“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”
Although this is an old joke about a lost tourist in Manhattan, the same punchline applies to: “What’s the best way to ensure a happy retirement?”
Yes, that’s right. You should “practice retirement.” According to the 2018 Global Retirement Reality Report, only about half of Americans are happy in retirement even with financial security. If more retirees would have practiced retirement before retiring, the number of happy retirees would increase substantially.
The usual reasons for an unhappy retirement include:
For most retirees, transitioning to a completely different lifestyle does not come easy. They fail to consider the huge emotional changes that retirement brings. By “practicing retirement,” one can test the waters and prepare to react and adapt to those changes.
If you’re like me, you may have gotten a sneak preview of retirement while sheltering in place this past spring. Your routine may have been turned upside. Further, if you had no children at home, you probably had more free time than what you were used to.
Did you learn any lessons during this pandemic? How do you now feel about retirement? Reflect back on how you did and use your learnings to help you move forward toward a happier retirement.
Planning for retirement involves a lot more than pensions, social security, IRA’s and 401(k)s. These are only some of the pieces to the retirement puzzle. Don’t forget about the other pieces that affect your day-to-day life and overarching happiness.