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.

Joyful women laughing

Happy Retirement: kali9 / E+ / Getty Images

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. Your goals might look a little different in retirement but they’re still integral to a living a fulfilled life and may lead to better physical and mental health.1^Greater Good Magazine, “How to Find Your Purpose in Life,” 2018. 

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, such as heart disease and diabetes. Checking and managing cholesterol, blood pressure, weight and blood sugar levels regularly can help identify activity and dietary changes that can make a positive impact on your health in retirement.2^American Heart Association, “Lifestyle Changes for Heart Attack Prevention,” 2018.

Tip #3: Plan for Income

Yes, you’re planning for retirement, but what are you planning for? Travel and spending time with family come in as top retirement interests,3^Forbes, “3 Things Most Americans Want in Retirement and How to Get Them,” 2017.but when thinking beyond the bucket list, what income sources will be there to cover regular expenses like food, housing, healthcare and transportation? 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.

Tip #4: Stay Positive

Retirement, like many milestones in life, has ups and downs.4^American Psychological Association’s Monitor on Psychology, “Retiring Minds Want to Know,” 2014.There are circumstances that can impact your retirement plans, such as having to retire earlier or later than anticipated, or unexpected health issues. Keeping a positive perspective and attitude about this phase of life can help overcome challenges and benefit your overall well-being and sense of happiness.5^Psychology Today, “Positive Attitudes About Aging May Be ‘Fountain of Youth,’” 2016.

Tip #5: Find Your Community

Volunteering or living in a retirement community can lessen the risk of depression in retirement.6^U.S. News & World Report, “Can Retirement Be a Depression Risk?” 2017.If taking care of children or your career has largely defined your life, finding interests and spending time with other people is a positive way to transition into full retirement. There are many great resources to find volunteer opportunities in your area, including VolunteerMatch or RSVP a volunteer network for people over 55 years old. 

Tip #6: Keep Learning

 “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford

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. Whether by reducing stress or the negative effects of cognitive diseases, engaging the brain could have benefits beyond physical health as well, such as improved motivation and confidence.7^Harvard Business Review, “Lifelong Learning Is Good for Your Health, Your Wallet, and Your Social Life,” 2017.

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. And consequently, keeping your body moving also helps your brain, such as boosting your memory.8^The Guardian, “How Physical Exercise Makes Your Brain Work Better,” 2016.Call it a win, win. Physical activity can also improve your mood, lower blood pressure, control weight, build muscle and help you sleep better.9^Mayo Clinic, “Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity,” 2016. 

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 saving for retirement. Forty percent of Americans regret not saving earlier. Get ahead of the curve by thinking and planning for retirement so you can be part of 25% of America’s workforce who are very excited for retirement.10^Indexed Annuity Leadership Council, “The State of America’s Workforce: The Reality of Retirement Readiness White Paper,” 2018.

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.
American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company® does not offer legal, investment, or tax advice. Please consult a qualified professional.