10 Tips for a Happy Retirement

You Worked Hard to Get Here and Now it’s Time to Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor

We spend most of our working lives striving toward the ultimate goal of enjoying a happy retirement. But what exactly does that look like? And how do you achieve it? The answers to those questions depend a lot on YOU. Every retiree is going to have their own definition of what a fulfilling retirement looks like. For some, a happy retirement might look like getting to spend more time on hobbies, while for others it might look like finally getting to travel to all those destinations they’ve dreamed about. It might even be simply about spending more time with your kids and grandkids. Whatever a happy retirement looks like to you, you’ll have to be intentional to achieve it.

Below are 10 habits that can help you find happiness and fulfillment throughout your retirement.

We spend most of our working lives striving toward the ultimate goal of enjoying a happy retirement. But what exactly does that look like? And how do you achieve it? The answers to those questions depend a lot on YOU. Every retiree is going to have their own definition of what a fulfilling retirement looks like. For some, a happy retirement might look like getting to spend more time on hobbies, while for others it might look like finally getting to travel to all those destinations they’ve dreamed about. It might even be simply about spending more time with your kids and grandkids. Whatever a happy retirement looks like to you, you’ll have to be intentional to achieve it.

Below are 10 habits that can help you find happiness and fulfillment throughout your retirement.

#1. Be proactive by committing to saving.

It can be tempting to spend your discretionary income on impulse buys and short-term joys. However, having enough money to live comfortably throughout the entirety of your retirement is crucial if you want to mitigate future stress and find happiness once you’ve retired. The key is to start saving as early as possible so that you can give your savings time to compound and grow as you work. You also want to complement your savings with other avenues of income such as Social Security, pensions, rental income, investment income, or even part-time work so that you’re financially secure throughout your entire retirement.

#2. Cultivate your interests.

Retirement planning is about more than your finances – it’s about planning out what your days will look like, too. Spending your days stuck inside glued to the TV may not lead to the most fulfilling retirement. Retirees who find happiness tend to have varied interests that they can engage in on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter so much what your interests are, just that they make you happy and give you a sense of peace. It could be hiking, learning a new instrument or language, spending time with friends, or travelling – whatever speaks to you and sparks passion, that’s what you should pursue.

#3. Give your days structure.

Chances are that while you were working, you had a set schedule that you followed each day. Your alarm would go off at a certain time, you ate your meals at the same time, and you probably had some form of structure when you got home in the evening, as well. If having a schedule is something that you appreciate, you may find yourself struggling more than most once you retire unless you create new routines for yourself.

As you build out a new routine, give yourself time to find the right balance for you – it’s going to take a bit of trial and error, and that’s okay. You want to find a way to give yourself enough structure to feel like you have a purpose each day, but not enough that you’re stressed or feeling that same level of busyness that came along with your working life. Use a paper calendar or an app on your phone and add in meals and activities that you have planned for each day. Don’t be afraid to get specific either – if you like to linger over the newspaper while you have your morning coffee, write that in. You don’t need to get rigid with your scheduling, just add enough so that your days don’t feel aimless.

#4. Keep your loved ones close – but not too close.

If you have children, it’s understandable that you may want to be close to them and spend more time with them once you’ve retired. That being said, it’s important that your children aren’t dependent on you. In fact, for most retirees, the more that you’re spending to support your adult children, the less happy you may find yourself throughout your retirement. So, be sure to keep healthy boundaries in place while also cultivating those special relationships.

#5. Find yourself outside of work.

After decades of working, it’s normal for your career to become a sort of identity for how you see yourself and how you relate to others. But once you retire, that identity ostensibly disappears. To find happiness in retirement, it’s crucial that you find a new way to define yourself and find a purpose that’s outside of your career. This could mean getting more in touch with your creative side or engaging with your community by volunteering. Whatever you decide to do, now is your opportunity to have fun and discover a new part of yourself – or to rediscover a part you had no time for during your working years.

#6. Invest in your relationships.

A very real aspect of retirement for many retirees is isolation and loneliness. After spending 30+ years with a built-in social network through your job, it’s understandable that adjusting to life on your own can be difficult. Without those daily lunches or holiday parties, you may have to work a bit harder to keep up with those that you hold dear.

A great way to fight against isolation is to include social plans into your calendar when you’re building out your schedule. Pencil in times that you can meet friends for coffee or have a phone call with a friend who might not live near to you. Ultimately, a happy retirement will require that you have friends from all different ages and walks of life to add energy and dimension to your retirement.

#7. Rebalance your portfolio.

As you move from working to retirement, the purpose of your investments will change from saving to providing income. You want to think of your retirement as a time to live off what you’ve saved rather than a time to focus on expanding your portfolio. Retirement is when you need to lower your risk and rebalance your portfolio so that you can be sure you’ll have income that you can depend on for the rest of your life.

#8. Get adventurous

Trying new things can be scary but living strictly within your comfort zone can lead to a lack of initiative and lethargy in retirement. This new chapter in your life can be such an exciting time to push the boundaries of what makes you comfortable and try things you never would have before. Whether that’s traveling to a new place or getting involved in local groups, it’s important that you’re adding diversity to your life in retirement.

#9. Commit to taking your health seriously.

Health and happiness consistently go together so it’s important to be sure that you’re focusing on your health in retirement – especially as you continue to age. Finding ways to get your body moving, whether through daily walks or joining a local gym can not only help you stay on top of your health, but it provides you with opportunities to meet new people and build new relationships. You can also use this newfound freedom to spend more time in the kitchen, learning healthy recipes that can support your health.

#10. Find the right balance between saving and spending.

One of the biggest fears retirees face is outliving their savings. This makes many people nervous to spend money after they retire. Typically, retirees fall into two unfortunate camps: they’re either so afraid of running out of money that they barely spend anything and fail to properly enjoy their retirement, or they spend more money than they should and put their financial security at risk. The goal is to find a balance between these two extremes so that you can enjoy a happy retirement without putting everything you worked for at risk. While it may not be smart to spend your money on first-class flights or regular dinners at fancy restaurants, that doesn’t mean you can’t travel to visit friends or treat yourself to simple pleasures either.

You deserve a happy retirement.

If you’ve been thinking about how to have a good retirement, the ten steps above are helpful places to begin. Having the ability to properly enjoy a fulfilling retirement lifestyle and find genuine happiness is something that everyone deserves. You spend the majority of your life working hard and saving diligently specifically so you can enjoy this next chapter in your story. It comes down to proper retirement planning and a committed effort so that you can achieve and enjoy the retirement of your dreams.

At Paces Ferry Wealth Advisors, our clients are at the center of everything we do. When our clients are happy, when their goals are met and they’re on the path towards financial freedom, that’s when we consider ourselves successful. If you’d like to talk with one of our professionals about your retirement planning needs, please contact us today.

Paces Ferry Wealth Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).  This material is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal or tax advice and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney or tax advisor.


Zachary Morris

Zachary Morris, CFP®

Having traveled to over 35 countries, Zach is a believer in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s statement that Life is about the journey, not the destination. Being a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ provides Zach the opportunity to help clients define and realize their journey, and co-founding Paces Ferry Wealth Advisors, an independent firm, allows the freedom to define the client experience along the way.