January 24, 2022

Why some retirees are happier than others

Writing in the National Post, noted financial author Christine Ibbotson offers up some ideas on why some retirees are happier than others.

She begins by asking – from the point of view of someone still working – how one might think all retirees are happy. “They don’t work or commute any more. They have no deadlines, commitments, angry bosses, or backstabbing coworkers to deal with, and they can sleep in every day,” she writes.

(On that last point, Save with SPP will add a qualifier – unless they have dogs!)

Ibbotson writes that research has found that some retirees are happier than others. And money – or at least, management of it – seems to factor into the happiness equation, she adds.

“When we looked at the financial aspects of the happiest retirees, it was not that they had more money, but more that they viewed their money as a tool for their happiness. The happier retirees had no mortgage or consumer debt. They also stayed in the homes that they purchased and paid off while they were working,” writes Ibbotson.

On the idea of staying in their original home, Ibbotson adds “many retirees who moved during the early years of retirement to ‘right size’ their life, took on home renovations, or made big purchase decisions and wound up with more debt than they bargained for; forcing them to eat into their retirement savings or carry a new mortgage that wasn’t anticipated.”

Other findings – happier retirees had “two or three” vacations a year, while the less happy had one or less, Ibbotson writes. The happy had made use of financial planners and had “three to five” sources of income funding their retirements. The happiest had multiple hobbies – “four to seven,” versus the less happy, who had “fewer than three.”

Another noteworthy discovery was that the happiest retirees were not necessarily the ones “with the most toys,” as us boomers were led to believe in the 1980s.

“Turns out the happiest retirees in the survey were not lavish spenders and seemed to be right in the middle-class with their spending especially on cars, clothing, and vacations. The unhappy retirees on the other hand were the opposite. This group had a lot more status symbol purchases and high-priced vehicles, with BMW being the most popular,” she observes.

Ibbotson sums the research up very nicely.

“Only you can make yourself happy, healthy, fit, slim, busy, wealthy, content, independent, prosperous … you get the idea,” she writes.

“So, no matter where you are, no matter what is going on right now in your life, change it and mix it up this year. Find your own happiness equation and just do it.”

Multiple income streams in retirement is a big plus, and the Saskatchewan Pension Plan can help with that. If you have a pension plan or retirement arrangement at work, that’s a big plus for you – but if not, the SPP has everything you need to create that extra income stream. They’ll take your contributions, invest them prudently and grow them, and will provide you with that extra income that helps bankroll your hobbies or vacations once work is an afterthought.

Check them out today!

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Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

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