The ability to enjoy retirement to the fullest is heavily dependent on your well-being. Some of your well-being may be out of your control (e.g., health and social-economic standing); however, much can be influenced by your mental outlook and retirement activities. Being a recluse or couch potato will not get you the most satisfaction out of your retirement years.
Gallup and Healthways developed a comprehensive, definitive source of well-being measurement, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being 5. This scientific survey instrument and reporting experience measures, tracks and reports on the well-being of individuals and organizations.
According to Gallop-Healthways, the five essential elements of well-being are:
- Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
- Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life
- Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
- Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
- Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily
Using this information, you need to consider measures to improve your well-being and subsequent quality of retirement living.
Retirement Lifestyle Overview
For most people retirement is a time when they can live however they wish to live. By this I don't mean that they would necessarily have the financial means to do things that they couldn't afford to do while working, but that within certain parameters, they have ultimate flexibility.
Retirees frequently answer their own question of "What will I do today?" with the answer "Whatever I want to do”. While this approach may be fine for daily activities and your allocation of free time, it can lead to a lackadaisical attitude and doesn’t focus you on accomplishing your major retirement goals. Remember that your retirement years are limited, and consequently you don’t want to waste any of them.
One thing to keep in mind is that when it comes to major lifestyle changing decisions, these are generally more difficult in retirement. There's usually more at stake and making a wrong decision can have major consequences – you may not have the time or money to undo or change your decision.
Four of the major issues that you'll face in retirement are covered in this section:
- Where will I live,
- Will I have a second (vacation) home,
- Will I continue to work in perhaps an entirely different field (with a much different pay structure), and
- How will I optimally allocate my discretionary income to vacation and travel?