3 Habits of Successful Retirees Worth Imitating

The following is a guest post from Joshua Mellberg, President and Founder of J.D. Mellberg Financial. He is an Investment Advisory Representative and licensed insurance agent. He is a sought-after speaker on retirement income planning strategies and has been featured on CNBC, PBS and Yahoo! Finance.

Americans are increasingly glum about the odds they will enjoy a secure retirement, and those concerns flow across generational lines.

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New research by the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies reveals that 45 percent of Baby Boomers expect to experience a reduced standard of living in retirement. Meanwhile, 83 percent of Generation X workers anticipate they will have a harder time achieving financial security than their parents did and just 18 percent of Millennials foresee a comfortable retirement, the research says.

Sadly, those results aren’t surprising because we often hear from people who have real concerns about outliving their money.

A lot of this is because so many aspects related to a traditional retirement have changed. For one, people are living longer, which means they need either to save more money or find ways to make what they do save last.

Other factors causing anguish are that pensions are a thing of the past for most Americans, and there are constant rumbles about whether Social Security faces a bleak future.

Pensions

But instead of fretting, those planning for retirement should concentrate on trying to control the things they can. Successful retirees often display three habits that are worth imitating.

  • They live with some urgency. Instead of sitting idly by, successful retirees seize each and every day to stay healthy and happy. This can apply to all aspects of life, from what you do during retirement to the way you save money throughout your working life. A sense of urgency can call you to action, so you’re more likely to prepare for a great retirement.
  • They retire based on their financial assets, not age. Traditionally, when people think about retirement, they pick a target age rather than a target amount in their portfolio. But that may not be the right approach. While you might have a certain age in mind, it can be more worthwhile to create a retirement plan that’s based on your finances. That will give you a much better chance of having enough money to last you the rest of your life.
  • They aren’t afraid to take risks. In many cases, it is best to minimize risks – and that’s especially true with finances for those approaching retirement. But you also don’t always want to live your life on the safe and boring side. One way some retirees minimize their financial risk is to use a portion of their savings to purchase an annuity, which provides them a set amount of income for life, much like a pension. Once you know your retirement income is in order you can be free to take some risks in other areas of your life and pursue your lifestyle goals.

Final Thoughts

Retirement is supposed to be about enjoying yourself after a lifetime of work, not counting pennies as you try to survive. People nearing retirement need to understand that there are steps they can take that will help put them in a more secure position financially so they can thrive and not just survive.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

6 Comments

  1. Nice guest post, Joshua! I really appreciate the power of habits, so I was excited to see your post. I particularly liked your point about urgency, which I think really does make a difference in everything. Thanks again for sharing your perspective!

    • There really is a lot to be said about developing good habits and ditching the bad … the earlier the better.

  2. What he said! (Fritz – we think alike). As James and Fritz know, my husband and I are retiring in 2 weeks – and two days. I like the part about taking risks. I needed to be reminded of that once in a while. Thanks for the post, Joshua, and thanks for sharing James.

    • Best of luck in retirement, my friend. I’m keenly interested to hear about your experiences with the transition and first impressions in the new phase of your lives.

    • Ah – love the “live with some urgency” too. I’m not sure we talk about that enough but clearly Fritz and Mrs. Groovy picked up on that too! That wording inspires action not fear! Nice post Joshua!

  3. Joshua, great article, and great reminder of good habits. I particularly like “living with urgency”, it’s a choice we should intentionally make every day!

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