Retire With a Smile: 10 Surprising Secrets to a Happy Retirement

3. Stay healthy

The better a person’s health, the more likely they were to say they were having a happy retirement, EBRI found. Eighty percent of people who rated their health as excellent said they were very satisfied with their retirement, compared to 26% who said their health was poor.

“When you’ve got a potential 30 or 40 years of living in retirement, you want to be able to make sure that you’re healthy and be able to enjoy it,” Rafal said.

The good news is for many retirement offers an opportunity to refocus on health and wellness, Rafal added. People have more time to focus on nutrition, exercise, and living a healthy lifestyle.

Next: What is your true purpose?

4. Find your purpose

Retirement frees up your schedule, and for some people all that unstructured time is a little overwhelming. If you’re not careful, an absence of purpose can lead to boredom, depression, and relationship stress. That can be especially true for people whose identity was closely tied to their career.

You can avoid this source or retirement unhappiness by thinking about what your retirement purpose will be before you stop working. That might mean setting yourself up to start a business, looking into volunteer work, or even turning a spare bedroom into an artist’s studio.

“It can’t be cold turkey. You’ve got to really envision the things that will make you happy, what they will be,” Rafal said. “There’s only so much golf you can play.”

Next: Don’t let the Joneses trick you.

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