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

5. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses

Pressure to keep up with your friends and neighbors when it comes to vacations, home improvements, and hobbies can derail your retirement finances — and your happiness.

“I think the one thing a retiree has to be careful of is to not keep up with that proverbial Joneses,” Rafal said.

If you’re running in a social circle where people tend to live large and you can’t — or don’t want to — deal with the pressure to keep up, you might need to refocus your energy elsewhere.

Next: Giving feels better than taking.

6. Give back

Many people plan to dedicate time and money in retirement to giving back. That generosity doesn’t just benefit those you help, but it also can increase your own sense of well-being.

Seven out of 10 retirees say giving back increases their retirement happiness, a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave survey found. “Retirees who give are more likely than those who don’t to say they have a strong sense of purpose, high self-esteem, and are happy and healthy,” the report noted.

Volunteer work and other charitable activities are also a great way to find new purpose and meet new people (which ties in directly with our next secret to retirement happiness).

Next: Not doing this leads to a higher risk of heart disease and dementia.

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