How to Find Happiness in Retirement

At age 54, retirement is not yet in sight for me. In fact, without pensions, my husband and I will likely work until we are 70. Am I depressed? No. If you’re in the same situation as us, check out my articles: Why Boomers Can Be Positive About Working Longer and Finding Contentment in Your Career.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

However, I realize that some of you may be fortunate enough to retire in your 50s or 60s. And since this blog is targeted at baby boomers, which includes those born between 1946 and 1964, the oldest of this generation are now approaching 70 years old.

Interestingly, according to a recent study based on data from the MetLife Mature Market Institute, more than half of the 1946 boomers are not working until they drop as predicted, but are now fully retired. Although 21 percent of this group remain employed full-time and 14 percent are working part-time, most of those plan to retire fully by age 71.

So if you are retired or approaching retirement, what are the keys to happiness during this stage of life?

While planning properly and saving for retirement so you don’t have to struggle to get by can contribute to happiness, there are other factors involved as well. Here are a few tips to help you find your bliss:

Focus on Your Spirituality

Along with a positive attitude, studies show that the older generation’s willingness to embrace their spirituality side contributes to their happiness. In fact, people who attend religious services regularly frequently live longer than those who do not; thanks, in large part, to faith, hope, and a sense of meaning and purpose in life. In addition, the social support that comes from being part of a community with shared values and beliefs can also contribute to happiness.

Find New Challenges

Retirement is no longer a word used to signal the end of a productive working life. Now many see retirement as a transitional point for the beginning of a new phase in life. Challenge yourself through meaningful volunteer work, starting a new business, learning new skills, or trying new activities.

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Take Care of Your Health

No surprise, studies show that good health is an essential component of a happy retirement. The fact is that people who suffer from chronic, severe illnesses tend to be less happy. The good news is you’ll have more time to focus on your health. Use some of your extra time to plan and prepare healthy meals, exercise, and stay mentally active.

Nurture Your Relationships

Nearly 20 percent of retirees say they are experiencing lower levels of overall well-being than they were before they retired. Although insufficient funds can contribute to depression, isolation can also be a factor. Married people tend to be happier during all stages of adulthood and retirement is not any different. However, retirement and being together 24-7 can put stress on your relationship, so you may want to plan for some time for individual activities. Interestingly, a recent Pew study showed that having been a good parent plays a large part in being happy during retirement. You’ll also find that children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren can be sources of much happiness when you’re retired. Find ways to let them know they’re an important part of your life. And of course, now that you have more time, nurture your friendships as well.

So if you’re already retired, try some of these tips. If you are still working, start planning now for your retirement and you’ll be happier.

For those of you with experience with happiness during retirement, please share your secret to success in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “How to Find Happiness in Retirement

  1. Michael Gray

    I just retired this summer at age 72. I was quite concerned at first about filling the 20 hours I have worked for the past 10 years (at a non-profit I co-founded to work with the disabled), but I appear to have found ways to keep engaged in activities that are fulfilling and feel meaningful. I now work on my writing more, read more and engage my spiritual practice more–as well as having time for family and exercise.. So far I have been neither bored or isolated.

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