To help provide for a fulfilling retirement, it is important to invest in the right things. When we first think about retirement investment decisions, 401(k)s , IRAs, pensions, and Social Security benefits come to mind. Each of these retirement benefits requires us to carefully analyze what is right for our situation based on our risk tolerance and desired rate of return. But as we focus on growing our nest eggs, many of us are missing an important area to invest.
With all of our attention focused on identifying the best investment vehicles, we may overlook one investment that plays an important role in our long-term security and happiness: Investing in you. Even if you accumulate more money than you could ever spend, you won’t have an enjoyable retirement without health and happiness. And this investment isn’t dependent on the vicissitudes of the economy. Here’s how to invest in your retirement happiness:
1. Understand what makes you happy and excited about living. Call it your passion or purpose in life, but find out what it is. Once you discover what inspires and drives you, you can focus your efforts accordingly. Chasing something you love is often personally satisfying because each step along the way is doing what you enjoy.
2. Continue to strive to be a better person. Personal struggles and resolutions don’t end in retirement. Figure out areas where there is still room for you to improve. Can you move beyond a grudge held too long and thereby brighten your outlook? Do you have skills or abilities that can be passed on to future generations? Identify problem areas and devise a plan to fix them.
3. Keep up with your check-ups. If you are to stay in top-performing shape, you need to invest time and effort in staying healthy. Regular visits to your physician, dentist, and eye doctor help to keep you in good running shape. Also, take advantage of modern advancements that can improve your quality of life. Don’t struggle for years to hear and understand what others are saying rather than get a hearing aid. Use technology to your advantage.
4. Set goals and work toward achieving them. It’s important to keep learning new things in retirement. Some people take formal classes at a specific time each day, while others learn better by reading or doing. It can help to set a goal and regularly evaluate your progress toward achieving your target.
5. Stay positive. When you look in the mirror, is there anything you see that you don’t like beyond maybe a few wrinkles? As a retiree, you have years and years ahead of you to enjoy life. Don’t let boredom or loneliness creep into your retirement years. Take some time to relax, and then find a hobby or activity that excites you.
Dave Bernard is not yet retired but has begun his due diligence to plan for a fulfilling retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.