Seniors Say These 4 Things Make for a Happy Retirement

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Happy senior couple putting on rollerblades to exercise
Monkey Business Images /

Many of us dream of retirement as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. After decades of work, we hope for a time of relaxation, with the freedom to do exactly as we please.

Recently, hundreds of retirees revealed the four elements they say are especially important to a fulfilling life during their post-work years. The results were published in a recent report, “The Four Pillars of the New Retirement: What a Difference a Year Makes” from Edward Jones and Age Wave.

Following are the things today’s retirees say are crucial to their well-being during retirement.

4. Being financially secure

Smiling senior woman holding money
Volodymyr Baleha /

Retirees who say this is important for their well-being: 59%

Surprised to see this way down in fourth place? There is a good chance that many of today’s pre-retirees would expect this item to finish first overall. After all, the notion that more money equals happiness is a cornerstone of both retirement planning and American life.

And while money is important to happiness in your golden years, today’s retirees say other things matter more. Read on to find out what those things are.

3. Having a sense of purpose

Senior woman exercising
sirtravelalot /

Retirees who say this is important for their well-being: 69%

Many of us turn our jobs into a sense of purpose and derive much of our identity based on how we perform at work. But once you retire, that driving force suddenly disappears.

So, to make retirement happy, you will need a new purpose. One of the best ways to find it is to volunteer. But it is best to start giving back long before you retire, so you are in the habit. As we have reported:

“Among people who did not volunteer during their working years, just one-third finally begin volunteering during retirement.”

For more, check out “12 Hard Truths About Retirement.”

2. Having family and friends that care about me

senior couples spend time outdoors
Monkey Business Images /

Retirees who say this is important for their well-being: 77%

Perhaps you sit upon a mountain of cash, able to afford endless vacations and any fancy toy you desire. Maybe you have a beautiful home on the water, and the leisure time to indulge your favorite hobbies. Does it mean anything without the company of family and friends?

Apparently not, as more than three-quarters of today’s retirees say companionship is crucial to retirement happiness.

Love is a powerful, important thing. But it’s not the most important thing when it comes to retirement well-being.

1. Having good physical and mental health

Senior couple exercise together
Viktoriia Hnatiuk /

Retirees who say this is important for their well-being: 85%

Anyone who has reached the milestone age of 50 has probably felt it: The fear that illness and the ravages of aging will slowly, or even suddenly, make life a lot less joyful.

Retirees understand the importance of good health better than anyone, which is why an overwhelming percentage of them say sound physical and mental health is crucial to happiness in older age.

Now that you know the elements of retirement well-being, it is time to learn how to put them into place.

Plan your perfect retirement

Happy senior couple in the kitchen
Koto Amatsukami /

A happy retirement doesn’t just happen. Instead, it’s something you plan.

The day-to-day craziness of life makes it easy to leave retirement planning on the back burner.

If you need a little help drawing your roadmap to retirement happiness, enroll in The Only Retirement Guide You’ll Ever Need, Money Talks News’ retirement course for those who are 45 or older.

The 14-week boot camp begins with “A look into your future.” Here, you can define what a happy retirement will look like. Over the next several weeks, you’ll then fill in the map that will take you to the retirement of your dreams.

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