Better Prepare for Retirement With These 6 Secrets

By Simon Heslop

As exciting as your approaching retirement date can be, it can also be intimidating. This is a whole new chapter of life, leaving behind something familiar and routine to start a new endeavor.

Is there a way to better prepare not only financially, but emotionally? The simple answer is yes. Starting with finding your purpose, to outlining a concrete plan leading up to and through retirement, we have six tips to help you retire better. 
1. Find Your Purpose
The first secret to finding happiness in retirement doesn’t just apply to retirement. Studies show individuals who live a purpose-driven life are happier and healthier, on average, than those who don’t. Not only that, but they also live longer! A purposeful life is commonly associated with fulfillment and motivation and can be found in many ways. Volunteering for a local nonprofit or your church, spending time with your grandchildren, or pursuing a newfound hobby are great ways to find purpose in your day-to-day life. 
2. Enjoy the Things That Really Matter
It’s no secret that money can buy comfort and less stress, but it is less likely to buy happiness. Your retirement lifestyle may not always mirror your pre-retirement lifestyle when your income level was at its peak.

Heavy expectations of what your life should look like—resulting from comparing yourself with others or the preconceptions of retirement imposed by the media—can be a huge mental drain and often result in feelings of failure and sadness over time. Instead, focus on what you do have (and what you have control over), and live in the moment as much as possible. 

Also, reflect on the activities that bring you the most joy and orient your time during retirement to be surrounded by people that also enjoy the same things, since you will likely need to replace the social interaction that previously came from work.

Savoring the meaningful people and experiences in our life reminds us that many of our real needs can be fulfilled in ways that don’t involve spending money, despite what our consumer-driven society might lead us to believe. 

Some of these needs include a connection with nature and with other beings (both human and non-human), the need for play and creative expression, and the need to know others and to be known ourselves. This mindset can nurture a fundamental orientation toward gratitude for the ways in which the earth and the people around us can meet our needs in non-monetary ways.
3. Take Care of Your Health
Declining health and how to pay for the associated medical bills is the biggest concern for many retirees. In fact, about 72% of Americans cite healthcare costs as the most pressing issue when planning for retirement. Incorporating long-term care planning into your overall financial plan can help ease this concern as you enter retirement. 

Once in retirement, you can alleviate your chances of becoming seriously ill by prioritizing your mental and physical health. Remember that your brain is also a muscle and needs to be regularly stimulated to avoid atrophy. Previously your work helped to keep your mind regularly engaged and active, but if you don’t provide challenges (such as a new hobby, learning a new skill, playing games, or other mental activities), you may begin to see some signs of cognitive decline.
4. Consider a Phased Retirement
Another way to increase your happiness is to work part-time or use a phased approach to retirement. Adjusting to retirement is a huge transition! Going from working 40-plus hours a week for 30-plus years to suddenly having all the time in the world is a shock to the system, to say the least. It takes time to adjust, so don’t feel pressured to rush into retirement all at once. Case in point: it’s becoming increasingly popular for people to approach retirement in phases by slowly adjusting to reduced hours, part-time work, then eventually full retirement. 

At FSA Wealth Management, we can help model various phased retirement options as part of our financial planning process.  If you feel that this approach might be an option for you, let’s work together to better understand the financial implications in our planning work. 
5. Make New Friends (and Keep the Old)
A Penn State study found that adults between ages 70-90 who reported more frequent and pleasant social interactions also displayed better cognitive performance on that day and the two subsequent days.

Prioritize connecting with your friends, family, and loved ones throughout retirement. Knowing that you have a strong support system can make a significant difference in your overall health and happiness, especially if you experience the loss of a spouse, fall on hard times, or suffer from declining health.  
6. Plan Ahead
One of the best ways to improve your happiness in retirement is to have a plan for what you want it to look like. Articulating your vision for the future is a great way to motivate yourself to make it happen and enjoy a sense of fulfillment once your plan comes to fruition. 

To bring some much-needed comfort during your golden years, it’s wise to prepare for potential retirement pitfalls like unexpected health issues or running out of money. These concerns can and should be incorporated into a retirement plan and thoroughly assessed by a qualified financial advisor.
Get Started Today
Whether you’re planning for retirement or reassessing your retirement plan, we understand you may have very different questions and concerns. As financial advisors, we recognize this need and deliver custom solutions according to your situation. Let our FSA Wealth Management team help you uncover the secrets to a happy retirement. Contact us today at 781-455-1020 or email
About Simon
Simon Heslop is Managing Partner at FSA Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor firm offering fee-only services and known for its independence, objectivity, and results. With a passion for excellence and 20 years of financial services experience, Simon applies his results-driven approach to creating tailored investment and financial planning solutions for clients seeking to fulfill their vision of financial success. He has a history of developing targeted investment portfolios to help investors meet their long-term objectives, and truly enjoys the process of getting to know each FSA Wealth Management client.

Simon earned his undergraduate degree in engineering from Union College and an MBA from Northeastern University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation. Outside of work, Simon loves to hike with his family; (one day they’ll find it funny that Dad gets them lost at least half the time). He has a passion for woodworking and is perhaps one of the few people who idolize Norm Abrams and The New Yankee Workshop. He enjoys all types of bicycle riding and has a goal of riding across the country (despite the fact that he has barely ridden across New England). Simon is constantly striving to find a better and higher self, help others, and leave the world a better place. To learn more about Simon, connect with him on LinkedIn.

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