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Keys to Happiness in Retirement

If you ask anyone that is looking towards retirement what they want, the answer will almost always be the same: I want to be happy in retirement.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to achieving happiness in retirement.

While happiness is subjective to each person, there are three foundational principles that can open doors to a meaningful retirement. These three pillars are sufficient savings, vibrant health, and engaging relationships. We will break down these key foundations in the balance of this week’s article, and share ways to improve them as you think about how to thrive in your retirement years.

The Money Pillar

The largest hurdle that most people notice when looking toward their retirement is how to save up enough money so that they can live comfortably. For a 65-year-old couple, there is a 50% chance that one spouse lives until age 94, and a 25% chance that one spouse lives until 98. This means that the savings accumulated before retirement may have to last longer than you previously expected. Retirement savings can come from many sources, including bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, a pension, or other sources.

The important things to consider here are:

1. The amount of savings needed to maintain your lifestyle

2. The most tax-efficient approach to saving those assets

3. The most tax-efficient approach to distributing those assets in retirement

The Health Pillar

The second pillar in enjoying retirement sounds obvious, but one that is often ignored until it’s too late to repair. Maintaining your health is necessary to not only live longer, but to also live a more enjoyable retirement. Being healthy can require sacrifices in the same way that saving your income requires discipline. Instead of sacrificing your lifestyle to save for retirement, your health may require a shift in your diet or your exercise routine.

While the health and money aspects of retirement are both important, the health pillar can have a devastating impact on your monetary needs in retirement if not addressed in advance. Since 1970, the cost structure of healthcare has grown at a faster rate than any other sector in our economy. While most retirement-oriented expenses can be expected to increase at roughly the rate of inflation (historically between 2% and 3% per year), healthcare expenses have grown annually by 7.4% over the last 50 years. This means that healthier people can dramatically reduce the risk of exposure to the fastest growing retirement expense.

The Final Pillar

The final pillar to a happy and fulfilling retirement is the one factor that most people fail to address. As we commonly share in our Second Act Planning retirement webinar series, if your idea of retirement is golfing 4 days a week and watching Family Feud and Wheel of Fortune, you will be unpleasantly surprised with how quickly the excitement of retirement will fade.

One challenge that we issue to our clients looking to retire is to increase their social circle and service to others with their newfound time—not just with their kids or friends their age, but with a variety of social groups! When we issue this challenge, we specifically ask our clients to focus on growing their social infrastructure: their spousal relationship if married, their family, younger people, a similar demographic group, and a different demographic group. Adding variety to the groups that you interact with will allow you to achieve different goals within each group and it can empower you to create a legacy, hand down wisdom, and create a meaningful life with new experiences.

The risk of not preparing this final retirement pillar can have domino affects in your other pillars. As mentioned in the health section, rising healthcare costs can put a larger strain on your finances than necessary. Unfortunately, not maintaining a healthy social life can undo years of healthy diet and exercise. A 2015 meta-analytic review by Julianne Holt-Lunstad found that a lack of social interaction is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Her study also found that loneliness can cause twice as much harm to physical and mental health as obesity. 1

While maintaining your savings and health is extremely important, maintaining a social presence can often take a backseat in retirement goal setting.

It is important to make sure that all three of these foundational principles are addressed in preparation for retirement. If not, you could be setting yourself to run out of money, fail to enjoy retirement because of failing health, or feel unfulfilled in retirement because of a lack of meaningful relationships.

To learn how to address more than just your retirement savings, click below and start building the foundation that leads to a vibrant, fulfilling retirement.

This article is a general communication being provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not meant to be taken as tax advice, investment advice or a recommendation for any specific investment product or strategy. The information contained herein does not take your financial situation, investment objective or risk tolerance into consideration. Readers, including professionals, should under no circumstances rely upon this information as a substitute for their own research or for obtaining specific legal, accounting or tax advice from their own counsel. Any examples are hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. All investments involve risk and can lose value, the market value and income from investments may fluctuate in amounts greater than the market. All information discussed herein is current only as of the date of publication and is subject to change at any time without notice. Forecasts may not be realized due to a multitude of factors, including but not limited to, changes in economic conditions, corporate profitability, geopolitical conditions, inflation or US tax policy. This material has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy, completeness and interpretation cannot be guaranteed.

LEGAL, INVESTMENT AND TAX NOTICE. This information is not intended to be and should not be treated as legal, investment, accounting or tax advice.


Copyright 2021. Monotelo Advisors Inc. All Rights Reserved

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