9 Ways to Plan for a Happier Retirement

Taking control of your finances, health and well-being are not mutually exclusive tasks to check off your list but a holistic approach to living your best and happiest life in retirement.

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Asking yourself, “When can I retire?” is often the first step in planning your future. Now go a step further and ask yourself what it means to have a happy retirement. Figuring out what you want to get out of your next phase in life can help determine timing, planning and goals.

Tip #1: Find a Purpose

A new chapter without a consistent routine can feel empowering. But it might also feel overwhelming depending on your adjustment to retirement. Finding a purpose and passion can help you ride the waves of retirement and map out a future where you’re in the driver’s seat. You might not have the same purpose you had when you were working, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the transition to something different and as rewarding. Plan ahead to find what could offer you a sense of belonging, purpose and meaning.1^Marketwatch, Liz Weston, "Depression, isolation, loss of purpose: Could retirement be bad for your mental health?" 02/22 

Tip #2: Think About Your Health

Just as you’re taking steps to plan a financially secure future, planning for a healthy lifestyle also starts now. Assess your risk factors for common health issues. Getting regular health check-ups and making sure you are up to date on any shots you might need can protect you. Simply eating healthier and staying active can also decrease your risk for heart issues, high blood pressure and other health risks. Consider adding lots of fruits and veggies to your diet and don’t forget to drink lots of water.2^WebMD, Melinda Ratini, “Ways to Stay Healthy in Retirement,” 08/20

Tip #3: Plan for Income

Yes, you’re planning for retirement, but what are you planning for? Having realistic expectations of what your spending habits might look like is key in determining what might work for you when it comes to retirement income. Looking for retirement solutions with benefits like reliable lifetime income and principal protection can help supplement other retirement savings so you’re not underestimating expenses and falling short.3^Thinkadvisor, Jim Poolman, "The Case for Fixed Index Annuities,"12/21

Tip #4: Stay Positive

 Retirement, like many milestones in life, has ups and downs. There are circumstances that can impact your retirement plans, such as having to retire earlier or later than anticipated, or unexpected health issues. No matter the circumstances, having a positive attitude and staying optimistic is important to a wholesome retirement. Optimism is even linked to a prolonged life expectancy according to a study by the National Academy of Sciences.4^Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, "Optimism is associated with exceptional longevity in 2 epidemiologic cohorts of men and women," 2019 Prioritizing your mental health and finding connections that can help you make the most out of retirement are great helpers so you can enjoy your golden years.

Tip #5: Find Your Community

Volunteering or living in a retirement community can lessen the risk of depression in retirement. While you're helping others, volunteering also provides physical and mental health benefits for you.5^ Barrons, Tom Wilk, "How volunteering in Retirement can Help Your Community and Your Health," 10/21 There are many great resources to find volunteer opportunities in your area, including VolunteerMatch or RSVP, a volunteer network for people over 55.

Tip #6: Keep Learning

 A recent AARP study found that more than half of Americans 45 and older continue to actively learn new things. 6^ AARP Research, Brittne Kakulla, "Lifelong Learning Attracts Older Adults for Personal Growth and Cognitive Health," 03/22 Retirement can finally give you the time you’ve always dreamed of to learn how to play an instrument, read Shakespeare or study up on interesting topics. Whether you take an online course, listen to podcasts, learn a new skill or read books, stimulating the mind not only keeps you busy but might even keep you healthy. The National Institute on Aging says people who are engaged in activities and hobbies regularly are happier and healthier.7^ National Institute on Aging, "Cognitive Health and Older Adults," 04/22

Tip #7: Keep Moving

Staying active may positively impact achieving happiness in retirement. Just as your brain needs to stay active for a happier retirement, so does your body. A new study from the University of Georgia shows that exercise, or simply increasing physical activity throughout your day, can improve brain function in adults 51 and older.8^University of Georgia, "Physical activity may protect your brain as you age," 03/22 Exercising can help you feel strong and fulfilled in retirement even if you aren’t hitting the gym. Maybe it’s a simple morning walk or a lap in the pool; by finding something you enjoy, you can be happier and healthier in retirement. 

Tip #8: Plan & Prepare

Don’t leave important decisions to chance. While it’s never too late to start saving for retirement; it’s never too early to begin preparing. According to PWC, “A quarter of U.S. adults have no retirement savings and only 36% feel their retirement planning is on track.9^PWC, "Retirement in America: Time to Rethink and Retool," 04/22 By planning, you run less risk of being surprised and can tackle your concerns head on. If you need help, financial professionals can be a resource to help determine what might work best for you.

Tip #9: Check Off Your Bucket List

What have you always wanted to do? It doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars in order to be bucket-list worthy. It could be as simple as learning to paint or getting a massage. Maybe your bucket list includes a road trip to see the ocean or Statue of Liberty. Life is full of wonder and surprises, so if you don’t have a bucket list, get started! 

The content is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice. For specific details on how this may apply to your personal situation, contact your personal financial advisor or insurance agent for more details. American Equity contracts are only sold through independent agents. Please contact your state insurance department to see if there is an independent insurance agent in your area appointed to sell American Equity annuity contracts.
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