Possibly the best lessons on what to do to ensure a happy retirement come from those who have got things right and are now enjoying the fruits of their good sense and wise planning.
Patrick Sheehy, head of product management at Glacier by Sanlam, says a recent report revealed striking similarities in retirees’ recipes for a happy retirement.
“The one big theme that came through was planning: planning financially (and saving for retirement as early as possible) and planning to ensure good medical treatment. But, interestingly, the retirees all recommend planning for the ‘fun’ side of life too – having a plan for how you are going to fill your days and get the most out of this special time.”
The four major common ingredients in the respondents’ recipes are:
Financial Security – Money is only one ingredient of a happy retirement, but it’s an important one. Those who had regrets usually lamented spending too lavishly and not saving enough when they were younger. 75% of the respondents were aware that they needed to reinvest the lump sum they received on retiring. In addition, Glacier by Sanlam suggests you should draw up a retirement budget, consider taking on part-time work to supplement retirement income and regularly review how you are spending your income.
Good health – staying in good physical and mental health is pivotal to enjoying retirement to the full. Almost all the retirees cited health as their primary concern. Healthy eating, regular exercise and exercising the brain by learning to play an instrument, solving puzzles or reading can help ward off dementia.
Staying Connected – All the retirees interviewed agreed that meaningful connections are crucial to a happy retirement. Many were active in the community as ward councillors, teachers, consultants, members of police forums and volunteers. Other ways to stay connected are to join sports clubs or societies and spend time with your partner, children, grandchildren or friends.
A positive outlook – although they take great pleasure in seeing their children and grandchildren, retirees are not sitting around waiting for the younger generations to take a break from their busy schedules and drop in. They are leading fulfilling lives, enjoying activities such as: a daily surf (70 year old woman), starting a jazz band (65 year old man), finishing a master’s degree in astrophysics (61 year old man) and travelling to Mauritius and Morocco (60-80 year olds).