As a millennial, I certainly have a few years (this is an understatement) before I officially ‘retire’ but when it happens, I intend to retire happy. Here are six things I plan to include in my daily retirement life in hopes of having a happy retirement. When you plan to retire early, you sure hope that you will retire happy, because retirement years may outnumber working years!
How to Retire Happy
First off, it goes without saying that retiring happy means not having to worry about your finances in retirement. To do this, I plan to never touch the principal (versus the 4% safe withdrawal rate). I hope to have enough funds in retirement in order to have live-in care if needed for the last few years of my life (live in care these days can range from $7000 and up… that’s per month). I can’t imagine what the price might be adjusted for inflation by the time I may need it.
Here are some non-financial aspects of financial independence and early retirement that I plan to incorporate into my daily life to have a happy retirement.
Have Purpose And Meaning to Retire Happy
People in the Blue Zones (think Okinawa in Japan, Icaria in Greece, Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica) live exceptionally long lives with high quality of life. According to Healthline, people from the Blue Zones have a life purpose “ikigai” in Okinawa and this influences mortality on a positive scale.
To me, success is being able to achieve what you set forth in achieving and being able to follow through. Success means having integrity (with yourself). I wouldn’t want to be a retiree who is bored or finds life boring. That would be my nightmare. However, I think the chances of thoughts of boredom happening are quite slim. I have so much I want to do and see and accomplish, work gets in the way!
Even if the purpose of the day is to read 30 minutes (or I hope more, since I’ll have more time), it will give me great pleasure to be able to spend my time reading and learning.
Even if that purpose is to continue saving money through travel hacking or finding the best deal I can find for a trip I plan to take.
This is also why I plan to have a phased retire plan and work part-time.
Incorporate Exercise and Eat Well to Retire Happy
Even with all the money in the world that will fund a retirement (and then some), money doesn’t buy you health. I plan to exercise at least three to four times weekly, doing bodyweight exercises and getting my cardio by going for a brisk walk or hike or run or bike. Also, with the extra time not doing the 9-5 grind, I plan to eat well. I eat well right now (we cook most of our meals) but I do have the occasional (okay, not occasional) stress snacking of chocolate and chips.
Warren Buffett has a great quote about his thoughts on health and gives the analogy of receiving one car as a gift, and only one car to last the rest of your life:
“You only get one mind and one body. And it’s got to last a lifetime. Now, it’s very easy to let them ride for many years. But if you don’t take care of that mind and that body, they’ll be a wreck forty years later, just life the car would be.
It’s what you do right now, today, that determines how your mind and body will operate ten, twenty, and thirty years from now.”
—- Warren Buffett
Meditate Daily and Focus on the Present
Currently, I meditate a few times a week and only for 10 minutes at a time. In retirement, I hope to be able to meditate for at least 30 minutes a day. I am sold on the virtues of meditation- and I even liken it to investing. It takes discipline to incorporate meditation into your daily life, but the benefits are great for the mind and soul. Meditation can actually change the brain according to Forbes, it preserves the aging brain, reduces social anxiety, and increases attention and focus.
Spend Time Cultivating Relationships
Relationships are the bedrock of life. On your deathbed, you want to be surrounded by those you love, not the material items you possess. As I get older, I find it more difficult to cultivate my current relationships, including some strained relationships with my siblings. I hope to spend time with my parents and mother in law and take them on trips if they are able to travel.
As a new mom, I’ve been feeling guilty about spending less time with my friends because it’s so busy with a young child at home. In retirement, I hope to have a lot more time to spend with my friends (provided that my children are older and can take care of themselves by this time).
When you get older, the people in your lives start leaving you, from cancer, from brain aneurysms, from heart attacks, from strokes. We don’t know how much time we have left but we have to make the most of the time we have- to spend time with those that matter in our lives.
On my birthday, a perfect day would be to continue collecting birthday freebies with my loved ones.
Strike off My Bucket List
My bucket list is mainly focused on travel. There are a lot of places that I want to go see, even if I had a million dollar retirement portfolio. One of the trips I could take in retirement if I were not able to walk as well as I used to is to go on a cruise that is a multi-week cruise.
My colleague (who is now retired) went in a 20+day cruise to Easter Island in Chile (definitely one of my bucket list items, it is so far off) and other islands in the Pacific Ocean. I’ll have to figure out what to do about my vertigo on cruise ships though, as I was pretty dizzy for a few days after a mere 7 day cruise to Alaska a few years back.
Let Go of Fear to Retire Happy
Finally, something that is easier said than done is to let go of fear in retirement. I’m not simply talking about the fear of retirement, but I’m talking more about the fear of death or the fear of my mortality.
I want to spend my retirement living my best life but not letting my life be ruled by fear. I don’t want to be taking 20 supplements of turmeric or omega 3 capsules other concoctions in hopes of extending my life by another 1.25 years. However, I’m sure that’s easier said than done and it’s easier to say this now that I am relatively young and healthy. I don’t know how I will be when I get diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes (it runs in my family)- I might start taking turmeric supplements at that time, who knows.
Having sufficient funds in retirement is important too, and this Retirement Projections Service would be pretty helpful to give you the confidence to retire happy.
Thanks for reading my six things I am planning to add to my retirement to retire happy. Now, off to work on the saving for the retirement part.
Here is how Tom from Dividends Diversify, my best blog buddy, goes about retiring happy.
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How do you plan to retire happy? What do you envision your retirement to look like?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.