Do money and happiness go hand in hand? It’s an age-old question, but I think I may have come across an answer when it comes to financial wellness and emotional wellness, specifically during retirement.
What I’ve found is this: Yes, money can help create happiness and joy, but it doesn’t take a stockpile of hundred-dollar bills to get you there.
Over five years ago (it’s hard to believe!), I set about researching what makes for a good retirement. This project ultimately led to my book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think, in which I analyze the financial and emotional components of a good retirement.
When I set out on my journey, my goal was to tease apart the differences between the happiest and most unhappy retirees. Ultimately, I wanted to get a better grasp of the emotional component of retirement, so we can all set ourselves up to be financially stable and happy retirees.
For my research, I surveyed a few thousand post-career’ers to find out what made each one tick. I had the respondents self-report on their general level of happiness. Their responses were analyzed quantitatively, and the data are backed by Georgia Tech’s Mathematics Department. Some common threads emerged from the results.
Perhaps one of the most exciting findings it what I call “The Plateau Effect.” It’s simple – more income and more money does increase happiness, but only to a point. After a certain amount of wealth, happiness peaks and then levels off. After this point, increases in money only make you nominally happier.
I also learned about a slew of other traits and habits of both the happy and unhappy camps. A handful really stood out to me as essential indicators for what can make (or break) a joyful retirement.
Want to gauge your happiness level? Take the quiz here. You could be well into retirement, thinking about pulling the trigger or decades away from calling it a career. Still, this quiz is aimed at giving you a sense of how happy you’ll be during your post-work life.
In my book, I compare the results between the happiest and most unhappy groups. You can pick up a copy and read in-depth about how these seemingly unrelated and straightforward questions can have a sizeable impact on your Golden Years.
If you aren’t ready to buy the book (or even if you are), I invite you to head over to take my free quiz to learn which category you may fall into. Along with the quiz, I offer several suggestions to help you tune up your money and happiness quotient. It just may change the way you think about your retirement years.
It’s never too soon to start forming a financially secure, joyful retirement. I invite you to pick up You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think to learn how you can retire both early and happy.
And keep an eye out for my next book. This new publication will be full of insightful data and helpful advice on the three pillars of retirement: money, happiness, and lifestyle.
As always, I’m here to help. Let’s create your version of a happy retirement!