Saturday, July 13, 2024

98 Tips for a Healthy, Wealthy and Happy Retirement

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Happy retired couple – Yuri A /

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, wealthy, and happy retirement.

A happy retirement is no longer really 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 retirement 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

Early retiree reading with granddaughter
fizkes /

Make every day meaningful.

Oxford University suggests that a meaningful life lessens the effects of aging. And, research from Patrick Hill and Nicholas Turiano found that people who have a sense or 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 like age, gender, and emotional well-being.

The study found that a sense of purpose led to a longer life. Explore six ways to find meaning and purpose for retirement.

2. Create the Most Complete Retirement Plan Possible

Retirees with financial adviser
RossHelen /

Most people have lived their lives day to day, month to month, year to year.

However, retirement is the time to have the best and most complete 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.

Online retirement planning tools can help you plan.

However, be careful of simple retirement calculators. Those can be good for quick answers, but aren’t reliable enough for financial security.

Working with a financial adviser is another excellent way to achieve your goals.

3. Overcome the Terror of Spending Your Nest Egg

Golden eggs representing IRA, 401k, and Roth IRA.
Jason York /

Terror about retirement spending is not uncommon.

In fact, most people are worried about spending their nest egg and running out of money. After all, you have been conditioned for decades to earn, not spend.

If you are worried, here are nine ways to overcome the terror of tapping retirement savings.

4. Worried? Get Reassurances

Worried seniors reviewing bills

It is perfectly normal to feel worried about your retirement plans. You don’t want to retire and only later discover that you overlooked something or made a mistake.

Advice: Collaborate with a financial professional from NewRetirement Advisors to identify and achieve your goals. Book a free discovery session.

5. Imagine Your Future

Senior man pondering a question
Roman Samborskyi /

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

6. Make Friends With Your Future Self

Older woman sharing retirement and life advice online
shurkin_son /

Hopefully you like the person you are now. And, if all goes well, you will like the person you’ll be in the future.

Cultivating a friendship with a version of who you will be as you age, helps you gain a sense of direction, motivation, and accountability.

Furthermore, you can tap into their wisdom and resilience, enabling you to overcome challenges and make more informed decisions.

Here are tips for making friends with your future self.

7. Think Health, Not Wealth

Happy retired couple
Spotmatik Ltd /

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

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 mentally are great ways to maintain your mental health.

Additionally, it is important to plan for how to fund health care costs. 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 these costs into their retirement planning.

8. Trade Time for Money

Worried saver
Algonga /

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.

How you spend your time is probably more important to your retirement happiness and before as how much money you save and earn.

Don’t overlook the value of your time – how you spend it, where, and with whom – in your retirement planning.

Here are 23 ways to cut costs so that you can be rich in time!

9. Volunteer and Feel Great

A tour guide leads a group
Tyler Olson /

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

According to an study, 55% of Americans believe 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.

10. Want Health in Retirement? Make Exercise Fun

Robert Kneschke /

Try making exercise something you look forward to instead of something you have to do. Instead of walking (trudging) on a treadmill, take walks through the park or go for mini hikes.

Still does not appeal to you? Why not listen to music 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 the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab found that those who think they are having fun while exercising end up eating less than those who are doing it for exercise.

11. If Walking Is Your Exercise, Walk Fast

Retirees enjoying a walk outdoors
Monkey Business Images /

Many research studies have found that how fast you walk after age 60 is a good gauge of longevity. Apparently, your walking speed can be a predictor of dementia, shorter life spans, and depression.

About 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.”

12. Think Income, Not Investments

Retirement savings
pinkomelet /

Esteemed economists like Nobel Prize winner Robert Merton have said that it is more important to estimate and plan for your retirement income needs than worry about investments and how much you need for retirement.

He recommended 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 to live at 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.

13. Leave Behind More Wealth Than You Had When You First Retired

Retiree with money
Africa Studio /

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 his advice – with eight tips – for having more money at 80 than he did when he retired.

Want to do it yourself? Here is general advice for becoming a millionaire … AFTER retirement!

14. Create and Maintain a Comprehensive Investment Strategy

investment advice
wavebreakmedia /

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.

15. Don’t Overlook Taxes

Senior couple studying finances or taxes or financial paperwork
PattyPhoto /

When it comes to your retirement planning, 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 be a bigger swing in your wealth than investment returns.

Here are 25 tips for retirement taxes.

16. Keep a Schedule, and 7 Other Overlooked Retirement Skills To Follow

Man on the phone looks at his computer
Evgeny Atamanenko /

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 eight overlooked skills for a happy retirement: resiliency, sociability, budgeting, motivation, and more!

17. Research the Best Places To Retire, and Go There

Happy senior retiree living abroad in a tropical area
SueC /

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 a 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 Destination Checklist.

18. Make Your Travel Dreams a Reality

Woman unpacking her suitcase in a hotel room
JLco Julia Amaral /

According to surveys of NewRetirement users, knowing how to have a happy 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.”

Achieving what you want out of retirement can be a matter of setting a goal and then prioritizing that goal above everything else.

19. Think Positively About Aging

Older women traveling in retirement on vacation – Yuri A /

“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, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale University, shows that actress Sophia Loren was onto something.

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

  • Function at a higher level.
  • Live 7.5 years longer.
  • Are more likely to eat well, exercise and avoid vices.

20. Some Researchers Think Aging Is … Optional?

active senior couple – Yuri A /

David Sinclair is a Harvard professor who made Time magazine’s list of 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!

21. Avoid Retirement Depression (It’s More Common Than You Might Think)

LGBT senior couple same sex gay
LightField Studios /

A study published in the Journal of Population Ageing found that those who were retired were about twice as 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.

22. Spend Time With the Grandkids

Grandfather and granddaughter play a game together

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 play time with them can help you stay healthier. Active play doesn’t have to mean that you’ll climb a tree, but you can play other games and go on outings together.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) says spending time with the little ones you love is also great for bonding.

23. Have You Found Your Ikigai?

Happy retirees outdoors
sirtravelalot /

The residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa 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.

24. Make Sure Your Retirement Planning Includes Your Spouse and Loved Ones

Retirement planner works with a couple /

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 one(s). Just make sure you use a retirement calculator for couples.

Here are important retirement planning topics to tackle with your spouse.

25. Single? Here Are Tips for You

Senior woman holding a piggy bank
Anatoliy Cherkas /

Whether by circumstances or choice, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that almost a third of men (31%) and more than half of women (55%) are unmarried at age 65 or older, most often due to the death of a spouse.

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.

26. If You Have a Health Setback, Adopt a Positive Outlook

Health aide or caregiver helping senior in a retirement home or nursing home
Ground Picture /

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.

27. Find a Motto for Your Retirement and Put It on Your Refrigerator

Retired couple
Rido /

Keeping your retirement goals front and center is important. Some people write down their goals, 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 it up on your refrigerator.

Maybe you could write your retirement manifesto.

28. Protect Yourself From Fraud

Retired couple
iJeab /

Seniors are an all too common targets of fraud, which is one form of elder abuse.

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 seven ways to protect yourself from investment fraud.

29. Stay Married – Especially If You Are a Man

Retired Asian couple in casual attire
Monkey Business Images /

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.

Even though you might spend every day together once you retire, having a regular date night with your spouse is something different and special that can keep a relationship strong.

30. Devote Time to Retirement Planning — Even After You Retire

Retired couple
sirtravelalot /

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.

Planning, 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.

Consider the importance of a quarterly retirement plan review!

31. Don’t Let Retirement Taxes Get You Down

Worried senior couple
wavebreakmedia /

For most people, taxes are the opposite of a happy retirement. In fact, according to Pew Research, 56% of Americans hate or dislike doing taxes.

(Although, there are actually 5% of people who love it. Who are these crazy people?)

If you would rather spend less money on retirement taxes, it is a good idea to plan ahead to minimize this expense.

32. Spend Your Savings (Safely!)

broken nest egg
Todd Taulman Photography /

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 (SOA) has some answers.

Researchers there analyzed 292 retirement income strategies and recommend the “spend safely in retirement strategy” as the best way to spend in retirement.

33. Adjust To Turning Your Perspective Upside Down

Retired man
Chaay_Tee /

Retirement is a big deal. Both your lifestyle and your finances do an almost 180-degree turn when you retire. Your time is suddenly spent in leisure, not work, and you go from earning money to spending.

It can be challenging to go from a focus on accumulation (saving, saving, saving) to spending (efficient use and drawdown of your assets).

Explore six tips to flip your mindset from saving to efficient spending. Or, if you are worried about retirement, try changing your perspective!

34. Be Social

Rich retirees
UfaBizPhoto /

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 the social activities are linked to physical exercise, even more benefits are achieved.

And, it turns out that the opposite is also true. Researchers found that loneliness in older people may significantly increase the chance of death.

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!

35. Be Social With People Outside Your Age Group

Multi-generational family in a park relaxing and talking
Monkey Business Images /

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

Get inspired by some beautiful stories of friendships across generations.

36. Choose the Right Time To Start Social Security

Social Security timing clock
Steve Heap /

The later you start 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.

Learn how to apply for Social Security and get 15 easy tips for making the right Social Security decision.

37. Buy Happiness

Senior woman happy about Social Security increase
UlianaG /

Yep. Money actually can buy happiness.

From buying time (i.e., spending money on time-saving services like a house cleaner, gardener, or delivery services) to investing in experiences, there are multiple ways that you can spend money to achieve retirement happiness.

Learn about 11 ways to prioritize your retirement spending for well-being.

38. Know Your Best Years May Be Yet To Come

Social Security advisor
Iakov Filimonov /

This is likely to surprise you. I was kind of shocked. But, a few years ago researchers identified the two ages in an adult’s life when you are likely to be at your happiest.

Experts from the London School of Economics and Political Science found that happiness peaks at the ages of 23 and 69.

Whoa! Sixty-nine! That is older than many of us.

Learn more about the surprising age when happiness peaks.

39. Are You a Family Caregiver? Be Careful To Keep Your Own Retirement on Track

Woman with a child dancing in a kitchen
fizkes /

The costs of being a caregiver can be overwhelming.

There is the extreme emotional turmoil, but there are also serious financial concerns — from money spent out of pocket and from time spent caregiving instead of earning income.

While you may only be able to think about 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.

40. Get a Dog

Cat and dog
New Africa /

The research on the benefits of owning a dog is pretty overwhelming. Beyond emotional benefits like their unconditional love of 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 insures that we get a walk every day. Here are six ways pets can improve your health.

41. Don’t Stop Budgeting

Surprised senior looking at bill
Grusho Anna /

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, certified financial planner with Austin, Texas-based Pegasus Financial Solutions, LLC.

“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 nine tips for predicting your retirement expenses.

42. Keep Learning About Finances

Couple saving for retirement
Andrey_Popov /

A recent survey suggests that financial literacy is lower than even most people might expect. Fidelity asked more than 2,000 people — half who were between the ages of 55 and 65 and not retired — questions in eight different retirement categories.

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

Resources for learning:

  • Read books about retirement, aging, and personal finance.
  • Watch relevant TED Talks.
  • Follow trusted YouTube retirement experts like Joe Kuhn and Rob Berger.
  • Attend a class.
  • Join a group. Try the NewRetirement Facebook or Reddit group. (Even if you don’t ask a question or comment, you’ll learn by hearing what other people have to say.)
  • Listen to a podcast.

43. Be Sure To Plan Your Next Big Financial Goal: Your Estate!

Older woman works on her finances
stockfour /

A big part of retirement planning is figuring out how much you can and want to leave behind to heirs.

Do you know what your estate is likely to be? And, have you created all the recommended documents and kept your paperwork up to date? Find out by using the Retirement Planner! This is critically important.

Learn more about what is the average inheritance, meaningful ways to leave a financial legacy to heirs and estate taxes.

44. Know Your Money Personality Type

same sex gay LGBTQ couple

For better and worse, your genes and your circumstances have conspired to create a money personality type.

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

What is your money personality type?

45. Be Realistic About What Retirement Will Mean to Your Lifestyle

Stressed retiree doing budgeting and paying bills
Elnur /

While many things are fairly universal for retirees, 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 to do.

If you want to know how to be happy after retirement? Explore 120 things to do in retirement.

46. Continually Optimize Your Health Insurance

Female doctor seeing a senior patient
aslysun /

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.

47. Don’t Forget To Plan for a Long-Term Care Need

older disabled in wheelchair with pill
Chatchawal Phumkaew /

You also want to look at ways to fund long-term health care costs. Long-term care is not covered by Medicare or Medicare supplemental insurance.

And, research suggests that at least 52% of people turning 65 today will need long-term care at some point.

You need to plan for it!

48. Prepare for the Awful Things That Are Likely To Happen

unhappy shocked older couple
Inside Creative House /

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

Here are 21 things that might go wrong and how to deal with them all.

49. Throw a Retirement Party

Retired friends – Yuri A /

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.

50. Will a Retirement Survival Pack Help You Have a Happier Retirement?

senior couple working on budget
Lena Evans /

From calendars to help you maintain a schedule to replacements for what you will miss from work, plus books, apps and tools for staying physically and mentally healthy, discover a retirement survival pack.

51. Watch a Movie

Robert Kneschke /

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 movies related to retirement and aging. Is a movie too long or abstract? Try a TED Talk related to retirement!

52. Optimize Your Resources To Maximize Your Income and Protection From Risks

Retiree making legal documents
DiMedia /

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 the 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 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.

53. Keep Working or Reverse Your Retirement

senior woman in a headset working at home office on a laptop.
nimito /

Retirement, retirement jobs, reversing retirement. The trends toward older people working fell through the pandemic, but more older Americans are again reconsidering staying in their job or re-entering the workforce.

Paychex estimates that 1 in 6 retirees are considering going back to work. And, 75% of Americans expect to be employed for as long as they can, with 39% saying it’s because they like to work, according to a Bankrate Financial Literacy poll.

And, according to a Federal Reserve Board study, a full one-third of those who retire eventually reverse retirement and return to work on either a full or part time basis.

Whatever the data says, many seniors make some kind of career change and work because they find something they love doing. The additional income is good, but it is often the satisfaction of a job well done that keeps them working. There are so many benefits to working past the traditional retirement age.

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.

No matter your reason, here is more information about reversing your retirement.

54. Know That Your 50s and 60s Are the Best Time To Start a Business

Senior man working in agriculture
aslysun /

Forget the stereotype of the 20-something wunderkind. The vast majority of successful entrepreneurs are over 50. There are tons of surprising facts about entrepreneurship later in life.

Explore 12 business ideas for the over-50s.

55. Get Out and Do Something Amazing — It’s Not Too Late

Senior couple in convertible
AlessandroBiascioli /

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.

Regular 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 today’s retirees accomplish. Older Americans today are more 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, 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.

56. Cut Housing Costs

tiny house
ppa /

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:

  • 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 the HECM for purchase works.
  • Moving to a retiree-friendly location — Bankrate has a list of the best states for retirement.
  • Selling your house to travel or retire abroad — here is a list of the world’s best places to retire.
  • Exploring senior housing options
  • Could you live in a tiny house?
  • What about getting a roommate? Think “Golden Girls” and reduce costs by living with friends.

57. Try This if You Aren’t Sure It’s Time To Retire

Shrugging senior confused and worried /

Some of us can’t wait to retire and do so as early as possible. Others are not so sure about life without work.

Reluctant retirees might be worried about money or they might be concerned that they will just really miss work. The fear of missing out (FOMO) can be strong for both work and leisure.

If you want a happy retirement, you need to leave the workforce at the right time for you.

Here are nine exercises to help you decide if it is time to call it quits.

58. Don’t Wait for Retirement To Be Happy: Thrive in the Transition

Group of senior women – Yuri A /

The transition to retirement can be a time of feeling a little stuck. These types of in-between times can be difficult in that you are waiting for something to happen. You are neither here nor there.

Here are eight tips for to help you thrive no matter your stage of life — but especially if you are in one of those awkward in-between phases.

59. Follow the Lessons of Healthy 90-Year-Olds

Healthy retiree
oneinchpunch /

UC Irvine is heading a celebrated research project that is documenting what factors determine who will live 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 drinks a day leads to a 10%-15% reduced risk of death.
  • Coffee is good too — 1 to 3 cups a day.
  • Gain a little weight — people who are average 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 it called “Living to 90 and Beyond.”

60. Think About College in a Whole New Way

Senior in classroom raising hand to ask a question while looking at a laptop
Milan Ilic Photographer /

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 learning about criminal justice or cultural anthropology now that it’s not something you must take in order to earn a degree.

61. Start a Retirement Planning Club

happy older women
Jacob Lund /

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.

62. Forget Retirement — Take a Long Vacation Instead

Senior couple traveling by RV
sirtravelalot /

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

Explore the pros and cons of sabbaticals before full retirement.

63. Keep Making 5-Year Plans

Senior couple making financial plans
Dragon Images /

Goal-setting isn’t just for 20-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.

64. Not Yet Retired? Do Some Catch-Up Savings

Saving money on a phone plan
fizkes /

Catch-up contributions are the IRS’s way of making it easier for savers ages 50 and up 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 account such as IRAs and 401(k)s. 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.

65. Getting Older? Be Sure To Take Your RMD!

Senior man holding money /

RMD stands for “required minimum distribution.” When you reach a certain age, you are required to withdraw a minimum amount each year from your IRAs and 401(k)s or get a huge tax penalty.

Until recently, RMDs were required by everyone at age 70 ½ or 72. However, in late 2022, Congress passed the Secure Act 2.0 as part of the omnibus spending bill that increased the RMD age to 73 in 2023, raising it to 75 in 2033.

RMDs can be great retirement income but often trigger higher taxes. Here are six strategies for managing these withdrawals to minimize taxes.

66. Think of Yourself as Young

Happy senior man laughing in a park on a sunny day feeling joyful and relaxed in retirement
IndianFaces /

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

Satchel Paige 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 reverse the effects of aging and improve physical health.

67. Stay Inquisitive About the World Around You

Happy senior couple photographers in Arizona at Horseshoe Bend
In The Light Photography /

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.

Curious people are always asking questions and searching for answers — meaning that the brain is getting a workout and staying strong.

68. Plan for a Longer and Healthier Life in Retirement

Happy retiree on a beach
wavebreakmedia /

In the 1950s, people retiring at age 65 lived until 78. Today’s retirees can expect an average lifespan of 83 or 84 years — which means that about half of you could live even 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.

69. Think About Your Death

Unhappy senior man
lara-sh /

What? Yes, you read that correctly.

An essay published in The New York Times made the case that thinking about your death can make you happier. The idea is to think about your daily choices as if this year were your last year.

The research indicates that using death to help prioritize how you use your time actually improves your satisfaction and overall happiness with your choices.

And if you are worried that thinking about death is too depressing, the opposite may be true.

Researchers have found that contemplating mortality can actually make you funnier — a study report in the journal Humor is titled “Joking in the face of death: A terror management approach to humor production.”

70. Reimagine How You Travel

retired couple in Europe
CroMary /

The beauty of retirement is that you have time. You do not have a clock to punch or other specific demands on your days. As such, you can plan travel with practically unlimited time.

Done right, this can save you money and be much more enjoyable.

Imagine you wanted to see Spain and Italy. When working, you either have to see very little of each place in a short period of time or take two trips.

Two trips are double the airfare, and if you are trying to squeeze it all into one trip, then you might be paying a premium for hotels close to the things you want to see and other conveniences that make seeing everything possible.

Everything is different in retirement. You can take two months and see two, three or more locations in one trip — dramatically reducing your airfare costs.

And with time, you can rent apartments or other lower-cost accommodations, cook some meals in your rented home, walk instead of taking taxis — all of which can dramatically decrease your daily spending and also enable you to really enjoy being in the location instead of rushing to pack it all in.

71. Develop a Multiple-Year Roth Conversion Strategy

Roth IRA
FabrikaSimf /

A Roth conversion is when you take money that you have in a traditional 401(k) or IRA account and move it into a Roth 401(k) or IRA.

Roth conversions can sometimes really save you money on taxes, but they could also cost you. It all depends on your circumstances.

There are a large number of criteria to consider and ultimately, your decisions about Roth strategies will come down to what is right for you and your goals, the assumptions you make about your future, and your current and future income and investments.

72. Beware of Oversaving

Unappy saver
Aaron Amat /

It is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Saving too much is more common than you might think. It is not quite as common as not saving enough, but it happens.

Oversaving often stems from wanting to be prepared for any and all possible future scenarios and a fear of running out of money. It can also be an ingrained habit.

It can be difficult to transition from a lifelong practice of saving to spending on yourself and your dreams.

Learn more about why people save too much and assess advice from others who have oversaved.

73. Shake Things Up

Happy senior couple on bikes enjoying retirement in the countryside
FS Stock /

The chance to kick back and relax without having a daily to-do list hanging over one’s head is one of the great benefits of retirement.

But a steady diet of relaxation — or adhering too closely to any daily pattern for that matter — can lead to boredom and a sense of listlessness. Which is why it’s important to find ways to break out of the usual routine and spice things up occasionally.

That could involve something as simple as taking a spur-of-the-moment road trip, trying out a new hobby, attending local cultural events, sampling new cuisines, etc.

Or, you could try something a bit more radical to push you out of your comfort zone, what about living abroad for a month, year or forever!

Trying new things is one of the proven strategies to stay young and happy.

74. Retire! Even if You Haven’t Saved Enough

Happy retired couple traveling
sirtravelalot /

Look, savings are just one way to achieve a secure retirement. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of different levers that can be used to pull off financial independence in your 50s, 60s and beyond.

You can take on a retirement job, move abroad, drastically reduce spending at home, tap into home equity and more.

Explore 10 ways to retire securely, even if you think you haven’t saved enough.

75. Stop Negative Self-Talk About Money

Retiree with money
wong yu liang /

Money is a highly emotional topic.

And, there is a lot of guilt, shame, worry and regret around personal finance. These negative emotions are too often present in our internal dialogue.

Stopping negative self-talk about money is essential for promoting a healthy and positive mindset towards your financial situation.

Be aware of what you are saying to yourself and challenge any negative beliefs. Focus instead on what you are doing well.

76. Be Aware of IRMAA

Medicare and You booklet
George Sheldon /

If you have enough wealth, your Medicare costs — specifically your premiums — might be more than you had bargained for.

Not everyone knows this, but there are Medicare surcharges (officially called Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount, or IRMAA) that correspond to income brackets. It is the highest-earning 5% of Medicare recipients who pay more for their health coverage.

Learn more about IRMAA.

77. Develop Micro Financial Habits

Senior man holding money
Prostock-studio /

You probably floss your teeth each morning and/or evening. And, maybe you park farther away from your destination to get more steps in or make your bed every morning to get a good start on the day.

Those are micro habits that improve your health and general productivity.

But, what are the micro habits you can practice to improve your financial well-being?

Here are 17 micro financial habits that should be easy to adopt. Some are best to do daily, others could be practiced weekly, monthly or even quarterly.

78. Use Tools To Make Good Financial Decisions

Happy senior getting income tax breaks
buritora /

Some sources estimate that we make an astounding 35,000 decisions per day. That works out to roughly 2,000 choices per waking hour.

Fortunately, most of those decisions (what to eat for breakfast or what shoes to wear) are made quickly and instinctively. However, there are many life choices that merit a much more thorough approach.

In particular, financial decision-making benefits from deep analysis, careful research, and keeping emotions in check.

Here are more tips for great financial decision-making.

79. Be Wary of Your Emotions

senior man meditating or doing yoga at a lake in the mountains in retirement
Ground Picture /

Stress. Loss. Fear. Greed. Shame. Envy.

Optimism. Confidence. Enrichment.

Those are some of the common emotions that can steer you toward the wrong financial decision. The supposedly good emotions can be as damaging as the negative ones.

Daniel Kahneman, author of “Thinking, Fast and Slow” and his follow up, “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment,” said, “People are very loss averse and very optimistic.”

He points out how these emotions work against each other in a particularly damaging way. Because people are optimistic, they don’t realize how bad the odds are.

80. Get Rid of Stuff You Don’t Need

Couple moving to a new home
NDAB Creativity /

You have probably heard the stories, the millennials don’t want your stuff.

Young adults today live in smaller houses, they buy used and are more into experiences than antiques, heirlooms, old desks, books or porcelain.

So, you don’t have to hold onto it all for them. And, you may emotionally benefit from cleaning it all out.

However, the real benefit of sifting through your stuff is not just the joy that professional tidying expert Marie Kondo preaches, you may find that the upside is downsizing your home!

Learn more about the benefits of decluttering.

81. Consider Securing a Home Equity Loan Before Retirement

Home equity loan
Andy Dean Photography /

A home equity loan, also known as a second mortgage, is a type of loan that allows homeowners to borrow money using the equity in their homes as collateral.

Equity is the difference between the current market value of your home and the outstanding balance on your mortgage.

Getting a loan before you retire, a milestone that many people believe should be debt-free, may seem controversial. However, depending on your financial circumstances, a home equity loan may be a smart financial move.

The money in the loan can give you financial flexibility. And, you won’t pay interest on the loan if you don’t use it.

Learn more…

82. Set Goals and Understand Your Values

Senior couple making retirement plans with adviser
Alexander Raths /

Retirement is an exciting time. You want to set both financial and lifestyle goals that reflect your values.

When setting up your comprehensive retirement plan, you’ll want to consider if you are planning for wealth creation, minimizing taxes and optimizing every dollar, protecting your financial well-being from risks, spending for happiness, or some combination of the above.

There is no right goal for a retirement plan, just what is right for you.

83. Talk About Financial and Retirement Plans With Your Friends

Seniors cooking a healthy meal
wavebreakmedia /

Peer pressure does not end in middle school. We feel the pressure as parents, in the workplace and sometimes even about when we will retire or what to do in retirement.

However, peer pressure is not always bad. Peer pressure can also encourage us to adopt better habits and make better decisions:

  • Studies have shown that people who have friends with high financial intelligence become more financially intelligent themselves.
  • And, just as you are more likely to exercise if your peer group exercises, you are more likely to save for a secure retirement if your friends are saving as well.

Personal finance is a big deal. By talking about it with friends and family, you are helping yourself and your loved ones by bringing the topic to the forefront.

Financial and retirement planning is too often done in secret or not done at all. However, having straight talks about it can help make the issue more prominent.

84. Prepare for Bull Markets, Bear Markets, Inflation, Recession, and More …

Older couple looking at computer reviewing Medicare insurance plans Social Security benefits
Monkey Business Images /

It actually doesn’t matter what direction the economy is headed.

A long-term investment strategy involves understanding your goals, time horizons and risk tolerance, and these factors are independent of the ups and downs of the economy.

Have an investment plan that you are comfortable with and stay the course.

85. Consider an HSA Plan if You Qualify While Working

Health savings account
Andrii Yalanskyi /

A health savings account or HSA is a medical savings account that is attached to a high deductible health insurance plan (HDHP). It can be a savvy way to save money by reducing your overall medical spending.

It can also have compelling retirement savings benefits.

Money can be deferred into an HSA account on a pre-tax basis just like a traditional 401(k) or IRA contribution. When money is withdrawn to cover qualified medical and dental expenses, withdrawals are tax-free. Withdrawals from an HSA can continue once you are enrolled in Medicare, but you should note that contributions cannot.

Learn more about HSAs.

86. Stress Test Your Retirement Plan Quarterly

Happy senior couple homeowners doing taxes
Evgeny Atamanenko /

Things change every day. Your outlook, circumstances and even your goals will evolve.

As such, it is a good idea to reassess your retirement plan at least quarterly. It is an especially good idea to stress test your plans to make sure that your future is secure if all goes according to plan, but also if things go sideways.

Look at longevity, inflation rates, rates of return, health costs, spending and income. Assess your best- and worst-case scenarios.

87. Consider Climate-Related Disasters as Part of Your Plans

Hurricane Harvey flooding
AMFPhotography /

Bomb cyclones, record high (and low) temperatures, atmospheric rivers, polar vortexes, super storms, thundersnow, heat domes, derechos and firestorms are new and increasingly frequently used terms for describing extreme weather and the impact it has on where we live.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, over the last 42 years there have been an annual average of 7.7 weather-related events that caused at least $1 billion in damages.

However, from 2017 through 2021, the average was 17.8 such events each year.

You may want to seriously consider the possible impact of climate and natural phenomena on your long-term health and financial well-being as you look toward retirement.

88. Foster an Attitude of Resilience

Happy black retired couple
Monkey Business Images /

As best-selling author Jim McCarthy told NewRetirement CEO Steve Chen, the secret to mental health as we age is to build better habits that lead to mental and emotional resiliency.

Though some people seem more like orchids than dandelions, McCarthy says we can all develop skills for self-preservation and flourishing if we are mindful and take it one step at a time.

Preparing yourself for whatever life may throw your way is an important part of retirement planning.

89. Figure Out How To Make Your Savings Keep Pace With Inflation

Retiree counting his coins
iJeab /

You might think that when you retire, all of your savings should be held in cash or low-risk investments. However, cash loses value as prices rise due to inflation.

If you want to maintain the spending power of your savings, you need to stay invested. And, ideally your investments outpace inflation.

Balancing the need for high enough returns with appropriate risk levels can be challenging.

Here is a discussion of other competing retirement investment goals and how to sort them out for long-term wealth.

90. Don’t Keep Up With the Joneses

Happy woman thinking about retirement
fizkes /

Guess what, the Joneses probably aren’t as rich or happy than you think they are. And, it is likely that the family in the modest house driving old cars are much better off than you could ever imagine.

However, what is really important is that they don’t matter.

If you are constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses, then you may never feel like you have enough. A key driver of happiness is knowing what is important to you and staying focused on your own priorities.

If you want to know if you have enough, you will do well to focus on what is important to you and determine how much you need to fulfill the life you want.

Understanding the average retirement income might be an interesting benchmark, but it should not be used to determine how much is enough for you.

91. Is Retirement Fast Approaching? Find More Money and Save It

senior man holding cash looking at computer
Ruslan Huzau /

As a pre-retiree, this is your last chance to amass the savings you need to retire comfortably. You might be surprised by how much you can save when you are a few to 10 years from retirement.

Pre-retirees should use the motivation of their looming retirement date to buckle down and save as much as possible:

  • Cut expenses.
  • Bank all tax returns, raises, bonuses, inheritances, or other surprise money.
  • Consider a second job.
  • Explore ways to create passive income.
  • Save as much as possible. (Unless you are one of those people who have already saved too much.)

92. Plan for Out-of-Pocket Medical Costs and the Potential for a Long-Term Care Need

Happy senior in a wheelchair at a medical facility
imtmphoto /

You really need to think carefully about your future health care costs. There are three categories of spending you need to consider:

  • Early Retirement Health Care: If you retire before age 65, funding health care before you become eligible for Medicare can be expensive. Explore nine ways to cover health care for an early retirement.
  • Medicare: You are sorely mistaken if you think Medicare will pay for everything. According to Fidelity, an average retired couple, both age 65, in 2022 may need approximately $315,000 saved (after tax) to cover health care expenses in retirement.
  • Long-Term Care: Not everyone will require long-term care, but everyone needs a plan for how to pay for it if they do need it. Here are 11 alternatives to long-term care insurance.

93. Make the Right Social Security Decisions

Social Security taxes cash
J.J. Gouin /

The longer you wait to start Social Security, the more money you are likely to receive over your lifetime (depending on how long you live). As a general rule of thumb:

  • Don’t take Social Security at 62, unless you foresee a very short life expectancy due to illness.
  • If you think that you’ll pass away before 80, then start taking benefits at your full retirement age (FRA), which is between age 66 and 67, depending on when you were born.
  • If you think that you’ll live beyond 85, then wait until age 70.

94. Focus on Relationships

Senior friends
LightField Studios /

Recent research suggests that loneliness can be a huge threat to health. In fact, the dangers of loneliness are on par with obesity, light smoking and anxiety.

We say it to friends all the time, “Keep in touch.” Well, in retirement it is more important than ever to actually do it.

Maintaining your social connections is critically important to your well-being and chances of having the best retirement.

Call up a friend for a walk. Have a standing date for coffee every morning with friends. Keep in touch with colleagues you had at work by having lunch every once in a while.

No matter what you do, it is important to nurture and participate in your social networks.

95. Master Cash Flow

Seniors happily planning budget and spending money
Syda Productions /

The most important rule of personal finance — spend less than you earn — applies to retirement as well. In fact, it is even more important than ever before.

The risk you run of overspending is that you will actually run out of money.

The trick is that you actually need to make a good prediction and figure out exactly how much you will spend every year for the next 15 to 30 years.

Here are nine tips for predicting your retirement expenses.

96. Develop the Habits and Practices That Breed Happiness

Happy senior couple outdoors in the city with a man carrying a woman piggyback and laughing
CarlosBarquero /

Below are seven practices that are scientifically proven to breed happiness:

  • Gratitude: Practicing gratitude cultivates happiness by shifting focus toward appreciating and acknowledging the positive aspects of life, fostering contentment and satisfaction.
  • Awe: Experiencing awe, whether through nature, art or extraordinary moments, brings a sense of wonder and expands our perspective, leading to increased happiness and a greater appreciation for life’s beauty and possibilities.
  • Fun: Engaging in enjoyable and lighthearted activities promotes happiness by providing moments of pleasure, relaxation and rejuvenation, allowing us to experience joy and a sense of playfulness.
  • Mindfulness: Cultivating mindfulness allows us to fully engage with the present moment, heightening our awareness and deepening our connection to our surroundings and ourselves, leading to greater contentment and happiness.
  • Connection: Nurturing meaningful connections with others promotes happiness by fostering a sense of belonging, support and shared experiences, providing opportunities for love, compassion and personal growth.
  • Purpose: Having a sense of purpose, whether through meaningful work, personal goals or contribution to others, brings a deep sense of fulfillment and happiness, as it gives our lives direction and meaning beyond ourselves.
  • Control: When we believe that our actions and choices can influence our circumstances, we feel more in charge of our own destiny, leading to a greater sense of satisfaction and happiness.

97. Focus on Your Dreams, Not Your Savings Balances

Happy senior woman outdoors in Utah
Rocketclips, Inc. /

When building your retirement plan, it is more meaningful and effective if you build your plan based on what you want to do and experience in the future rather than on an arbitrary savings balance.

In fact, don’t start with what you think you can save. Start with what your dreams are for the future. Those dreams may inspire you to do things differently starting now.

98. Think About the Big Picture

Happy senior couple – Yuri A /

It is easy to worry about getting older. Health faltering and all …

Did your golf game not go as planned this afternoon? Has your knee given out for a second (or third) time? No doubt, aging is a bummer.

However, instead of focusing on your own shortcomings, be sure that you are doing and experiencing things that make an 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.

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