Whenever we think about retirement, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. Have I saved enough? How much income can I take from my portfolio without running out of money? How do I maximize my social security benefits?
Those are all good questions to ask, and one that a good financial advisor can help you answer.
But what about the non-financial part of retirement? You can have all the money in the world, but money can only make you so happy. So what can you do to make sure you’re living a happy, healthy and fulfilling life, once you have the money side of the equation down?
To answer that, here are 3 of my favorite non-financial retirement tips to give you the best retirement possible:
Find a Meaningful Hobby or Volunteer Activity
After decades of working and raising kids, you suddenly no longer have a need to work and your kids are grown and gone (hopefully). The meaning that you got from providing for and raising a family isn’t there anymore. So you may have an enormous of amount of free time as compared with before, but you don’t have the same sense of purpose.
Why is that purpose so important? “Dozens of studies have shown that seniors with a sense of purpose in life are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, disabilities, heart attacks or strokes, and more likely to live longer than people without this kind of underlying motivation.”
Given these amazing benefits, I’d highly encourage you to find something you enjoy and that would give you a sense of purpose. No, you don’t need to get paid (unless you want to), and it doesn’t need to take up 40 hours per week.
It could be tutoring in an afterschool program. Volunteering at an Animal Rescue Shelter. Building homes with Habitat for Humanity. Or a million other things.
It isn’t as important what the specific activity is. What’s more important is that it gives you a sense of purpose and happiness throughout your daily and weekly routine.
You may have heard that we start losing muscle every year after we turn 30. And the trend accelerates when you get into your 60’s.
Beyond the muscle loss, simple things like climbing stairs or even carrying groceries gets harder and harder as we age.
We can’t completely stop this, of course. It’s a part of life. But lifting weights has been shown to help give us the ability to do these daily activities that we take for granted when healthy. And beyond that, lifting weights has been shown to improve our brain’s functions, our happiness, and slow down the aging process.
You don’t have to be a workout junkie and spend 6 days a week in the gym. Two to three trips to the gym per week, where you’re lifting weights that challenge you, is all you need. And it’s a great way to retain your strength and independence as you age.
Keep (or Make) Friendships
Social isolation is one of the biggest non financial problems that retirees face. A recent study by the University of California–San Francisco revealed that 43 percent of the people surveyed who were over 60 years old reported feeling lonely on a regular basis. And surprisingly, two-thirds of the adults who said they were lonely were married. So simply having a spouse doesn’t necessarily cure that loneliness.
Where your friends come from doesn’t necessarily matter. Maybe there are some former colleagues from your old job that you’d like to keep in touch with. Or there are some new friendships you can make in organizations or clubs in your neighborhood. Or maybe you want to spend more time with friends that you just don’t see enough.
Regardless of where it comes from, it’s pivotally important to be intentional about fostering meaningful friendships in your retirement to decrease your odds of loneliness and increase your odds of having a happy retirement.
So there you have it, three non-financial retirement tips. Find meaningful activities, lift weights, and keep (or make) friendships. If you do those three things, you’re well on your way to a great retirement.