How to Enjoy Retirement: 3 Keys to Deep Satisfaction

How to Enjoy Retirement: 3 Keys to Deep Satisfaction

We believe a satisfying retirement goes beyond how much money you have saved. It’s also about how you intend to use your savings.

Published by Motley Fool Wealth Management Originally posted on Tue, Dec 20, 2022 Last updated on January 10, 2024

read time 5 min read

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Many retirement planning guides focus on finances, but we believe a satisfying retirement goes beyond how much money you have saved. It’s also about how you intend to use your savings.

The definition of retirement is evolving—it’s more than just “not working.” Many have goals beyond money that focus on enjoyment during retirement. For some, it might mean living in Latin America for half of the year. For others, it’s moving across the country to be near grandchildren. Or maybe it revolves around an adrenaline-fueled hobby like rocket paragliding!

The importance of retirement planning: Retire on your terms

How do you intend to spend your time? The simple fact is, the answer to this question informs the answer to the next: Is my retirement plan a good one?

We believe a good retirement plan will structure your finances in a way that enables you to live the life you want. An emerging body of research tells us there are commonalities shared by those who have found themselves living a deeply satisfying retirement. Our name for these key elements: The Prosperity Trifecta.

3 Keys to Retirement Happiness: The Prosperity Trifecta

The three elements of a happy retirement have very little to do with how much money you have. You can think of them as your non-financial retirement checklist.


1. Relationships

The most fascinating study in human well-being started in 1938 at Harvard University.1 Now, in its 85th year, the findings on the keys to a good life are surprising. Income and career success– it turns out–don’t predict life satisfaction. Instead, close relationships are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, genes, or even fame.

2. Core Pursuits

Pursuing happiness–instead of meaning and purpose–was, in fact, counterproductive; it literally makes people less happy. In fact, data show that countries with the highest rates of suicide were also the ones with the lowest rates of purpose and meaning. Additional research concludes that those who enjoyed retirement the most had an average of 3.6 core pursuits. The most miserable people had about half that number (1.9). Simply put, activities that connect us with something larger than ourselves and that give us purpose and meaning are like oxygen to our souls. Without them, we simply cannot thrive.

3. Health

A 2014 study by Age Wave and Merrill Lynch found that 81% of retirees said that having good health was “the most important ingredient for a happy retirement.”2 Not surprisingly, there’s overlap with finances as well: In the same survey, retirees’ greatest money-related worry was “healthcare expenses.” But as the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

It’s never too late to start adopting healthy habits. But the earlier you start, the better. And luckily, you can combine the first two parts of the Prosperity Trifecta with the third to kill several birds with one stone. Playing tennis, golf, hiking, or swimming can all double as both health-related activities and core pursuits. Do them with friends and family (relationships), and you’ve created a trifecta!

Retirement planning strategies for peace of mind

We believe knitting together the clarity that the Prosperity Trifecta offers with a smart investment strategy can offer you peace of mind in the short term and the potential for ongoing growth in the long term. It can take some of the stress out of short-term volatility and allow you to focus on the goals, relationships, and activities that are most important to you.

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Footnotes, Oct. 5, 2017, May 2014

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