Happiness Linked to Quality, Not Quantity
It is not uncommon for guys to frame financial and retirement planning in quantitative terms only. How much money do I need to have saved? How many years do I plan on being retired? What will my monthly expenses be in retirement? While all of these are necessary and important considerations, they are only part of the overall equation.
A well-respected CEO in the financial services industry likes to say, “Money is the fuel, not the destination.” Rather, money is the fuel that will be used to take care of those we love and empower us to live the life we’ve imagined. Money is necessary, but it’s not the ultimate goal.
So, what is? For most, it is happiness, peace and fulfillment, which are typically associated with more qualitative factors. Proper financial planning is more than numbers. It is life planning. I would, therefore, encourage men to strongly consider the following qualitative factors as they can greatly enhance or hinder one’s fulfillment in pre-and post-retirement years.
It is commonly said that there are few things as important as your health. And for good reason. When you suffer from a chronic health condition, it can affect your ability to enjoy the company of family and friends and limit your daily activity. Making a lifestyle commitment to eat healthy while maintaining a regular workout regimen can have a far greater impact on your pre- and post-retirement years than almost anything else you can do. This coupled with annual physicals can increase the probability you will maintain your health to enjoy the additional time you have to spend with family and friends and to experience new adventures. An added bonus is you will likely save in health care expenditures to boot.
For many people work is a source of intellectual challenge and provides a sense of accomplishment. The sudden shift into retirement can leave some feeling lost. Research has shown that being mentally engaged in something you are interested in or passionate about has countless health benefits. One of the best remedies is to take the time to become engaged with a not-for-profit or other pursuit that feeds your soul and sense of purpose. You’ll be doing good for yourself and others.
Separating from work can be isolating. It is not uncommon to spend more time with your work colleagues than friends and family. Investing the time to nurture relationships with your non-work friends while still engaged in your career can provide a source of joy and connectedness both now and after retirement. Additionally, you may want to even consider starting a new hobby you’ve always been interested in such as cycling or pickleball that has a built-in community that offers the opportunity to form new relationships.
Living a happy and fulfilled retirement requires more than just money. Yes, make sure there is enough gas in the tank to make the journey, but don’t forget to focus on the qualitative factors under your control that in the end may contribute the most to living the life you’ve imagined.
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