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    7 Tips for a Happier Retirement

    By Brandon Miller, CFP–

    There is a lot of advice out there on how to save for retirement, and let’s face it—having enough moolah in the bank definitely takes the stress out of your golden years. Whether you’re diligently socking away those dollars now or dipping into that nest egg already, it’s crucial to know how much you can comfortably spend each month. Just ask any retiree; they’ll tell you managing money is only half the battle.

    Sure, finances matter, but do they make you happy? Not necessarily. Take Thomas, for instance. He’s retired with his husband still working part-time. Even though he’s officially off the clock, his days are packed with more activities than when he was hustling in the corporate world. Between golfing, volunteering at the local food bank, and making regular trips to cheer up kids at the hospital with his dog, Thomas is living it up.

    And then there’s Joanne. She’s got the financial side of things down, hosting an Airbnb and juggling side gigs, but sometimes she misses the buzz of her old job and the companionship it offered. She’s surviving but not thriving.

    For some, work is a joy, something they’re not eager to give up even as they cruise past traditional retirement age. Others count down the days until every Monday morning is theirs to own, free from any obligations. The trick to a fulfilling retirement? Finding purpose.

    Every year, big names like the U.N. and Gallup churn out a World Happiness Report—yep, that’s a real thing!—and it turns out folks over 60 in the U.S. are pretty content, ranking 10th in global happiness. But despite these cheerful stats, a significant number of retirees wrestle with feelings of depression, often missing their work and the structure it brought to their lives.

    So, how do you nail retirement? Here are seven savvy strategies:

    1. Ease into retirement if you are able to do so.

    If you can, consider cutting back from full-time to part-time. It’s not only a way to stretch out your savings, but also you are testing the waters of full-time retirement while keeping active professionally. Consider this option as a bridge to retirement.

    2. Stay social.  

    Keep in touch with work pals! You’ve spent years with many of these folks, and they have become a part of your life. For some, they are extended family.

    Participating in social events in your community can be a great way to stay connected. Your interests will direct your activities. Some community-centric volunteering ideas include:

    • The SF LGBT Center;
    • The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus;
    • Maitri Compassionate Care or other hospital or medical center;
    • one of the Bay Area’s wonderful animal shelters;
    • a local food bank;
    • Openhouse or other senior community;
    • National AIDS Memorial Grove.

    3. Set Goals.

    They say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Cheesy but true. Map out what you want your retirement to look like.

    Setting goals helps put you in charge as you chart a new course in life, so dream big.

    Ask yourself:

    • What are your priorities in retirement?
    • Would you like to downsize and relocate?
    • Would you like to take up a new hobby?
    • What new activities would you like to tackle?
    • What do you like to do for fun?

    Be specific about your goals. Make them realistic and achievable, and measure your progress with deadlines. Equally as important, set joint goals with your chosen family. Who can you enjoy some of those goals with? Accountability is key.

    4. Health is wealth.

    You may have more time once retired to do the active things you love doing. We all know physical fitness can improve overall health and well-being while also boosting self-esteem. Continue to prioritize your mental health as well. A healthy mind and body are your best assets in retirement.

    5. Stay sharp.

    Keep your brain engaged. According to Harvard Medical School’s HealthBeat newsletter, studies have shown that you can help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia with some good health habits:

    • stay physically active;
    • get enough sleep;
    • quit smoking, limit alcohol, and eat a sensible diet;
    • and maintain good social connections.

    6. Find the positives.

    Make it a habit to count your blessings. It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but appreciating the small joys can greatly improve your mental and physical health.

    What did you accomplish today? Did you practice mindfulness, meet with a friend, cook a new dish, start a new book, work in your garden, or plan a trip?

    Studies suggest that writing down your positive feelings—just a few minutes each day—provides overall mental and physical benefits.

    7. Keep a schedule.

    While the idea of doing whatever you want whenever you want sounds great, too much free time can lead to boredom. Structuring your day can help you stay focused and make the most of your retirement. You have 40 plus hours each week that are no longer occupied with familiar tasks. What do you do now?

    Schedule your new hobbies. A schedule allows you to focus, gives you clarity and purpose, and forces you to engage.

    It doesn’t have to be rigid. You are not on the clock. You are retired. You have time. But as many of us have often found, if we have too much time, time just seems to slip away. Little is accomplished. Did that happen to you today? If so, start making changes tomorrow.

    And remember, you’ve earned this time—now go out and really enjoy it!

    The opinions expressed in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security. It is only intended to provide education about the financial industry. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. Any past performance discussed during this program is no guarantee of future results. Any indices referenced for comparison are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. As always, please remember investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital; please seek advice from a licensed professional.

    Brio Financial Group is a registered investment adviser. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Brio Financial Group and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by Brio Financial Group unless a client service agreement is in place.

    Brio Financial Group is a registered investment adviser. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Brio Financial Group and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by Brio Financial Group unless a client service agreement is in place.

    Brandon Miller, CFP®, is a financial consultant at Brio Financial Group in San Francisco, specializing in helping LGBT individuals and families plan and achieve their financial goals. For more information:

    Money Matters
    Published on May 23, 2024