“Happiness,” it’s been said, “is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it will evade you.” In other words, by actively pursuing a happy state, you reduce your chances of achieving it.
That may be true from a philosophical standpoint, but when it comes to retirement planning, new research suggests there may in fact be specific steps you can take to enjoy a more rewarding post-career life.
Researchers from The American College, Eastern New Mexico University, and Texas Tech looked at financial, lifestyle and other data on 1,526 retirees to see what makes for a more satisfying retirement.
When it comes to having a more enjoyable retirement, the experiences of older Americans shows that there are three main ways you may be able to tilt the odds in your favor.
1. Spend more money on having fun.
When the researchers examined how retirees spend their money — on everything from cars and housing-related items to food and insurance — they found that spending in only one category tended to predict retirement satisfaction: leisure, or “experiential commodities” as they say, which includes such activities as dining out, travel, entertainment, and hobbies.
It’s hardly shocking that splurging on dinner at a nice restaurant will leave you feeling more warm and fuzzy inside than forking over the same sum to have your car’s oil changed and the tires balanced and rotated.
But don’t put the bump in satisfaction down to mere hedonism.
Rather, it’s because shelling out dough for leisure activities — or what one of the study’s co-author’s, The American College’s Michael Finke described to me as “social spending” — takes us outside of ourselves and keep us more engaged with the world.
You don’t want to overdo it, though, and have an initially blissful retirement devolve into a survival test in your dotage because you spent too freely on leisure pursuits early on.
But to the extent you have discretionary funds built into your retirement budget, don’t be afraid to target them to activities that give you the biggest happiness bang for your buck.
2. Nurture your personal relationships.
How close you feel to family and friends can also affect how much you enjoy retirement. For example, the researchers found that when it comes to relationships, how well you and your spouse get along had the biggest impact — even larger than that of leisure spending — with retirees who described their relations with their spouse as being very or quite close likely to experience higher levels of life satisfaction than those with a poor spousal relationship.
This stands to reason. After all, if you’re married, your spouse is the person you’re probably going to be spending the most time with. And if that relationship is sour, it will likely be harder for you to truly savor other aspects of retirement.
Surprisingly, the researchers found “no evidence to support children contributing to retirees life satisfaction,” although having close relationships with friends and, to a lesser extent, other family members does.
I have to admit I did a double-take on this assertion about children, as it seems inconsistent with the importance most parents place on their relationships with their kids.
But the issue here isn’t how much we love or value our offspring, but whose company is likely to provide us with the most enjoyment in retirement. “And it appears that the people we get the most satisfaction from spending time with,” says Finke, “may not be our children, but the friends with whom we have more in common and share similar interests.”
In any case, relationships, not to mention physical intimacy, can play a major role in how much you enjoy life after work. So as you near and enter retirement, you’ll want to be sure to evaluate your relationships with the people who matter to you and try to sustain and improve those relationships (and if possible cultivate new ones) as you age.
3. Do all you can to maintain your health.
You can also improve your shot at a happy retirement by staying healthy. Indeed, retirees who reported they were in good, very good, or excellent health were more likely to feel satisfied with their retirement than those with poor or even fair health. What’s more, health status was even more likely to lead to retirement satisfaction than good relationships or leisure spending.
Other research bears out just how much good health is linked to retirement happiness. According to a recent Nationwide Retirement Institute survey, a third of recent retirees say that health problems are interfering with their retirement.
Of course, you don’t have absolute control over your health. But there are a number of things you can do to reduce the chance that an illness or other physical problems will cast a pall on your post-career life, including staying active and exercising regularly, getting regular checkups, and receiving proper treatment for any ongoing health issues.
Aside from enhancing your enjoyment of retirement in general, looking after your physical well-being may also help you feel more financially secure by possibly lowering the amount of money you’ll have to shell out for health care, which is one of retirees’ largest expenses.
There are other ways aside from those mentioned in this paper that may also be able to help you can improve your prospects for a more satisfying retirement. For example, a 2015 Merrill Lynch report found that seniors who give back in some way, such as by volunteering, were more likely to say they were happy and had a strong sense of purpose in their lives.
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The asset management know-how of Irwin Consulting has been developed over many years. Our financial methods combine convention and creativity. Refined strategies with a long-term perspective and a traditional slant focus on stability and order. Most of all, we aim to satisfy the needs of our clients.
Our approach is definitely unlike most asset management companies, who seem to use rather sluggish “portfolio theory” asset diversification methods mixed with fairly dynamic stock-picking strategies founded on “bottom-up” elementary investigation and/or technical study.
Our clients, we believe, deserve a better deal by providing them with an overall, holistic method intended to keep them completely invested in a semi-passive, finely-assorted portfolio of ETFs, taking protective steps to safeguard asset only during comparatively rare times of major downside fluctuations (bear markets).
Irwin Consulting issue stock-picking in lieu of having finely-assorted baskets of stocks, such as low-cost index funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs). Not only does much of the research show that personal security choice plays a much smaller part in influencing long-term gains than asset class, style, and sector selection do over less time, having too much exposure in one particular firm that explodes can cause great harm to the whole portfolio.
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Irwin Consulting advisors provides one of the largest assortments of fund groups in the industry, and your Financial Advisor has the facilities to assist you select the proper fund or basket of funds to satisfy your special needs. Coordinate well with your Investment Counselor to design a mutual fund portfolio that satisfies your particular condition.
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Investing in Stocks to help you achieve your Financial Objectives
In terms of stock investing, understanding your financial objective is critical. That, together with your investment time targets and your risk capacity when investing in stocks, will aid you in determining how your stock investments should perform with the rest of your financial portfolio.
When to consider Investing in Stocks
Stock investing can enhance your financial portfolio by allowing you to attain growth, profit from dividends or achieve both. Nevertheless, the worth of any stock you buy in can vary, and when you sell your stock, may be more or less than what you paid at the start. When choosing stocks to buy in, you should cautiously reflect on the risks of investing in stock and design an assorted asset allocation strategy that suits your objectives, investment time target and risk capacity.
Diversifying your Stocks
Having a varied stock portfolio helps to offset the risk your investments are subjected to. The objective is to widen the range of your stock investments among various sectors and incorporate various investment characteristics so that when a certain stock or sector does poorly, the performance of your stocks in other sectors may aid in offsetting the changes in the overall worth of your stock portfolio.
Some Basic Guidelines you can utilize when selecting a Variety of Stocks for your Portfolio are:
· Invest in about 20 to 30 stocks in a minimum of six to eight sectors with various investment characteristics.
· Limit to only 25% of the overall worth of your stock portfolio should be in any particular sector.
· Limit to 15% of the overall worth of your stock portfolio should be in any particular stock.
· You need to invest at least about 3% to 4% of the overall worth of your stock portfolio in every stock.
· Your investment counselor can assist you in designing a mixed financial plan that fits your circumstances and your financial objectives.
The Popularity of Mutual Funds
Mutual funds are common investments because they provide a cost-effective and effective means to vary your investments (or possess an assortment of securities -- stocks, bonds, etc.) without having to make a huge starting investment.
Basics about Investing in Mutual Funds
Buying shares of a mutual fund allows you to pool your money with other investors and letting the mutual fund (which is essentially a professional capital management firm) invest and administer the money to aid in achieving the fund's targeted financial objective (e.g., income, growth, or a mixture of both). This allows you to fast-track the setting up of a multi-faceted portfolio with as little investment as possible.
When to consider Investing in Mutual Funds
Since they are efficiently administered by experts and because they provide variety with essentially low starting cash input, mutual funds can be a viable option for the majority of investors. Many investors opt to invest in mutual funds instead of selecting a vast assortment of particular investments.
Investing at Irwin Consulting
Irwin Consulting advisors provides one of the wide-ranging choices of fund groups in the industry, and your Investment Counselor has the facilities to aid you in selecting the proper fund or basket of funds to satisfy your specific needs. Coordinate well with your Investment Counselor to design a mutual fund portfolio which fits your particular circumstances.
Investing in Future & Commodities
Futures and commodities investments provide investors with more intricate financial requirements a means to hopefully gain from both the upward and downward movement of commodity and financial markets.
Basics of Futures & Commodities Investing
Futures and commodities speculators can benefit from greatly leveraged exposures in both financial and non-financial markets (commodities such as energies, meats, metals and grains). Hence, they can buy futures contracts by depositing even a little portion of the total contract price. Their aim is to gain from movements in the value of the futures contract.
Hedgers, those who hold a particular commodity (asset) or have a definite investment (such as energy cost), frequently choose a position opposite of the cash market to help lessen the risk of falling or rising commodity prices.
Risk of Investing in Futures & Commodities
Since futures and commodities markets can be extremely volatile, repeatedly fluctuating significantly, investing in them is not applicable for all investors. You could lose all your investment and in certain instances, even more than that. Moreover, you may at times encounter difficulty in liquidating your futures contracts, which limits your use of cash.
Before investing, consider the following:
· Financial Resources
· Investment Objectives
· Financial Track Record
· Risk Capacity
Commodities at Irwin Consulting
If you want to know more about the benefits of investments in futures and commodities, get in touch with your financial advisor. Both of you can consider the advantages and disadvantages of this type of investment and whether it is suitable to your particular circumstances and that it is within your risk level.
If futures and commodities investment satisfies your investment objectives but your financial counselor does not trade in these assets, he or she will refer you to another investment advisor who can assist you invest in this highly specialized market.
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The stock market provides a means for entrepreneurs to obtain capital for their business ventures from money coming from investments. When you buy stock you actually own part of a company. In exchange for buying stock in a firm, the investor becomes part-owner of the firm and derives a return on investment in proportion to the amount of shares purchased. Traditionally, they have had better returns than bonds and other investments but often possess a greater amount of risk. Stocks can be a vital part of your general portfolio.
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