Successful Retirement: More Than Just Money

We hear a lot about making sure that we save up enough money for retirement. However, a successful retirement isn’t just about the money. While you want to have enough money for a good retirement, you might be unpleasantly surprised if you haven’t thought about the non-monetary aspects of success in retirement. What good is having that solid nest egg if you don’t have anything to do with it? Take a break from thinking about whether you have “enough” money to retire, and take a few minutes to think about the non-monetary aspects of retirement:

Who Are You Going to Enjoy Retirement With?

Many people are so wrapped in considering their money, that they forget to consider the people around them. Most people, I think, would agree that a lonely retirement is not a successful retirement. Who will you enjoy your retirement with? If you plan to enjoy retirement with your spouse, it’s important that you take the time to work on your relationship now. Every relationship requires work, and a successful marriage that contributes to a successful retirement needs solid work for the years (decades) leading up to retirement.

This is also the time to develop relationships with other family members and friends. My grandfather developed good relationships with his friends, and his retirement is enriched by a yearly hunting trip with his friends. It helps him feel younger, and provides him with beneficial social interaction.

Will You Be Healthy Enough to Enjoy Retirement?

While there are some things that cannot be avoided, no matter what you do, it is possible to prevent many of the ailments that can come with age. If you want to increase the chances of a successful retirement — one in which your nest egg doesn’t go entirely to medical bills — you need to plan now for better health. The health habits you develop now will influence your health for the rest of your life. Improve your diet, and engage in regular physical exercise. You don’t have be a fiend about exercise and denying yourself all treats, but you should build a foundation of health for the future.

What Will You Do During Retirement?

Do you have a plan for what you want to do during retirement? Think about what sorts of hobbies you plan to enjoy. My husband’s father has always loved gardening, and retirement has given him the chance to really improve his garden. Others devote their time to volunteering, traveling, or learning new skills. Think about what you want to do during retirement. The truth is that most people get rather tired of sitting around doing nothing after a couple of weeks. If you have a plan for all that extra time, you are more likely to find yourself fulfilled. Sure, you might want to sit around for the first few weeks of retirement, but after that it helps to have something of a plan. Consider your options now, and think about what you would like to do or learn. Then find out what you need to do now to make it a reality during retirement.

Bottom line: While having enough money is an important part of retirement, it isn’t everything. There are other things that you need to do in order to prepare for a successful retirement. And the bonus is that doing these things now will provide you with a more satisfying life now, as well as in the future.

2 Responses to Successful Retirement: More Than Just Money

  1. Yes, yes, and yes. A lonely retirement would get a little boring. I see retirement as simply getting rid of the day job, while continuing to do what I love and enjoy. I believe it is important to cultivate those habits and passions so you have something to sustain yourself once the day job is gone.

  2. While your article is true it is hard to think about it that way isn’t it? Getting caught up in the nitty gritty of saving and getting out of debt is “easy” but looking at it from the big picture perspective is a lot harder. I hope that this is one of the things that works like … if you do the small things then the big things will follow?

    Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your point of view) I have enough time ahead of me to ensure that my nest egg is sorted out (I hope) … I will definitely take more time though to look after some of the other elements as w/out my (& my families) health and presence … I don’t really know that working is worth it!

Leave a reply