The 7 Habits of Super-Successful Retirees
After all those years of work and anticipation, everyone wants to have a successful retirement. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will have one – you can’t just stop working one day and assume that a full and enjoyable life will follow. Like everything else in life worth having, a happy retirement requires laying the groundwork and following through – blocking and tackling. In my experience, there are seven habits that most successful retirees share in common.
7 habits of successful retirees.
Prepare financially. Retirees fear running out of money more than anything else. So step one is, don’t retire until you know you have enough saved and/or coming in to ensure a secure retirement. If you find yourself retired before you want to, that might mean downsizing your home, moving to a more affordable home or location, or taking a part-time job. Successful retirees have developed a realistic budget, one that balances income and expenses, before they sail off into retirement.
A positive attitude. Successful retirees are almost always happy people. Rather than finding problems in their life, they look on the bright side, or enjoy solving issues when they come up. Adversity hits all of us, but it doesn’t have to define our lives. Being cheerful rather than grumpy might take some effort and an attitude change, but it will keep you and everyone around you a lot happier.
Find a purpose. Here is a great expression to live by: Retire TO something, not FROM something. In our opinion, people are like working dogs – give them a purpose and they are all set. Angelo lives for his grandchildren and creative writing. Lewis plays competitive pickleball and golf, enjoys gardening and skiing. Tom hikes and climbs, while keeping his insurance business going too. Gordon exercises, plays tennis, tutors English as a second language, and goes on exotic SCUBA trips. There are so many great purposes, finding yours is the key. The possibilities are endless.
Open up to new experiences. Choose yes over no, active over passive, and adventure over inertia. If a friend asks you to try something new just say yes. Don’t roll your eyes when your spouse suggests a different kind of outing. Mark Twain said it perfectly: “20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Treasure your family, friends, and new people. The surveys we have conducted on retirement happiness always bring out a common theme. Experiences and relationships are a lot more powerful than acquisitions and solo pursuits. Work on your relationships to make them deeper and more positive, particularly if you are a man. Reach out to old friends, and look for ways to make new ones.
Live a healthy lifestyle. Heart disease, cancer, and stroke might not be completely avoidable, but you can do things to improve your odds. Get regular checkups and take your medicines. Keep up a steady exercise program. If you have some bad habits like smoking, give them up.
Retirement isn’t a number. For heaven’s sake, don’t retire just because you hit a number. If you love what you are doing, keep doing it! Likewise, if your finances aren’t in order, hang on until you are in better shape.
Keep this in mind
There is a lot more to a successful retirement than having strong finances and finding a great place to retire. A positive attitude, combined with solid planning, is even more important. You can do this!