Plan to Retire Happy

You work all your life and dream of the day you will retire. You envision living life like never before, but there is a chance that you will not be as happy and content in retirement as you think. Sometimes the reality of retirement turns out to be a big disappointment in spite of your careful planning. Perhaps you believed that having a large bank account was the key to a happy retirement, but wealth does not necessarily guarantee happiness.

Many people think that living near friends, having many interesting available activities and living the lifestyle they always dreamed about will be enough to ensure a happy retirement. What some do not understand is that there is more to achieving satisfaction in retirement than simply being comfortable financially. Depression is a risk if your life has no purpose or direction.

Many retirees cease to grow as an individual and lose interest in life after leaving the workplace. The freedom they anticipated does not give them the feelings of self-worth that is so important in achieving contentment and happiness. You must stay intellectually challenged and actively involved in creative endeavors to find a sense of satisfaction in retirement. It is much too easy to fall into a pattern of watching too much television, taking too many naps and isolating yourself from others if you feel your life has no direction or meaning. You are in charge of your own destiny. Plan to look forward to tomorrow.

Ignite your creativity by writing your life story or learning how to do oil painting. Now is the time to explore those unfulfilled dreams and desires. Go to the local library and begin a genealogy project or learn how to play a musical instrument. Volunteer to read to children or make a difference by delivering meals to homebound seniors.

Plan to stay as active as possible. Pay special attention to your physical health by getting enough exercise every day. Retirement affords you the opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors as much as you like. One of the best ways to get the exercise you need to maintain good health is to plan to walk every day. A healthy body and mind make for a happier retirement.

Make a plan for your leisure time before you decide to retire. Compile a list of all the places you want to visit and the activities you want to pursue. Research travel destinations, enroll in college classes or take non-credit classes in writing or art. Pledge to yourself to become a lifelong learner and your life will never lack direction or purpose. Make the best retirement plan possible for YOU.

Although retirement is a ways off for me yet, I do think about what it will look like quite often. I want to make sure I have  a plan in place for when I cross this bridge so that I stay happy, content, and stimulated. If all goes according to plan my hubby and I will be traveling the world and volunteering where there is need and each of these trips will be photo documented since I love taking pictures.  This is the goal anyways.

So, have you thought about how you want to retire? What kind of things do you plan on doing? Please share.  


Plan to Retire Happy — 34 Comments

    • Realistically, I will be similar to you. I have many interests and don’t see myself ever not being active. What I do see is that everything I will be doing will be by choice and not because I have to. Right now I have to get up to go to work every day. It is not because I want to.

  1. Our goal is to have a cabin near water. I plan on fishing, playing golf with friends, enjoying walks with my wife, sitting on my front porch and watching the water, blogging of course, and visiting my children and grandchildren. That is just for starters!

  2. I don’t know that I have specific plans but will not be sitting around. I will be mentally and physically active. I would like to retire at a young enough age to be able to enjoy more. That involves needing to get out of debt and then bridge the income gap from that point until 70 years old. Right now, debt is what I am focusing on.

  3. I am 5.5 years away. I am planning now for what I want to do in retirement. In fact, I already started some of the things I will do in retirement. I started a blog a year ago, I will start volunteering next year and I will travel more.

  4. I think retiring “to” something and not just “from a job” is the key. I think people who just are trying to escape the current work environment are in for a scary retirement when they have no goals and no motivation to wake up anymore. Great piece.

    • I agree. I have actually met people like this and interestingly they are no more happier retired than they were when they were working. It is a sad state really. I definitely have a vision of what my retirement will look like and the things I want to accomplish.

    • You would redefine retirement at 27. That is an ambitious goal but I am rooting for you. I won’t be able to yet. I am in my late 20’s and retirement is still a ways off.

      I guess it all depends on what you define retirement as. I define it as not having to work if I don’t want to and being free to have fun most of the time. Since we want to raise a family still, we need to build up some more funds before this is possible.

  5. I hope I ease into retirement at a young age (the goal is 45). I see myself taking contract work or part-time work to fund extended time off. Basically to supplement passive sources of income. I plan on doing a lot of volunteer work since I have seen retirees give so much in the small communities I have lived in.

  6. I’m retired (high fives!!). What I am seeing from myself and my other retired friends is that you don’t chanage into a different person with different habits and lifestyles. If you are a person who tries new things and loves to travel, you will still be that person when you retire. If you are a person who watches tv all the time, you may still be that person when you retire.

    • Good point. I guess the only change would be in most cases is that you would have more time to explore more ways to spend your time. You might develop some new interests along the way but in most cases you will probably just spend more time doing what you like to do.

  7. Thank you for writing this. Recently I have been thinking that I would like to creat the conditions to be able to retire in five to seven years time. My husband and I have a bit of age gap and I would like to be able to spend time with him. He, on the other hand has firmly stated that he will never retire – that he works for himself probably has something to do with it. Retire net or not I can’t see myself stopping – it is just that I will have the space to write the novel that has been trying to come out for a long time.

  8. Great message! Like many critical things, having a plan set before the event occurs will pay off big in the long run. With no places to see and things to learn, the extra free time will seem like torture. At that point, you might want to lose your marbles! 🙂

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