Congratulations – you’re due for retirement next year or even in the next few months, but have no idea what to do. Retirement is a happy event, as you can look forward to setting your own schedule, enjoy long holidays and go wherever you wish to go. As of June 2019, the minimum retirement age in Singapore is 62 years, though there are news that the government is likely to raise this figure very soon.
How to Have a Happy Retirement
How can you make sure you have a happy retirement? Globally, retirees surveyed always cited financial security as an element to their happiness, though good health is also one contributing factor. There are many other ways to prepare for your retirement and here are some ways to ensure that you have a happy retirement.
(1) Make Sure You Have Some Passive Income or Paycheck
Ensure that you have at least some passive income or a regular paycheck to keep you financially secure during your retirement years. In his book, ‘You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think: The 5 Money Secrets of the Happiest Retirees’, financial planner Wes Moss found that the happiest retirees had the highest net worths, though the happiness index drops off after USD550,000. Another research confirmed that there is a drop in happiness after you’ve some USD3.5 million in wealth.
A passive income or steady paycheck can be attained with the purchase of an annuity or retirement plan. For example, if you invests $100,000 into a retirement plan now, you would get about $600 per month after you retire.
Work with an experienced financial consultant to turn your savings into a steady income stream so that you could have a happy retirement.
(2) Stay Healthy!
Try to exercise as much as possible and regularly. According to many studies, a person’s health directly reflects his happiness during his retirement years. A study by EBRI found that more than 80% of people who said they were very healthy were very satisfied with their retirement, as compared to 26% who cited poor health.
(3) Plan What You Want When You Retire
Plan in advance how you want to spend your time after you retire, and what would actually make your life more fulfilling. You should preferably start to think about it at least 5 years before your retirement.
Planning in advance could mean where you want to retire, how much you want to put aside for travelling yearly, are there any hobbies that you want to pick up, or even, do you want to start a small business that you’ve always wanted to start? For one, living in another country might be a good idea, because the cost of living could be much less, giving you less financial stress.
(4) Work Part-Time, Even If You Don’t Need To
Sometimes, retirees choose to work even beyond their retirement years not because they need to, but because they want to. It has been shown that retirees who do part-time work voluntarily are happier than those who are forced to do so. Working also boosts your mental health, and also provide you with some exercise if you’re the type that are mostly sedentary.
According to a study by the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology in 2009, retirees with part-time or temporary jobs have less major diseases than those who stop working altogether.
Some retirees like to do volunteer work or give back to society. Again, research have shown that retirees who volunteer their time and money are happier because they have a strong sense of purpose and high self-esteem. Giving back and doing charity works help to increase your sense of well-being, and help you find new friends, which increases your happiness index.
(6) Stay Connected With Your Family and Kids
Staying alone during your retirement can be detrimental to you health as studies have shown a link between low social interaction to a greater risk of heart disease, cognitive decline and dementia.
So ensure that you keep your family and friends around, and of course, your kids if you have any. Also try to make time to develop new relationships and make new friends.
(7) Pick Up New Hobbies
Busy retirees are always the happiest. Learn new things or pursue new hobbies or the passions that you had when you were much younger but stopped over the years.
These could be anything from playing an instrument, painting, salsa dancing, fishing, water sports, golf or even a martial arts like taiji. These are easily available at your neighbourhood community centres at affordable prices. According to Moss, the happiest retirees normally engage in three to four activities regularly.
(8) See Your Grandchildren Often
Try to see your grandchildren regularly, if you have any. Find ways to be friends with them as you watch them grow up. Studies have proven that this relationship is beneficial for both parties, whether they want it or not.
(9) Develop a Routine
You may not get used to this initially but you may find it more normal to continue getting up at the same time daily, and this need to apply to your meal times and bed time too. Plan your activities into a schedule so that it gives you a purposeful and happy retirement.
And how can we forget this? If you want to retire healthy, make time for exercise! Weave a regular exercise plan into your routine, and make it happen. Whether it’s playing a sports, yoga, pilates, mini hikes or walks, bring your spouse, partner or friend along with you if you can and get your heart rate pumping!
Lastly, do not worry too much as most retirees surveyed worldwide said that retirement has provided them with the opportunity to do things that they never have the chance to do, such as new experiences and this makes them happier. You don’t need a ton of money to retire, just refocus on what you have, make the most of it, enjoy your retirement days and do not stress too much on what you do not have and you’ll be on your way to a happy retirement.