing, traveling, cruises, develop hobbies, etc.? Of course, it will take additional money above the cost of living to fund these activities and adventures.

Part of creating happiness comes from three things, says David Geller in an article at Huffington Post. He believes that happiness in life – no matter what the age – comes from our relationships, our engagement (being completely absorbed in a project), and by being able to make a difference. During your career, you probably were heavily involved in these things. Being happy in retirement will require that you are still able to continue in them in some form or other.

Knowing how to retire happily also requires avoiding some things. An article at USNews says that retirees who reported watching a lot of TV were less happy than those who spent their time doing other things. It also mentioned that those who had hobbies that would stimulate the brain were two and a half times less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

Many people today report being happy after retirement because they continue to work in some way. Their happiness is not based on the amount of money they saved up, either, reports While they continue to work part time in some job, they find that doing so enables them to find satisfaction in being able to still contribute, and it adds meaning and purpose to their life – which many retirees admit that they no longer have and it results in failing to adjust satisfactorily to their retirement years.

As far as actually setting an amount you will need for retirement, this is nearly impossible. Some, however, recommend having about 80 percent of the money you live on now annually for each year of retirement. Contingencies need to be taken into consideration, too, such as inflation, disabilities, long-term care, and the possible death of a spouse, says Offain Gunasekara at


How to Retire Happily

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