3 Keys to a Happy Retirement

Debbie Loper |

After decades of working hard to support yourself and a family, retirement should be a time in life when you can kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Happiness comes in many forms, and you'll find out just how diverse those sources of happiness can be during retirement. If you want to really enjoy those golden years out of the workforce, there are several steps you can take to prepare yourself in advance. Below are three steps you can take to set yourself up for a happier retirement down the road.

Figure Out What You Want in Advance

Kiplinger points out that one of the very first steps you should take to ensure a happy retirement involves visualization. If you want to be happy in retirement, you have to put together a vision in your mind of what it is that would make you happy. This is largely a mental and emotional practice, but it's an important one because it can help you shape your goals. Before you reach retirement, ask yourself some of the following questions:

•  What makes me happy?

•  What brings joy and energy into my life?

•  If you had no concerns about money, what would you do with your time?

The answers to these questions and others, can help you craft a vision for retirement that you can plan for well before you reach retirement.

Come Up with an Income Plan

Unfortunately for humanity, money is not something that the average person can pretend isn't a factor. Though most have a dream vision of what they would do with their time were money not a factor, the reality is that money will be a factor in your retirement. However, this doesn't have to mean missing out on a happy retirement. What it does mean is that you must develop an income plan in advance so that you can pursue what you love in retirement and find joy without having to worry so much about your money.

As retirement approaches on the horizon, take the time to sit and do the math to figure out how much your 401(k), private investments, and Social Security accounts will amount to in terms of monthly income. Figure out how much money you can withdraw from those accounts each year and which accounts are the best to tap into first.

Choose When to Retire (and do it!)

Finally, you'll want to take control of your life and retire on your own timeline. If you know what makes you happy and you've done the math on your income plan, the only real thing you have left to do is set a date and determine when you want to retire. A survey cited in the book The Retirement Maze found that the happiest retirees were the ones who retired when they wanted to rather than working until they were effectively forced into retirement.

The keys to happiness in retirement are in your hands, whether you believe it or not. The only thing standing in the way is action. You have to take action and use these keys to enjoy a truly happy retirement.

Take control of your retirement contact Hughes Warren today!