You Will Have a Happy Retirement and 9 Other Fun Facts About Your Future

A new study from Merrill Lynch, “Leisure in Retirement, Beyond the Bucket List,” finds that you are very likely to have a happy retirement. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that it is probably going to be the best time of your life!

happy retirement

Here are 9 facts about your probable happy retirement future:

1. Ages 65-74 Are Best for a Happy Retirement

If you are retired, you are likely feeling pretty good — much better than those worried millennials.  According to the study, of all times in our life, we are happiest and most content between the ages of 65 and 74.

Consider these comparisons showing how happiness, contentment and relaxation soar, while anxiety seems to plummet in retirement:

  • Only 51% of 25-34 year olds say that they often feel happy compared to 76% of people ages 65-74
  • Only 47% of youngsters say that they often feel content, while 71% of those retired report contentment.
  • Feeling often relaxed is experienced by 71% of 65-74 year olds, but only 41% of those 25-34.
  • And what about anxiety?  Only 12% of 65-74 year olds say that they often feel anxiety.  Whereas it is a common feeling for 37% of 25-34 year olds.

2. Retirement is a New Beginning

Nine out of 10 boomers see retirement as an opportunity for a new beginning — not an end of something.  And, it seems that this new beginning feels full of promise and opportunity not stress.

In fact, the study says that one of the only areas where people find retirement less fun than work are financial concerns.

A full 65% say that financial concerns are greater in retirement than before.

If you are worried about finances for your new beginning, there are easy steps you can take for more security.  The NewRetirement retirement calculator helps you figure out where you stand now and it enables you to discover ways you can improve your financial situation.

This tool was recently named a best retirement calculator by the American Association of Individual Investor’s (AAII).

3. Leisure After Retirement is Different Than Leisure Before

The study finds that people’s goals for leisure in retirement are different from what they wanted while working.

Before retirement, your leisure time is about rest and relaxation — getting away from work.  In retirement, leisure is often about “engagement, connection and activity.”  And without the constraints of work, your leisure activities may be more structured.  You might take a class or join a gym as opposed to taking a nap or watching T.V.

4. Two Kinds of Leisure in a Happy Retirement

Ninety two percent of retirees say that retirement gives them “greater freedom and flexibility to do whatever they want — regardless of how much money they have.”  The sweet spot of freedom is between the ages of 61 and 75.  This is the time when the study says that most people enjoy the “greatest balance of health, free time, fun and emotional well being.”

There are two kinds of leisure that makes for a happy retirement: everyday leisure and special occasion leisure.

  • Everyday leisure activities include doing things that make you feel healthy and relaxed.
  • Special occasion leisure are activities — well — special.  These are things that take you  out of the ordinary — travel, adventure and celebrations.  A full 81% of retirees want  experiences that are “unique, rare and that give them lasting memories.”

Are you wondering what to do in retirement? Try this list of 120 big ideas for what to do in retirement.

5. Being Rich in Time Makes for a Happy Retirement

Seventy nine percent of retirees say that they now have the amount of free time they desire.

How much time is that – on average?

According to the study, retirees have 7.5 hours of free time each day.  Among all baby boomers, that will add up to 2.5 trillion hours over the next two decades.  That is a lot of fun to be had!

And, it does not seem to matter how much money you have — you are, after all, rich in time.  The study found that across all levels of assets, retirees report that that in retirement, they are happier.

6. Your Self Identity Changes for a Happy Retirement

When you are younger, your work is a big source of your identity.  In fact, the study found that 42% of people ages 25-34 say that they are defined by work.  In retirement, only 9% are defined by what their career once was and a full 91% say that what they do for leisure is most important to identity.

One study participant said, “Before retirement, I defined myself by my work.  Now I define myself by what I do with my leisure.”

In retirement, you can be whomever you want to be.  How you spend your time will be a bigger part of your identity than how you earn money.

7. Who Not What

Relationships are very important to retirees.  The study found that 61% say that who you do something with is more important than what you do.  Only 39% prioritized the activity itself.

8. Retirement Relationships Thrive

There is an idea that when people retire, the togetherness for couples is too much.  However, this study found that only 10% of retired couples report more conflict with their spouse or partner.

And, of your most enjoyable leisure experiences, 82% say that they have the those with their partner while 45% say grandchildren, 44% say children, 29% say themselves, 27% say friends and 17% say pets.

However, a full 79% of retirees agree that it is important to stay connected with friends.

9. We Might Need a Better Plan

Oddly enough, we aren’t really planning for all the great things we can do in retirement.

The Merrill Lynch study found that only 23% of retirees have done some planning for the leisure activities they want to do in the next 5 years — let alone later on.  And, 2/3 of couples have not discussed what to do or how much money to spend on leisure.

Planning does not need to be painful.  A retirement calculator can do all the work for you.  The NewRetirement retirement calculator is an easy to use but very detailed and sophisticated tool.  You input your information and the system performs hundreds of different calculations and provides charts to help you understand your financial situation.  Don’t like your results?  The calculator let’s you add more information, change your assumptions and keep playing with your data until you find a plan that lets you have the happy retirement you want to have!

More articles about having a happy retirement.

Find out what you need to do to have a happy retirement



Feel Free In RetirementWelcome Back %greeting%!

Retirement Calculator: Get On Track Now Login to the NewRetirement Planner.
Try a new scenario. Make updates. Assess the status of your future.