'The secret ingredients to a happy retirement': Four things experts swear by

Financial planner Wes Moss knows a thing or two about investing, he’s just written a book called What the Happiest Retirees Know and he says it’s not all about money. Moss said that money will buy people happiness but only up to $500,000 (£365,363), after that he says, it wears off and he’s done the research to prove it.

According to CNBC experts recommend four things people can start doing straight away to ensure they can relax happily at age 65 plus. The first thing is to start saving – because saving money can make you feel happier, according to researcher Elizabeth Dunn co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending.

She recommends breaking saving goals into smaller bite-size pieces because taking this approach makes it easier for habits to stick.

She said: “Just taking the time to create a savings account may have an immediate impact on your overall happiness.”

Dunn also recommends overpaying one’s mortgage as this leaves people as much as four times happier when it comes to retirement.

“The psychological side of not having a mortgage, perhaps is even more powerful [than the money side], and kind of outweighs the financial argument to not pay it off,” she said.

© Getty A retired couple dancing outside

Michael Finke, a professor of wealth management at The American College of Financial Services, believes that what you spend money on matters.

He said people think that they want to buy a dream home or live abroad but what makes retirees happiest is spending money socialising with other people.

Mr Finke explained: “What makes us happy during our working lives are not necessarily the things that will make us happy when we retire.

“Oftentimes what makes us happy is being around other people. Things like driving around in an RV or buying a home in the mountains can make us less happy if it results in social isolation.”


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It’s definitely not all about money but that said having more than one income stream is a key to happiness in retirement, Moss said.

He added: “There’s a real power in this diversification of different income streams.

“It can provide a lot of comfort to someone who may worry about relying on one wage.

“In addition to investment income, which would come from your retirement account and potentially additional investments accounts, owning a rental property is a great way to earn extra money in retirement.”

© Express ultra wealth infographic

The four ‘secrets’ to a happy retirement:

  • Start saving now – Saving money can make you feel happier, according to researcher Elizabeth Dunn
  • Focus on paying off your mortgage – Dunn also recommends overpaying your mortgage as this leaves people as much as four times happier
  • Spend money on what makes you happy – it might not be the same as when you were working says Michael Finke, a professor of wealth management at The American College of Financial Services
  • Have multiple income streams – having more than one income stream is a key to happiness in retirement, Wes Moss advises.

So it would seem there isn’t one magic ingredient, but four things you can adopt now to ensure a happy retirement when you reach pension age – after all no-one wants to scrimp and scrap when they reach 65 plus.

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