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What Makes a Happy Retirement?

5 years ago I wrote about what makes for a happy retirement I think it is a good time to highlight, whether you are looking forward or in retirement. I mentioned a new book “You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think” by Wes Moss. His main point is to detail all the factors that affect our happiness. So here are 7 major factors that his survey identifies based upon answers received from over 1,200 retirees and soon to be retirees.

  1. Retirees’ happiness hit a wall once they reach $500,000 in savings. Happiness skyrocketed for those who saved $500,000 vs. those who saved only $100,000. A similar plateau occurs for those who spend over $4,500 per month.

  2. Happy retirees fill their time with 3 or 4 core pursuits. On average, happy retirees participated in almost twice as many core pursuits than their unhappy counterparts (3.6 vs. 1.9).

  3. Happy retirees pay off their mortgage early. Now is an even better time to consider this.

  4. Happy retirees have at least 2 to 3 sources of income in retirement (Social Security, pension, investment, real estate and part-time work). Unhappy retirees have between 1 and 2 income streams.

  5. Happy retirees are “masters of the middle” in that they live off of $53,000 a year, which is close to the average national household income. Happy retirees shopping tastes were modest. “They aren’t super, uber frugal, but they aren’t shopping at thrift stores either”.

  6. Happy retirees spend at least 5 hours a year planning for retirement. Nearly half of unhappy retirees said they weren’t satisfied with how much thought they put into retirement.

  7. Happy retirees are more likely to be married. 76% of happy retirees were married vs. less than half for unhappy retirees. This agrees well with other surveys about happiness of married and single people. This also agrees well with my own experience (but your results could vary).


Don’t trust your search for information to a Google™ robot! The following references and informative links have been previewed and selected personally by Comprehensive Financial Planning, Inc.

Consumer/General Finance

NAPFA Personal Finance Blog Information from other fee-only advisors Great personal finance magazine Consumer Federation of America  Lots of info on ID theft, do not call registry, etc. Obtain your credit report Consumer Reports magazine

HSAColorado  Health Savings Account providers in Colorado Rates for CDs, loans, etc.  Lots of info for parents and children, credit repair

Education 529 college savings plans


EFC Plus Our partner for college planning services SAT sponsors information Financial aid for college with calculator to determine aid qualifications Free scholarship database  Apply here for federal aid (don't have to be poor)

Investing Info on funds and stocks Lots of data on historical prices National Association of Real Estate Trusts Buy U. S. savings bonds


Government & Regulatory Certified Financial Planner Board National Association of Personal Financial Planners Colorado State Division of Securities- Check my registration Securities and Exchange Commission Internal Revenue Service Social Security Administration Colorado tax authority

Seniors Best life expectancy calculator-try it out American Association of Retired Persons – Anyone over 50 can join Find out about benefits and your eligibility

Money Saving tips for Seniors All kids of information on saving money. Information on government programs to help seniors Colorado Bar Association: Info on estate planning, probate costs in Colorado Find a caregiver at the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers

Recommended Businesses Casey Lynch, CPA for individuals, business owners and non-profits John Ryan offers Life, disability and Long-term Care Insurance.

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