Traits of Happiest Retirees

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Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by mmoneytalks » Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:35 am

I thought the following was interesting so I thought I'd share. Based on a survey of retirees conducted by Wes Moss (author "You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think"), the following 18 traits (behaviors/characteristics) consistently showed up in his data for the happiest retirees. According to Wes, "don't think of it as a checklist" instead, these 18 traits "should give you some ideas of how to increase your own chances of happiness as you approach your golden years."

1. During their "peak earning" years, happy retirees average $97,869 in household income (unhappy retirees average $77,522).
2. Current income of the happy group, either in retirement or close to it, averages $82,770 (unhappy retirees average $53,370).
3. Happy retirees have at least $500,000 in liquid net worth.
4. They have a well-defined understanding of their purpose in life. "Happy retirees know what their retirement money is for."
5. They have at least 3.5 core pursuits--the activities and interests that they love to pursue. "For happy retirees, nearly all of their top activities are highly social, active and generally involve other people."
6. Their home value is at least $300,000.
7. They don't have a mortgage, of it they do, their mortgage payoff is in sight. "Happy retirees are nearly four times more likely to be mortgage free within 5 years".
8. They are married, not divorced. "Divorce has a direct and depleting effect on your personal finances".
9. Happy retirees have at least two children (and three seems to be the magic number). "A solid 50 percent of unhappy retirees have one child or no children."
10. They have at least two (sometimes three) different sources of income in retirement.
11. Happy retirees spend at least five hours per year (and usually more) planning for retirement.
12. Their spending level in retirement is approximately $53,000 [net] per year.
13. They live in the city or suburbs, not in the country. "Happy retirees are more likely to live in cities or suburban areas, where they are less isolated and have more opportunities to engage and interact."
14. Happy retirees hate fast food and love steak. "Happy retirees love treating themselves to a nice steak at Ruth's Chris or LongHorn. They also love to eat out at Olive Garden. (Who knew?)"
15. They don't drive BMWs. "When unhappy retirees buy luxury cars, they buy German luxury. Happy retirees' favorite luxury brand? Lexus is at the top of their list."
16. They shop at Macy's and Kohl's. "Happy retirees shop "in the middle"--not fancy, not charity."
17. Happy retirees take at least two vacations per year, and when they do vacation, they spend more than unhappy retirees.
18. Their education level includes some college or above.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by texasdiver » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:12 am

Well hey.....not retired yet but I think my wife and I hit 15 out of the 18. Not into Steak and Lexus and don't really shop at Macys or Kohls but on target to be at or above the rest.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by mmoneytalks » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:38 pm

texasdiver wrote:Well hey.....not retired yet but I think my wife and I hit 15 out of the 18. Not into Steak and Lexus and don't really shop at Macys or Kohls but on target to be at or above the rest.
I plan to retire in 2016 and hit most of these as well. The one "trait", however, that I want to work on before I do retire is #5 "have at least 3.5 core pursuits--the activities and interests that they love to pursue". #8 (married, not divorced) or #9 (have at least two children) don't apply since I'm single/no dependents. And with regard to #14 (Happy retirees hate fast food and love steak), I love both of them but rarely indulge in either since I'm "trying" to be healthy.

Expanding on #15 (They don't drive BMWs), I should have mentioned that the author says that "the happy group has a bias toward Asian brands: Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and Hyundai in addition to Lexus. Buick also shows up in the luxury list for happy retirees."

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:55 pm

This thread has run its course and is locked (not personal nor actionable). See: A reminder that non-investing general comment threads are OT

Update: See below.
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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:19 pm

After receiving a PM, this thread is actionable as it helps identify important things to consider when contemplating retirement.

Please stay focused on personal experiences. This thread is now unlocked.
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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by iceport » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:33 pm

I found this topic fascinating; thanks for posting.

I am very actively struggling with the decision of when it's best for me to retire. I'm eligible for early retirement in 2 years, but at a huge penalty in my anticipated pension. So this topic — and the three associated articles I found that elaborate on the listed traits — are a huge help in identifying the kinds of things that might be most important to consider — and how much income is really necessary. I'm a little surprised at the relatively high level of spending of the happy retirees. (I spend way less, even now at the peak of my working years.)

These articles that elaborate on the traits identified in the OP might also be of interest:

7 ways to retire happy

Wes Moss reveals the secrets of happy retirement

How much do you need to retire happy? Wes Moss has your number

Unfortunately, this is still a confounding choice for me. I have a mixture of positive and negative "happy retiree" traits. :?
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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by HongKonger » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:04 pm

Haha - I scored 4. If my very early retirement thus far is technically miserable - I can't begin to imagine what the coming years may hold for a single, childfree, country-dwelling vegetarian who doesn't drive and doesn't like vacations.

Purpose and the active pursuit thereof is everything. If I wasn't 100% clear every day why I retired, I would no doubt be a brain dead couch potato who does nothing more than binge watch rubbish on Netflix in my pyjamas every day.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Sheepdog » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:11 pm

Since I am a happy retiree, I will check out the list with comments, if you don't mind. I imagine the dollar quotes are in near present dollars, so I will have to back some of it to my period of retirement (retired 1998).
1. Peak year earnings were close. What made that great is that I could sock away so much of that in my last 5 years of employment for retirement, much more than 20 years earlier.
2.$83K is very close to our current in-retirement income, enough to spend without scrimping too much. Happy for that.
3. Our net worth is about double that $500 k figure, and being there makes me happier...See #2
4. Understanding our purpose in life is very true. We do,
5. True about being active...volunteering, community activities. Yes, they involve people in one way or the other and sometimes it involves animals
6. Home value $300K. In my area that would be a mansion, so that $300K could be $150K here, which is a very nice house and neighborhood. And $300K would maybe not be as nice in San Fran or Manhattan.
7. Mortgage was paid off well before retirement. That was important.
8. Marriage is good for my well being...companionship, sharing, and caring.
9. 2 kids, hit us on the button, but what is missing is no grand kids. Our kids see us a few times yearly even though they live a good ways away, so that is good. So, because we don't have grandkids, my volunteering at a Children's Museum and my wife at a school is our substitute.
10. We do have more than one source of income (SS, IRA and Roth IRAs, and SPIA) That is impotant.
11. Planning for an effective retirement did take time, so I agree that everyone should to be successful.
12. We spend more than $53K. More recently we have been closer to $70k. Again, spending does vary according to where you live, doesn't it?
13. Where you live is important for happy retirement, of course.
14. What I eat and where is important, and we eat out more often in nice restaurants than we did before retirement. That is nice for us.
15. No, we don't drive a BMW or Lexus and if we did, I wouldn't be happier, I don't think. I do like comfortable driving ones though.
16. They got us down pat on where we are happy shopping
17. Yes, we usually take 2 vacations annually, and we do spend a bunch and are happy to be able to do it.
18. Education is and was important.. After all, the income derived from that allows a happy 1 to 17.

I would add good health habits and being active.
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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by mmoneytalks » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:17 pm

iceport wrote:These articles that elaborate on the traits identified in the OP might also be of interest.
Thanks for the articles iceport!
iceport wrote: I'm a little surprised at the relatively high level of spending of the happy retirees. (I spend way less, even now at the peak of my working years.)
You might want to check out some of the Amazon reviews on his book "You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think". You'll see that some of the reviews do make a point to call out the income referenced in his book. I've included a couple below:

"...What I found curious were the examples used throughout the book were of individuals or couples who make (or made) well above the median household income. This alone makes planning for retirement easier. It would have been nice to see more of the examples scaled to those closer to the middle or lower end of the income scale. I feel as though some might not connect to the stories presented and find the change recommendations less than feasible."

"...What I found to be a letdown are the real life examples that Mr. Moss uses that out of completely out of touch with average Americans. The first example of soon to be happy retirees is a couple that make $150,000 to $175,000 each. This example is the first one and is given a few pages into the book. Another example provided shows the husband making over $220,000. People making these types of income will easily be able to retire comfortably provided they use common sense in investing, and live beneath their means. The average household income in the United States is somewhere in the low fifty thousand dollar range."

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Flobes » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:38 pm

HongKonger wrote:Haha - I scored 4. If my very early retirement thus far is technically miserable - I can't begin to imagine what the coming years may hold for a single, childfree, country-dwelling vegetarian who doesn't drive and doesn't like vacations.
I too scored a 4, happily in year 7 of early merry retirement. But I got to my 4 with vacations.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Toons » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:42 pm

I am content at the moment,,,sitting in the shed ,drinking cofffee,viewing the mountains in the distance.
I measure contentment "moment by moment",,,as thats what life consists of,moment by moment :sharebeer
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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by iceport » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:43 pm

Thanks for the Amazon reference, mmoneytalks. This observation, found in one of the comments, is critical to keep in mind:
The book also gives many examples of what happy retirees do versus unhappy retirees. Much of this is using correlation to imply causation.
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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by MarkBarb » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:01 pm

This looks like a good example where it is important to understand the difference between correlation and causation.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:13 pm

For those needing a background, here are a lot of examples: difference between correlation and causation - Google Search
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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Levett » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:19 pm

In my experience (now retired 15 yrs.), the happiest retirees were already happy to begin with. :happy

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by GerryL » Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:21 pm

Items 1, 2 and 12 may account for much of the difference between happy and unhappy. I'm not suggesting that money is all that matters, but when a happy spending level is cutting it too close to income, money worries can sap a lot of joy, especially if the low retirement income is a result of having lived at a higher level than pre-retirement income might have warranted.


1. During their "peak earning" years, happy retirees average $97,869 in household income (unhappy retirees average $77,522).
2. Current income of the happy group, either in retirement or close to it, averages $82,770 (unhappy retirees average $53,370).

12. Their spending level in retirement is approximately $53,000 [net] per year.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by texasdiver » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:30 pm

Just crossed 50 and not retiring anytime soon. But in my limited experience based on friends and family who have got there ahead of me, I think health is the #1 factor in happiness. It's not mentioned in this list. But those who stay healthy, fit, and active seem to be doing so much better than those who have let themselves go and basically given up on health. Then it is all they can talk about and it is always negative.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by john94549 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:52 pm

As a retiree, might I say the key is never having to worry.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by mmoneytalks » Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:21 am

Although not listed as one of his "18 traits", the author does touch upon the correlation between wealth and health and which contributes to which. Other (not his) studies on this topic, when combined with the results of his [retiree] study, leads the author to conclude "the more wealth you accumulate, up to a certain point, the better chance you have for mental and physical well-being." He also provides the following "equation": Health + Money + Social Life = Happiness

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:01 pm

mmoneytalks wrote:13. They live in the city or suburbs, not in the country. "Happy retirees are more likely to live in cities or suburban areas, where they are less isolated and have more opportunities to engage and interact."
My overall score is 12. Moving to a metropolitan area gave a significant boost to my happiness.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:15 pm

mmoneytalks wrote:I thought the following was interesting so I thought I'd share. Based on a survey of retirees conducted by Wes Moss (author "You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think"), the following 18 traits (behaviors/characteristics) consistently showed up in his data for the happiest retirees. According to Wes, "don't think of it as a checklist" instead, these 18 traits "should give you some ideas of how to increase your own chances of happiness as you approach your golden years."

1. During their "peak earning" years, happy retirees average $97,869 in household income (unhappy retirees average $77,522).
2. Current income of the happy group, either in retirement or close to it, averages $82,770 (unhappy retirees average $53,370).
3. Happy retirees have at least $500,000 in liquid net worth.
4. They have a well-defined understanding of their purpose in life. "Happy retirees know what their retirement money is for."
5. They have at least 3.5 core pursuits--the activities and interests that they love to pursue. "For happy retirees, nearly all of their top activities are highly social, active and generally involve other people."
6. Their home value is at least $300,000.
Dear Lord, this sounds like total tommyrot.

How many Americans as a percentage of all retirees have a household income of $82,770?


500,000 of liquid net worth?

300,000 of home equity?

Friends, family, purpose, reasonable health. These I can believe are keys to a happy retirement.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:16 pm

mmoneytalks wrote:He also provides the following "equation": Health + Money + Social Life = Happiness
When one has health and money, having social life is easy.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:22 pm

texasdiver wrote:Just crossed 50 and not retiring anytime soon. But in my limited experience based on friends and family who have got there ahead of me, I think health is the #1 factor in happiness. It's not mentioned in this list. But those who stay healthy, fit, and active seem to be doing so much better than those who have let themselves go and basically given up on health. Then it is all they can talk about and it is always negative.
Yes. And it's somewhat random. The big C, MS, Parkinson's they don't always hit the guilty, they hit the innocent and virtuous too-- i am watching them cut a slice through friends and acquaintances. Heart disease has a strong genetic component. Friends in their 50s have had strokes.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by beyou » Sun Mar 08, 2015 4:12 pm

Yes, DW was a health nut and fit all her life, and now at 50, cancer survivor who must monitor constantly
and worry about her health. Money in the bank helped, got her the best doctors in the world,
What makes her happy is that she's not retired, and busy enough to keep her mind off the monitoring
as much as possible. She eats even healthier now than ever before and we exercise together.
Health should have been #1 on the list.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Fallible » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:44 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
texasdiver wrote:Just crossed 50 and not retiring anytime soon. But in my limited experience based on friends and family who have got there ahead of me, I think health is the #1 factor in happiness. It's not mentioned in this list. But those who stay healthy, fit, and active seem to be doing so much better than those who have let themselves go and basically given up on health. Then it is all they can talk about and it is always negative.
Yes. And it's somewhat random. The big C, MS, Parkinson's they don't always hit the guilty, they hit the innocent and virtuous too-- i am watching them cut a slice through friends and acquaintances. Heart disease has a strong genetic component. Friends in their 50s have had strokes.
I suppose it is health, but it's also how well one handles poor or declining health, including that of family and friends, as Valuethinker has pointed out. That would seem to be aided greatly by basic or inherited happiness or optimism - the so-called "happiness gene" - when one can better withstand such events or at least can recover more easily from them, i.e., a resiliency they've had throughout their lives.
John Bogle on his early road to low-cost indexing: "When a door closes, if you look long enough and hard enough, if you're strong enough, you'll find a window that opens."

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Barefootgirl » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:55 pm

...agree that mental health/attitude is as important as physical health.

I think the suggestion that people who retire in the city/suburbs are happier than people who retire in the country is a bit absurd.

It's been my observation that retirement in the country doesn't look the same as retirement in the city or suburbs. It doesn't have that sudden appearance of one door closing, one door opening.

Fewer people living in rural areas work in offices or traditional business settings. They're more likely to be small business people or somehow involved in agriculture or similar. Retirement trends toward working fewer and fewer hours, perhaps selling your business to a local associate or one of your children. Retirement in the country likely occurs over a very long time period or not at all, by most traditional definitions -
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by TradingPlaces » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:42 pm

This is a very misleading piece of research:

- correlation vs causality,
- one can not walk away with any concrete ideas of how to be happy,
- lots of important issues missing, most importantly health.

In general, by observing groups and classifying them into happy vs not happy, you can not learn what made the happy group happy to begin with.

And it is quite possible that the happy people ended up with more income, assets, and savings, to begin with.
Last edited by TradingPlaces on Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by TradingPlaces » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:43 pm

blevine wrote:Yes, DW was a health nut and fit all her life, and now at 50, cancer survivor who must monitor constantly
and worry about her health. Money in the bank helped, got her the best doctors in the world,
What makes her happy is that she's not retired, and busy enough to keep her mind off the monitoring
as much as possible. She eats even healthier now than ever before and we exercise together.
Health should have been #1 on the list.
+10000

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by siamond » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:01 am

Amazing! Interpreting #1 and #2 as minimum values to have, I have a score of 16... And I am actively trying to improve on the 2 missing ones... Plus I have a bonus on question 9 (3 boys)... I am almost the *perfect* retiree! :mrgreen:

(yes, I share some of the skepticism about this list - even if it made me feel really good! notably by leaving Victoria in the dust for once! :twisted: )

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:26 pm

siamond wrote:(yes, I share some of the skepticism about this list - even if it made me feel really good! notably by leaving Victoria in the dust for once! :twisted: )
Happy to oblige, especially because some of my happiness is found on dusty roads.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:52 am

mmoneytalks wrote:I thought the following was interesting so I thought I'd share. Based on a survey of retirees conducted by Wes Moss (author "You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think"), the following 18 traits (behaviors/characteristics) consistently showed up in his data for the happiest retirees. According to Wes, "don't think of it as a checklist" instead, these 18 traits "should give you some ideas of how to increase your own chances of happiness as you approach your golden years."

1. During their "peak earning" years, happy retirees average $97,869 in household income (unhappy retirees average $77,522).
2. Current income of the happy group, either in retirement or close to it, averages $82,770 (unhappy retirees average $53,370).
3. Happy retirees have at least $500,000 in liquid net worth.
4. They have a well-defined understanding of their purpose in life. "Happy retirees know what their retirement money is for."
5. They have at least 3.5 core pursuits--the activities and interests that they love to pursue. "For happy retirees, nearly all of their top activities are highly social, active and generally involve other people."
6. Their home value is at least $300,000.
7. They don't have a mortgage, of it they do, their mortgage payoff is in sight. "Happy retirees are nearly four times more likely to be mortgage free within 5 years".
8. They are married, not divorced. "Divorce has a direct and depleting effect on your personal finances".
9. Happy retirees have at least two children (and three seems to be the magic number). "A solid 50 percent of unhappy retirees have one child or no children."
10. They have at least two (sometimes three) different sources of income in retirement.
11. Happy retirees spend at least five hours per year (and usually more) planning for retirement.
12. Their spending level in retirement is approximately $53,000 [net] per year.
13. They live in the city or suburbs, not in the country. "Happy retirees are more likely to live in cities or suburban areas, where they are less isolated and have more opportunities to engage and interact."
14. Happy retirees hate fast food and love steak. "Happy retirees love treating themselves to a nice steak at Ruth's Chris or LongHorn. They also love to eat out at Olive Garden. (Who knew?)"
15. They don't drive BMWs. "When unhappy retirees buy luxury cars, they buy German luxury. Happy retirees' favorite luxury brand? Lexus is at the top of their list."
16. They shop at Macy's and Kohl's. "Happy retirees shop "in the middle"--not fancy, not charity."
17. Happy retirees take at least two vacations per year, and when they do vacation, they spend more than unhappy retirees.
18. Their education level includes some college or above.

Thought this thread was worth a bump. I added some highlights.
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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Non7WoodUser » Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:53 am

Patriotic and family values oriented are the most common traits.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by soboggled » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:12 pm

I think there are all kinds of happy retirees but I have seen two kinds of unhappy retirees: (1) Those who have had the good luck to find something they would rather do than anything else in life and now for whatever reason cannot do it and (2) those who have so little imagination they need to be busy doing what somebody else wants them to do. There is sometimes overlap - a job can be a habit.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Trader/Investor » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:48 pm

Maybe because I never run with the herd, but thought this list was bunk. I simply not into researchers be it how to be happy or how to invest/trade my nest egg. Best move I ever made was to relocate to the country here in Mayberry 20 years ago. That was also about the time I "happily" got a divorce. And no mention of spirituality or health??????

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Nestegg_User » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:55 pm

As a recent retiree and sit on my deck drinking coffee this morning looking at an unobstructed mountain views in our paid up house on a few acres in a rural location (with neighbors that are not too close) and reading this resurected thread, I am far more content than in the suburban location we were at, with meh views of the yard but with a nearby state park.

As for the list, where one is both pre- and post retirement highly affects #'s 1,2 6, and 12. As for #18, degrees, especially graduate/ professional degrees, can enable (but don't always result in) high income and potential savings rates (ours did, but not always, and it depends on location and its costs). As for children (which we don't have), they can also cause stress in retirement if they have issues such as chronic unemployment (return-to-nest issues), incarceration or drug problems, or significant marital, etc problems. As for city vs. suburban vs. rural/country, I suspect there is also a sampling problem (I've seen undersampling in older census for both rural and inner city locations and it is likely the authors had harder times accounting for these as well) and one can be happy or unhappy in these locations, as long as that is the desired place and not forced upon. As for vacations, we haven't taken one yet here in retirement; the tourists come here :D .

What I find missing (along with the financial readiness to retire) is :
- sufficient health to enjoy what retirement may permit you to do
- retirement on one's own terms (NOT downsized, due to health issues, etc)
- retirement TO something, NOT FROM something

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nisiprius
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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by nisiprius » Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:44 pm

It's good to know the names of the brands that will make you happy. <---Irony

How about this one?
0: Retirees in good health are happy, retirees in poor health are unhappy.

That's about as useful and actionable as many of the others.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by technovelist » Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:54 pm

nisiprius wrote:It's good to know the names of the brands that will make you happy. <---Irony

How about this one?
0: Retirees in good health are happy, retirees in poor health are unhappy.

That's about as useful and actionable as many of the others.
So the actionable advice is "be in good health"? Now you tell us! :oops:
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Levett » Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:59 pm

Nisi wrote:

"Retirees in good health are happy, retirees in poor health are unhappy."

Yeah. That's been my experience.

And happy or unhappy retirees were likely happy or unhappy before they retired.

That's also been my experience.

Lev

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by daveydoo » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:09 pm

mmoneytalks wrote:Based on a survey of retirees
Relatively new to this forum, and I know this will wear off and I'll fade into the background, but what's with all the surveys? These are associations and not causation! If happy retirees drink 2.4 cups of coffee and unhappy ones drink 1.5 cups of coffee daily, I won't alter my life plan; coffee consumption is as much as anything a correlate of wealth -- and so is nearly everything on this list. If happy retirees report that their spouse is at least 20 lbs overweight, I'm not gonna "help" mine by making this happen.

This is like "the ten habits of effective _______ ." Best example: if you ask a hundred Nobel laureates to what they owe their success, I bet a large fraction would say "to persevere when everyone says you're wrong but you know that you're right." That's great advice when you're working on a Nobel-prize-winning idea, but the other 99.999% of the time, when everyone (everyone!) says that you're wrong, you just are.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by Crimsontide » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:11 pm

I have them all covered except #4, #5 and #9. Something tells me the sum total of all the others will not come close to compensating for missing #4 and #5...

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by technovelist » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:12 pm

daveydoo wrote:
mmoneytalks wrote:Based on a survey of retirees
Relatively new to this forum, and I know this will wear off and I'll fade into the background, but what's with all the surveys? These are associations and not causation! If happy retirees drink 2.4 cups of coffee and unhappy ones drink 1.5 cups of coffee daily, I won't alter my life plan; coffee consumption is as much as anything a correlate of wealth -- and so is nearly everything on this list. If happy retirees report that their spouse is at least 20 lbs overweight, I'm not gonna "help" mine by making this happen.

This is like "the ten habits of effective _______ ." Best example: if you ask a hundred Nobel laureates to what they owe their success, I bet a large fraction would say "to persevere when everyone says you're wrong but you know that you're right." That's great advice when you're working on a Nobel-prize-winning idea, but the other 99.999% of the time, when everyone (everyone!) says that you're wrong, you just are.
Correct. This is called the "Joe Schultz effect", generally explained as follows:

They said Einstein was crazy.
They said Newton was crazy.
They said Joe Schultz was crazy.

Who's Joe Schultz, you ask?
Well, he really was crazy. :mrgreen:
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by GerryL » Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:10 pm

Trader/Investor wrote:Maybe because I never run with the herd, but thought this list was bunk. I simply not into researchers be it how to be happy or how to invest/trade my nest egg. Best move I ever made was to relocate to the country here in Mayberry 20 years ago. That was also about the time I "happily" got a divorce. And no mention of spirituality or health??????
Keep in mind that the results of a survey constitute a picture of a population. The list says "this is what we saw." It is not a recipe or a prescription for how to be happy in retirement. It does not mean that every retire who lives in a house worth more than $300k is happy any more than it means that all retirees who live in the country are unhappy.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by J295 » Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:01 pm

Some say .....Happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by VAslim16 » Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:01 pm

Cool post...thanks for this. Got 7 (#s 7,11,13,15-18) of these @ 37 right now...hoping to be retired in 18 more years. Hopefully can work on #s 8 and 9 ha.

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by burt » Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:26 pm

Retirement is pretty easy if your job sucked.
Hell, watching the plants grow is a treat.
I know several who never made it to retirement.
Don't over think this retirement thing. You are not immortal.

burt

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by detroitbabu » Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:38 pm

Wes Moss has most likely never visited any third world country in his life.
The title of this should be "Traits of happiest retirees in the small world I know called upper middle class US".

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:54 pm

detroitbabu wrote:Wes Moss has most likely never visited any third world country in his life.
The title of this should be "Traits of happiest retirees in the small world I know called upper middle class US".
I don't know if he has visited a third world country or not but I am sure his target audience was not intended to be universal. Maybe I am missing something but from everything I can tell this forum is dedicated to helping people solve first world problems.

Wes Moss is the Chief Investment Strategist for Capital Investment Advisors (CIA) in Atlanta.
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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:57 pm

GerryL wrote:
Trader/Investor wrote:Maybe because I never run with the herd, but thought this list was bunk. I simply not into researchers be it how to be happy or how to invest/trade my nest egg. Best move I ever made was to relocate to the country here in Mayberry 20 years ago. That was also about the time I "happily" got a divorce. And no mention of spirituality or health??????
Keep in mind that the results of a survey constitute a picture of a population. The list says "this is what we saw." It is not a recipe or a prescription for how to be happy in retirement. It does not mean that every retire who lives in a house worth more than $300k is happy any more than it means that all retirees who live in the country are unhappy.
No it means one of the things that contributes to being happy is having a safe and comfortable dwelling and easy access to a large number of varied activities. I would assume these factors increase in importance as one ages.
IMHO, Investing should be about living the life you want, not avoiding the life you fear. | Run, You Clever Boy! [9085]

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by NMJack » Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:23 pm

mmoneytalks wrote:
5. nearly all of their top activities are highly social, active and generally involve other people."

14. "Happy retirees love treating themselves to a nice steak at Ruth's Chris or LongHorn."
These are the only two that lost me. Not sure how "Ruth's Chris" and "Longhorn" made it in the same reference. Two ends of the spectrum.

Also, what's this babble about "highly social" all about? If I wanted to interact with people, I would have kept working. :annoyed

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Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

Post by NMJack » Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:26 pm

john94549 wrote:As a retiree, might I say the key is never having to worry.
We have a winner! :sharebeer

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