65 Tips for a Healthy, Wealthy and Happy Retirement

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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on NewRetirement.

If you want to have a good retirement, you need to figure out what that means to you. Do some life planning for retirement, set goals and use these retirement tips to create a plan that allows you to achieve exactly what you want.

What do most of us want? It is usually pretty simple. We want a happy, healthy and wealthy retirement (or at least one that is affordable).

A happy retirement is no longer about sitting with your feet up and watching the rest of the world whiz by. Many people now think that retirement is a time for embarking on one of life’s greatest adventures. This is the time to do what you want with the experience-laden good sense to appreciate it.

How to be happy in retirement? Here are numerous tips that can help you have a really good retirement. Make this the best time of your life!

1. Have a sense of purpose and meaning

Happy retiree reading a newspaper
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Make every day meaningful.

Oxford University suggests that having a meaningful life lessens the effects of aging. Research by Patrick Hill and Nicholas Turiano found that people who have a sense of purpose or direction in life outlive their peers.

In fact, people with a sense of purpose had a 15% lower risk of death compared with those who said they were more or less aimless.

And it didn’t seem to matter when people found their direction. It could be in their 20s, 50s or 70s — even when controlled for other factors that affect longevity, such as age, gender and emotional well-being.

The study found that a sense of purpose led to a longer life. Explore “6 Ways to Find Meaning and Purpose for This Stage of Life.”

2. Create the best retirement plan possible

A senior couple reviews a bill
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Most people have lived their lives day to day, month to month, year to year.

However, retirement is the time to have the best plan possible. You want to spend this time of your life doing what you want to do, and you want to make sure you have the finances and wherewithal to achieve what is important.

A retirement calculator can help you achieve the best retirement plan. Working with a financial adviser is another excellent way to achieve your goals.

3. Make friends with your future

Portrait of investment advisor consulting with retired woman at home. Business adviser and old woman planing the future.
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Perhaps the best way to plan for retirement is to visualize your future — really think about the details of who you will be, where and why.

Being able to imagine now who you will be in the future and what your needs and desires will be at that time is perhaps the most important aspect of planning.

Explore these seven ways to visualize your future so that you can create and achieve a secure and happy retirement!

4. Think health, not wealth

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More than 80% of today’s retirees say health is the most important ingredient for a happy retirement, meaning that the majority of retirees value good health even over financial security.

According to a Merrill Lynch study, “Americans age 50+ cite health care costs in retirement as their greatest financial concern, regardless of their wealth level. Yet the vast majority of people have not factored health care costs into their retirement planning.”

So, the best retirement plan involves not just your finances, but also ways to stay mentally and physically healthy.

Gardening, walking, joining a gym and eating healthy are all proven ways to stay physically healthy. Staying vital, having a purpose and challenging yourself are great ways to maintain your mental health.

5. Trade money for time

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If you can live on a little less than you have been planning, then retirement can be a lot closer than you might have thought possible. Cut expenses dramatically, and the time to retire might be tomorrow.

6. Volunteer and feel great

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If you are looking for meaning in retirement, volunteering might be something to try.

According to an Encore.org study, 55% of Americans say that putting skills and expertise to use in some fashion to help others is an important part of how they view retirement. And 28% put post-midlife work with real social impact at the center of their planning.

Here are six tips for making a volunteer impact.

7. Want health in retirement? Make exercise fun

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Try making exercise something you look forward to instead of something you have to do.

Instead of trudging on a treadmill, take walks through the park or go for mini-hikes.

Still doesn’t appeal to you? Why not listen to music as you walk or — better yet — bring a friend along and talk and laugh as you get the heart rate going.

Best of all, there is a bonus to the fun! Research from Cornell University found that those who think they are having fun while exercising end up eating less than those who are doing it for exercise.

8. If walking is your exercise, walk fast

An older black couple gets exercise by walking outdoors
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Many research studies have found that how fast you walk after age 60 is a good gauge of longevity. Apparently, your walking speed can predict dementia, shorter life span and depression.

In one study published in the journal Neurology, researcher Dr. Joe Verghese says: “As a young researcher, I examined hundreds of patients and noticed that if an older person was walking slowly, there was a good chance that his cognitive tests were also abnormal.”

9. Think income, not investments

Smiling senior woman holding money
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Esteemed Nobel Prize winner Robert Merton emphasizes how important it is to estimate and plan for your retirement income needs rather than just worry broadly about investments and how much you need for retirement. He recommends dividing your income needs into three categories:

  • Minimum guaranteed retirement income — This category is for how much income you need to maintain your life at the bare minimum. Your retirement assets should be allocated to guarantee this income for as long as you live. Social Security and lifetime annuities are two common guaranteed income sources.
  • Flexible income — This category is for how much income you would like in order to have your desired lifestyle. Income for this category should come from conservatively invested assets.
  • Nice-to-haves — You can take some risks with investments in this category.

The best retirement plan ensures that you have enough income to cover your expenses. A retirement calculator can help you figure out how much income you need. Or, explore 18 strategies for lifetime income.

10. Leave behind more wealth than you had when you first retired

Couple, Senior Beach
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Retirement is not always about scrimping and saving. Many people are lucky enough to be able to increase their wealth throughout retirement.

Bud Hebeler was one such guy. Read the advice — eight tips — that led him to have more money at 80 than he did when he retired.

11. Create and maintain a comprehensive investment strategy

Female Investment Adviser and Client
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Perhaps too much emphasis has been put on retirement investments, but it is not something you want to get wrong.

Creating an investment policy statement could be the secret weapon your retirement needs.

An investment policy statement defines your investment goals, strategies for achieving those objectives, a framework for making changes to your plans and options for what to do if things don’t go as expected.

This type of document can help you make more rational decisions about your money.

12. Don’t overlook taxes

Senior taxes
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When it comes to planning for your retirement, saving, investing and plotting how to spend your free time are at the top of the list.

How much you will have to pay in taxes after retirement may be the last thing on your mind, but taxes can bring a bigger swing in your wealth than investment returns.

Here are a bunch of tips for handling retirement taxes.

13. Keep a schedule, and develop 7 other overlooked retirement skills

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It can be difficult figuring out just what to do with your time once the 9 to 5 is over and done. Retirement is a major life change, and not all of it is fun.

But with a schedule, you can help avoid the boredom and restlessness that comes with switching from a busy life to one where busyness only happens because you want it to.

Studies have shown that a structured life is one of the keys to happiness. Work usually imposes a schedule and structure on your life.

When you retire, you are faced with days and evenings at your leisure. While you may find this novel and a bit exciting, you may want to define some specific routines to maintain order and structure.

Learn more about that and seven other overlooked skills for a happy retirement: resiliency, sociability, budgeting, motivation and more!

14. Research the best places to retire, and go there

Couple standing on the shore.
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New lists about the best places to retire are common. While it is possible that you already live in the best place for you, it is also possible that there is a better place for your retirement.

Best of all, relocating may give you more money for retirement expenses if you manage to downsize or move to a more economical location.

Retirement doesn’t have to mean that you’ll stay in the same house where you’ve always lived.

Downsizing can free up your time. And moving to an age 50+ community can surround you with like-minded people with similar interests. There’s less home maintenance, too.

Not sure where to go? Try this retirement relocation checklist.

15. Make your travel dreams a reality

Older couple walking cobblestones in Italy.
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According to surveys of NewRetirement users, knowing how to have a good retirement typically involves figuring out how to travel.

Travel is clearly the most popular and desired pursuit for this phase of life. From day trips by car to round-the-world journeys, retirees have wanderlust!

Anything is possible with the right prioritization. If travel is what you have always dreamed of, here are “20 Great Retirement Travel Ideas.”

16. Think positively about aging

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“There is a fountain of youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

― Sophia Loren

Really interesting retirement happiness research from Becca Levy, a professor of public health and psychology at Yale University, shows that the great Italian actress is onto something.

Levy found that when older adults think of getting old as a positive experience — as being about wisdom, self-realization and satisfaction — they then:

  • Function at a higher level.
  • Live 7½ years longer.
  • Are more likely to eat well, exercise and avoid vices.

17. Some researchers think aging is optional

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David Sinclair is a Harvard professor who made Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in 2014. He argues that aging is … optional.

He believes that growing old is not a natural part of life but rather a disease that needs a cure.

The bad news is that, yes, everyone does need to die at some point, but he says that we can double our life expectancy and live healthy active lives right up until the end.

Learn more in his book, “Lifespan: Why We Age ― and Why We Don't Have To.” And then, just try thinking about planning to make your retirement savings last for another 100 years!

18. Avoid retirement depression

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A study published in the Journal of Population Ageing found that those who were retired were about two times more likely to report feeling symptoms of depression than those who were still working.

And research from the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs found that the likelihood that someone will suffer from clinical depression actually goes up by about 40% after retiring.

Here are nine tips for combating this common syndrome.

19. Spend time with the grandkids

Grandparents spend time with their grandchildren at home on a sofa
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Research from the Institute on Aging at Boston College found that grandparents who were able to both give and receive support from grandchildren are less likely to be depressed.

In fact, “the greater emotional support grandparents and adult grandchildren received from one another, the better their psychological health,” said Sara M. Moorman, an assistant professor at Boston College.

If you have grandkids, spending active playtime with them can help you stay healthier. Active play doesn’t have to mean you climbing a tree, but you can play other games and go on outings together.

20. Have you found your ikigai?

Rock cairn stacked by waterfall.
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The residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa, who are famously long-lived, have discovered three proven concepts for happy longevity: ikigai, moai and hara hachi bu.

Learn more about how to apply these long-life strategies to your retirement.

21. Make sure your retirement planning includes your spouse and loved ones

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It may seem obvious, but it is actually important to remember to include loved ones — especially spouses — in your retirement planning.

A survey by Fidelity Investments found that finances and retirement planning are extremely difficult subjects for married couples.

Going through a retirement calculator can be an excellent way to really get into the details with your loved ones. Just make sure you use a retirement calculator for couples.

22. Single? Here are tips for you

Happy woman in retirement
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Whether by circumstances or choice, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there were 19.5 million unmarried U.S. residents age 65 and older in 2016.

Experts estimate that around 23% of the older population nationwide will age alone, and in many cities that percentage can be much higher — as high as 50%. These aging adults are often referred to as elder orphans or solo seniors.

There are some challenges to retiring alone. Here are a few tips for navigating retirement on your own.

23. If you have a health setback, adopt a positive outlook

A senior stretches her legs while on a yoga mat during a workout at home
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Much new research indicates that you are who you think you are. The power of positive thinking is turning out to be very true.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that seniors with a positive bias toward themselves and life are 44% more likely to fully recover from a bout of disability than someone with a negative outlook.

24. Find a motto for your retirement plan — and put it on your refrigerator

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Keeping your retirement goals front and center is important. Some people write down their goals and keep a budget or plan.

Other ideas include creating a Pinterest board with your retirement goals or finding a famous retirement quote, a funny and inspirational quote about retirement and aging or a quote about the pros or cons of retirement and putting that up on your refrigerator.

25. Protect yourself from fraud

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Seniors are all-too-common targets of fraud.

According to the National Council on Aging, “approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as 5 million elders who are abused each year. One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.”

Here are “7 Ways to Protect Your Retirement From Investment Fraud.”

26. Stay married — especially if you are a man

Seniors couple man woman having fun happy
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Marriage is good for you, and so are long-term relationships. This study in the journal Psychophysiology points out that while stressful marriages are detrimental as we age, strong relationships with a partner help in nearly every aspect of life.

Additional research from Harvard Medical School found that men who have marital partners live longer than men without spouses.

27. Devote time to retirement planning — even after you retire

A senior couple enjoys their retirement savings
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Research shows that most people spend more time buying a TV, making a restaurant reservation and planning a vacation than they do planning their retirement.

Assessing and updating your retirement plans should be on your monthly checklist — even after you retire. It is important to check in with your budget and investments and adjust as necessary. Online tools like retirement calculators can help.

Consider the importance of a quarterly retirement plan review!

28. Think beyond funds and bonds

Woman looking a little perplexed.
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For some retirees, it may make sense to think beyond mutual funds and bonds for investment choices. Learn to choose the best investments for your goals. Other things to think about:

29. Spend your savings (safely)

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You want to have a clear plan in place for making your savings last, but experts are finding that many of today’s retirees simply aren’t spending enough.

There are so many questions. Good news: The Stanford Center on Longevity in collaboration with the Society of Actuaries has some answers. They analyzed 292 retirement income strategies and are recommending the “spend safely in retirement strategy” as the best way to spend in retirement.

Still worried about spending too much? Here are “9 Ways to Overcome the Terror of Spending Your Retirement Savings.”

30. Adjust to turning your perspective upside down

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Retirement is a big deal. Both your lifestyle and your finances almost do a 180-degree turn.

Your time is spent in leisure, not work, and you go from earning money to spending it. It is challenging to go from a focus on accumulation (saving, saving, saving) to spending (efficient use and drawdown of your assets).

Explore “6 Tips To Flip Your Mindset From Saving to Efficient Spending.”

31. Be social

Senior couple
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You may be retired, but working on creating and maintaining friendships is one of your most important “jobs” as a retired person.

Research abounds on the benefits of being social as we age. The links between healthy social relationships and better health are well established. One study from the Pennsylvania State University found that when social activities are linked to physical exercise, even more benefits are achieved.

And, it turns out that the opposite is also true. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that loneliness in older people may increase the chance of death by 14%. Psychologist John Cacioppo says that loneliness may have twice the impact on early death as obesity, and is as damaging as disadvantaged socioeconomic status.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, maintaining friendships is actually critical to your health and well-being.

You need people you can rely on emotionally and for real-life help. And, believe it or not, science says that you are way better off when you have people who rely on you!

32. Be social with people outside your age group

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It turns out that there are some powerful benefits to having younger (and older) pals — a sense of vitality, energy, different perspectives and more.

Get inspired by some beautiful stories of friendships across generations.

33. Choose the right time to start Social Security

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The later you start claiming Social Security, the more monthly income you will receive. You might be eligible to begin benefits at 62, but delaying the start of benefits can reap big rewards — especially if you are a woman.

Calculate your optimal start date and explore spousal benefit options before committing.

34. Come out of retirement for a career switch

senior woman white gray hair couch crunching numbers computer
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Three-quarters of Americans expect to work for as long as they can, and 39% say it’s because they like to work, according to a Bankrate Financial Literacy poll.

Many seniors make some kind of career change in retirement and work because they love what they are doing.

The additional income is good, but it is often the satisfaction of a job well done that keeps them working. There are many benefits to working past the traditional retirement age.

35. Hire a financial adviser

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You’ll need as much good advice after retirement as before. With a financial adviser, you’ll spend and save more wisely.

Research found that baby boomers who are working with a financial adviser are twice as confident about having sufficient savings for retirement as their peers who are planning retirement on their own.

Worried about what to expect? Be prepared — learn about all the questions you should ask a financial adviser, as well as what they are going to ask you.

36. Are you a family caregiver? Be careful to keep your own retirement on track

Old woman playing chess, with caregiver helping
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The costs of being a caregiver can be overwhelming. There is the extreme emotional turmoil, and there are also serious financial concerns — from money spent out of pocket and time spent caregiving instead of earning income.

While you may only be able to focus on how to help the person you are caring for, there are steps you can take to protect your own retirement.

You deserve the time it takes to care for your own self, too. Explore five tips for taking care of yourself.

37. Get a dog

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The research on the benefits of owning a dog is pretty overwhelming. Beyond emotional benefits such as their unconditional love for us, one study found that dog owners need fewer doctor visits. Another study from Australia found that pet owners had lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and a lower heart attack risk than people without pets.

Other research has suggested that caring for a dog, in particular, is healthful in that it keeps us vital and generally ensures that we get a walk every day. Here are six ways pets can improve your health.

38. Don’t stop budgeting

Senior couple reading

If you’ve saved well, you’ll want to be sure that your retirement funds last as long as you need them to. And if your finances are less than stellar, it’s even more important to budget, since you won’t have next week’s paycheck to supplement financial mistakes.

Willingness to be flexible with spending is “absolutely key” both before and during retirement, says Jon R. King, a certified financial planner with Austin, Texas-based Pegasus Financial Solutions.

“Spending before retirement is important because the less you spend, the more you save,” he says. “Cutting spending after retirement makes [your money] last longer.”

Here are “9 Tips for Estimating Retirement Expenses.”

39. Keep learning about finances

A senior video chats on a laptop computer on his living room sofa
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A survey suggests that financial literacy is lower than most people might expect. Fidelity asked more than 2,000 people — half of whom were between the ages of 55 and 65 and not retired — questions in eight different retirement categories.

On average, people got right a mere 30%. Absolutely nobody got all the questions correct, and the highest overall grade was 79%. Can you do better?

One way to improve your financial literacy is to create a detailed retirement plan and run many different scenarios. Here are more than 15 different things to try with your plans.

40. Be sure to plan your next big financial goal: your estate!

A senior black man plays with a child outdoors
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A big part of retirement planning is figuring out how much you can and want to leave behind to your heirs.

Do you know what your estate is likely to be? Have you created all the recommended documents and kept your paperwork up to date? Do you know what the average inheritance is or what the tax situation will be like? Find out by using the Retirement Planner! This is critically important.

Learn more in “6 Meaningful Ways to Leave a Financial Legacy to Your Heirs.”

41. Know your money personality type

A happy older shopper takes advantage of senior discounts
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For better or worse, your genes and your circumstances have conspired to create a money personality type.

Understanding your money attitudes and habits can be useful in creating a stronger financial future.

What is your money personality type?

42. Be realistic about what retirement will mean to your lifestyle

A senior couple drinks coffee and looks out a window of their home in the morning
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While many things about retirement are fairly universal, such as having lots of time to do what you want, some things might surprise you.

Boredom can be a big problem, especially for someone who is used to a busy pre-retirement life. Time isn’t necessarily fun when it’s spent in front of the TV wishing you had something else to do.

If you want to know how to be happy after retirement, explore our “Definitive Ranking of the 25 Best Ways to Spend Retirement.” Sure, there is no bad way to spend your days, but these things will contribute to your mental and physical well-being.

43. Continually optimize your health insurance

A senior woman at a doctor appointment
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It is important to re-evaluate your supplemental Medicare coverage every year. Insurance companies change policies, and your health changes, too.

Shopping for the best supplemental coverage can really save you money and improve your benefits, so compare your supplemental Medicare options.

44. Don’t forget to plan for a long-term care need

A senior woman looks out the window of her home
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You also want to look at ways to fund long-term care costs. Long-term care is not covered by Medicare or Medicare supplemental insurance.

And, research suggests that most people turning 65 today will need long-term care at some point. You need to plan for it!

45. Prepare for the awful things that are likely to happen

upset senior woman
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We all want a healthy, wealthy and happy retirement. But the reality is that awful things are probably going to happen.

Here are seven common tragedies that will likely happen in retirement, and how to deal with them all.

46. Throw a retirement party

three senior men white african american asian elder older Group Of Senior Retirement Discussion
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Retirement really is something to celebrate. And, if you have a good retirement plan, that is a major achievement — something to be really proud of.

Here are a few tips for throwing a really great retirement party.

47. Will a retirement survival pack help you have a happier retirement?

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From calendars to help you maintain a schedule to replacements for what you will miss from work, you’ll want to discover our “Retirement Survival Pack.” These services and products include books, apps and tools for staying physically and mentally healthy,

48. Watch a movie

Senior at the movie theater with popcorn
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Movies — like all art forms — can be a great way to explore important themes in your life.

Movies with themes of retirement and aging run the gamut from great animated choices to watch with your grandkids, to adult comedy and drama.

Here is a list of “86 Great Movies About Retirement and Aging.”

Is a movie too long or abstract? Try a TED Talk related to retirement!

49. Optimize your resources to maximize your income and protection from risks

A senior Asian couple uses a laptop computer at home
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One of the key reasons that the very rich hire financial planners is that they can help optimize resources — make small tradeoffs — to dramatically improve a client’s overall wealth and security.

Through education, innovation and access to retirement products and strategies, NewRetirement hopes to provide that same level of holistic planning to the average retiree.

Examples of small tradeoffs that make a big difference include:

  • Delaying the start of their Social Security benefits can mean an additional 30% in monthly income.
  • Buying a lifetime annuity or long-term care insurance may mean less total savings are required for retirement.
  • Working longer can be the difference between making ends meet and not.

50. Reverse your retirement

Senior man in job interview
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According to a Federal Reserve Board study, a full third of Americans who retire eventually reverse that retirement and return to work on either a full- or part-time basis.

The most common reasons that people go back to work are somewhat dependent on income levels. People with less income usually go back to work to boost their cash flow. Retirees of the highest income levels go back to work because they want to take advantage of their skills and make more money.

Whatever your reason, here is more information about reversing your retirement.

51. Get out and do something amazing — it is not too late

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Walking away from the 9-to-5 opens up a world of opportunity for you. You can do anything and become anything that you want.

If you’ve always wondered what would have happened if your life had taken a different turn, this is your golden opportunity to make that turn and see what happens.

Older people are doing amazing things. They hike the Pacific Coast Trail, take up skydiving and go back to school.

It will be exciting to see what new retirees accomplish. Older Americans today are more long-lived and vibrant than those of the past.

Even so, there have been many notable accomplishments and amazing feats by people well into their 60s, 70s and 80s. At age 65, the man known as Colonel Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken, and at 90, Pablo Picasso was still actively producing art.

Retirement does not need to be about retiring from the world.

52. Cut housing costs

Senior woman outside home
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Housing is the most expensive budget item for most households. Your home is probably also your most valuable asset.

As such, optimizing your housing to best achieve your retirement plan is critical to your retirement success.

A few ideas for cutting housing costs in retirement include:

  • Home-sharing — think “Golden Girls” and reduce costs by living with friends.
  • Downsizing — downsizing can be the most efficient way to tap your home equity.
  • Getting a reverse mortgage — there are many pros and cons to a reverse mortgage.
  • Purchasing a home with a reverse mortgage — find out how an HECM for Purchase works.
  • Moving to a retiree-friendly location.
  • Selling your house to travel or retire abroad.
  • Exploring senior housing options. Could you live in a tiny house? What about getting a roommate?

53. Learn a new skill

Senior woman on computer
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If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to play the piano or build a cabinet, there’s no better time than after you retire. Forbes says you could even take on several new skills every year.

54. Get a retirement coach

Senior raising a finger to his lips
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Using a life coach for retirement might sound crazy. But, it’s not.

While some people prepare for the financial aspects of retirement, it is not clear how many people develop clear plans for the nonfinancial aspects. Both are important.

A financial adviser or an online retirement planner can help you with your finances. A retirement coach can help you be mentally and emotionally prepared for what happens when your career ends.

55. Follow the lessons of healthy 90-year-olds

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The University of California Irvine is heading a celebrated research project documenting what factors determine who lives past age 90. Here are some of their findings:

  • Smokers die earlier than nonsmokers.
  • People who exercise live longer than those who do not. As little as 15 minutes a day makes a difference; 45 minutes a day is best.
  • Nonphysical activities are also important. Think book clubs, meeting friends for coffee, crossword puzzles.
  • Vitamins do not seem to make a difference.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with living longer. Up to two alcoholic drinks a day leads to a 10% to 15% reduced risk of death.
  • Coffee is good too — one to three cups a day.
  • People who are average weight or slightly overweight seem to live longer than those who are underweight.

If you want to know more about this retirement research, “60 Minutes” did an excellent report on “Living to 90 and Beyond.”

56. Think about college in a whole new way

A senior black man poses for a photo at his college graduation
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Most people go to college to meet a goal, not for personal enrichment. Taking a college class or a few classes after you retire is a whole different experience.

There’s less pressure to get each class under your belt and move ahead. You might actually enjoy criminal justice or cultural anthropology now that they aren’t things you must take in order to earn a degree.

57. Start a retirement planning club

Seniors in a restaurant
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We all need help with our retirement plans, but very few of us turn to friends for that support.

A retirement club — kind of like a book club where you discuss retirement topics instead of novels — can provide an ideal and friendly forum for helping you have a more secure future. Learn how to get started. Or, try a retirement book club.

58. Forget retirement — take a long vacation instead

Seniors Hawaii
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The road to retirement is changing dramatically, with older Americans delaying full retirement by taking a long vacation, or a work sabbatical, for a period of time and then rejoining the workforce — often by switching careers.

Explore the pros and cons of sabbaticals before full retirement.

59. Keep making 5-year plans

Retirees playing cards
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Goal-setting isn’t just for twenty-somethings. The more you plan for the future, the more you’ll get out of your retirement. Brainstorming over your next move in life can be a great way to spend Sunday morning coffee time.

Just make sure your plans and goals keep in sync with your retirement finances. Keep using retirement calculators or your financial adviser to stay on track.

60. Not yet retired? Do some catch-up savings

Senior man with piggybank
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Catch-up contributions are the IRS’s way of making it easier for savers age 50 and above to tuck away enough retirement savings.

You probably already know that there’s a limit to how much you’re allowed to save in tax-advantaged retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k) plans. Well, once you reach age 50, you’re allowed to make additional “catch-up” contributions over and above those annual contribution limits.

Learn more about catch-up limits and how to take advantage of them.

61. Getting older? Be sure to take your RMD!

Seniors working on taxes
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RMD stands for required minimum distribution. When you reach a certain age, you are required to regularly withdraw a minimum amount from your IRAs and 401(k) plans or face a huge tax penalty.

Until recently, RMDs were required by everyone at age 70½. However, in late 2019, Congress passed the Secure Act, which increased the age after which you must begin taking RMDs to 72.

RMDs can be great retirement income, but they may trigger higher taxes. Here are “6 Strategies to Manage Required Minimum Distributions.”

62. Think of yourself as young

Attractive senior woman
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“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?” — Satchel Paige

Paige, a renowned Black baseball player in the early 20th century, may have had it right. In studies conducted over four decades, Harvard psychology professor Ellen Langer showed that mental attitude can reverse the effects of aging and improve physical health.

Langer proved time and time again that age is truly a mindset and not a number. If you think of yourself as young, you can be young.

The right mental attitude can help reverse the effects of aging and improve physical health.

63. Stay inquisitive about the world around you

retirement questions
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It’s easy to become isolated and fall into a rut after you retire. Keeping a curious mind will allow you to really enjoy learning how the world works.

64. Plan for a longer and healthier life in retirement

Senior Couple
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In the 1950s, people retiring at age 65 usually lived until 78. Today’s retirees can expect an average lifespan of 83 or 84 years — which means that half of you will likely live longer than that.

Your expanded lifespan means many things:

  • Your retirement savings will need to last longer.
  • Your overall health-related costs will be higher now than ever before.
  • You will need to plan for different phases of retirement — each with its own financial requirements.

Use a retirement calculator to find out how long your money will last.

Instead of being a time for slowing down, retirement could very well be the doorway you walk through to a whole new experience.

Strive for an active, inspiring, fulfilling life where you’ll learn new things, listen to new music, dance new steps, and embrace the things that you already love.

If you find that you’ve got a million excuses about why you can’t do this or that, maybe it’s time for a change of perspective.

So, you aren’t physically able to hike? Chances are you can take a walk on the beach. You get the idea.

With a strong mind, healthy body and a well-laid plan, you can look forward to a happy retirement instead of allowing it to surprise you in some good, and not-so-good, ways.

By taking control of how you approach it, you’ll have a much better chance of creating your retirement instead of just allowing life to happen to you.

65. Think about the big picture

A happy senior man gives his wife a piggyback ride outdoors
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It is easy to worry about getting older. Did your golf game not go as planned this afternoon? Has your knee faltered for a second (or third) time? No doubt: It’s a bummer.

However, instead of focusing on the bad, be sure that you are doing and experiencing things that make a positive impact. Bring joy to other people. Be inspiring. Do something memorable.

Sure, retirement is your time. Just keep the big picture in mind and be sure to leave behind a little inspiration.