Opinion: Want a Happy Retirement? Have at least these hobbies

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Sometimes you hear about people who retire and say that they go to play golf every day. Fast forward six months and they’re mad with boredom. What happened? If you call it a career but only have one or two hobbies or activities, you probably aren’t very happy. Read: How much do you need to retire? Check out this new calculator

“To be precise, the happiest retirees average 3.6 top activities,” says Wes Moss, managing partner at Capital Investment Advisors in Atlanta. “Self-identified dissatisfied retirees report having only 1.9 of such activities.” Read: What is the best place to retire? Choose What Matters Most – You May Be Surprised Moss, author of “Yes, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think,” writes that just as saving enough money for retirement is critical, so is having a variety of things to do. , things that “move your Bic”. What are you passionate about? Tennis? Spy novels? Picture? Doing volunteer work? Whatever it is for you, those are your main activities. Read: The pandemic is pushing more workers to retire “These activities are not just hobbies; they are passions that retirees spend a lot of time, energy and sometimes money on, ”says Moss. “The happiest retirees prioritize their top goals and get great satisfaction from those efforts. That’s not exactly a groundbreaking revelation, but what’s new is the quantitative approach Moss has taken, focusing on a survey of more than 1,350 retirees in 46 states. The investment advisor asked respondents to rate their overall level of happiness and the number of activities they had. The data was reviewed by Georgia Tech’s math department. Moss’s research rejects the saying that “money can’t buy happiness.” You think you can. Your data actually gives you a dollar figure. For example, retirees with a median net worth of $ 100,000 tend to be unhappy. But as it increases to $ 500,000, retirees become happier (remember: median means half have more than that and half less).

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Still, happiness is in the eyes of the beholder. These days, even a net worth of $ 500,000 cannot be considered much, to give just one example, the frequently cited rule that you can withdraw about 4% of your holdings each year for a living. This amounts to only $ 20,000, hardly a princely sum. Read: How smart some workers are doing to retire at age 55 These figures imply that most retirees are not very happy, given the general shortage of retirement savings in the United States. I base this statement on Federal Reserve data reported last September showing the median and median net worth of households in the United States headed by someone of age: Age Median Net Worth Median Net Worth 45-54 $ 833,200 $ 168,600 55 -64 $ 1,175,900 $ 212,500 65- 74 $ 1,217,700 $ 266,400 75+ $ 977,600 $ 254,800 Source: Federal Reserve As you can see, if everyone were “average,” everyone would be happy. But that’s not the way it works. For example, let’s say you have a group of 10 people and one of them is Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. It is worth close to $ 200 billion. But the other nine people are worth $ 75,000. So the average net worth of this group of 10 people would be $ 20 billion and it would change. Woof! Talk about happy! But obviously this is misleading. Therefore, it is the median number, the midpoint of the 10 data points, that most accurately reflects the group. And that’s only $ 75,000. Based on Moss’s correlation between median net worth and happiness, it would appear that happiness is out of reach for many Americans. But Moss also says, in his favor, that there are other determinants. Their research also shows that “happy retirees” take about 2.4 vacations a year, while “unhappy ones” take about 1.5. A “vacation” is subjective: for some it can be a luxurious European trip, for others, camping under the stars. The former is expensive, while the latter is not. So you don’t need to put in a lot of dough to get a little bit of happiness. And those “core activities” you mention don’t have to cost a lot. I have a friend in his 60s whose goal is to see every movie that has won an Academy Award for Best Picture, Actor, or Actress. All that is needed is access to a classic movie channel. Other friends say they are learning to cook or study the Bible. I? I like to write and I am learning letters and magic tricks. Whatever it is, Moss emphasizes, “While it is important to accumulate retirement savings during our working years, it is also critical to find and develop our hobbies and passions … during our careers, core activities provide needed diversions and relief. of stress. In retirement, they provide all kinds of benefits, including physical activity, social interaction, mental stimulation, and even a sense of purpose. ”