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[Video] 9 Keys to a Happy & Successful Retirement and How to Get There Thumbnail

[Video] 9 Keys to a Happy & Successful Retirement and How to Get There

Tim shares the secrets of successful retirees, offering insights into how they conquered the retirement mountain. Discover these key behaviors and gain valuable insights for your own retirement journey.

Today I’m going to discuss my observations of a successful and fulfilling retirement. Now, in the end, everyone will have to determine for themselves what a successful retirement will be for them.  

But, since I help people retire every day, there are a few common observations I’ve noticed from those who are the most fulfilled and happy. 

9 Keys to a Happy & Successful Retirement

In particular, here are 9 key observations that might help guide you towards a fulfilling retirement:

  1. They prioritized their health: They maintained physical and mental well-being, exercised regularly, ate proper nutrition, and had mental nourishment as well. Now, this doesn’t mean they went crazy trying run a marathon, be an Ironman or turn themselves into Arnold, but they just got up and got moving. A little strength training a few days a week is the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth. And it doesn’t take much, but being consistent is vital. 
  2. They kept purpose: They stay engaged, often with less rigor and a more relaxed schedule. But retirement didn’t mean disengagement, it just changed. They retired “to” something, not “from” something. They stayed connected to friends and family, stayed involved, and kept busy living in healthy ways. They stepped out of their comfort zone, which at times was daunting, initially, but it often led to great satisfaction later. 
  3. They built a steady and reliable cash flow by consolidating and maximizing the use of the 3 different account types: tax-deferred, taxable, and tax-free. 
  4. They used those same three account types to build up savings and have more control over their lifetime tax liabilities.
  5. They took advantage of ways to limit their lifetime tax liabilities with proper tax planning, but not to the point where it hurt their desired lifestyle. Or they planned well, but they didn’t let the “tax tail, wag the ‘happy retirement’ dog.”
  6. They optimized their investments to keep up with the rising cost of retirement but didn’t take any unnecessary risks that caused them to lose sleep.
  7. If their retirement was secure, they gave more to their adult children and charities during life. And this might be as simple as paying for activities for grandchildren, paying for family vacations, or a very nice gift around the holidays where they gave checks up to the gift limit. 
  8. They realized they should focus on things that can be controlled, and had they had guardrails and plans in place, for what to do if and when things happened outside of their control. For example: inflation, stock market fluctuations, legislation, etc.
  9. Last but certainly not least, they were resolute, but remained flexible. They made deliberate decisions to get them to where they wanted to be with the peace of mind they wanted but also realized that with any good plan, you must be adaptable. 

So, that’s my simple list of observations for a successful, fulfilling, and happy retirement. 

How to Get There

Now, for many of us, who are still working, and retirement seems like this far off figment at the moment, this begs the question, how did these successful retirees summit the proverbial retirement mountain in the first place?   

Because, in order to have a successful retirement, you have to get to retirement in a good position. Right?

Well, for the most part, they were deliberate in managing their time and priorities. But honestly, sometimes they just earned a good living, they didn’t spend as much as they made, they invested it and they had decent market returns over their lifetimes. 

But typically, they exhibited five key behaviors:

  1. Establishing good habits: I’ve always loved the old saying: “The chains of habit are too light to feel, until they’re too heavy to break.” Now, this obviously has negative connotations and speaks to trying not to form bad habits. But forming good habits can be just as strong and often leads to the second key behavior, which is:
  2. The appreciation of delayed gratification: Delayed gratification is resisting immediate reward in favor of a greater, future reward. The ability to delay gratification is often essential for long-term success. 
  3. They saved for retirement and lived in a manner that let them save enough for a secure retirement. I like to frame this by saying: “they lived for today, while they also planned for tomorrow.” 
  4. And this one is on both lists, for obvious reasons: They generally had healthy lifestyle practices: They tried to eat healthy and be somewhat physically active, believing it would lead to better overall well-being. 
  5. They generally had a financial roadmap that aligned with their retirement goals.

In their 30s and 40s they struck a balance between work, family, self-care, and living. And in their 40s and 50s, they were able to maximize retirement savings, often using employer-sponsored retirement plans, and they actively managed and paid off debts. And of course, this often included getting the kids out of the house and through college. 

And there you have it, my list of observations that could lead you to a successful, fulfilling, and happy retirement, and my list of what the successful retirees did to get there.

A CERTIFIED financial planner™ professional can help you plan for your retirement. Schedule a call today so we can talk about your situation. 

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