7 Habits of Highly Successful Retirees

by Gary Foreman

Habits of Highly Successful Retirees photo

We look at the paradigms of highly successful retirees who are happily living their ideal retirement. Let’s see what we can learn from them to make sure that we too have a happy, successful retirement.

Retirement affects everything you do. It’s the biggest change in your lifestyle since you moved out on your own in your teens or twenties. Bigger than getting married, having kids, sending them through college.

You’ve worked hard for years. And now you’re supposed to be able to take it a little easier. But the truth is that most of us are not nearly prepared for retirement.

The late Dr. Covey stated, “If you want to make minor, incremental changes and improvements, work on practices, behavior or attitude. But if you want to make significant, quantum improvement, work on paradigms.”

Let’s look at the paradigms of highly successful retirees to see what we can learn from them.

1. Successful Retirees track their expenses.

Successful retirees know that you can spend your way into trouble. They recognize that their income has limits. So expenses need to have limits, too.

They also know that you don’t have to keep track of every single dime. There’s no need to drive yourself crazy keeping track of the small stuff. This isn’t about squeezing every last cent out of life.

You can keep track of your expenses by reviewing your monthly credit card statements and ATM or cash withdrawals.

You know that you need to make sure that your annual expenses don’t exceed your income. And, if you’re running close to your income (like most of us), you’ll want to make sure your income is enough to cover expenses on a monthly basis.

You deserve a comfortable retirement.

Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each week we feature financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

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Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to helping you plan for a comfortable retirement even if haven't saved enough. Subscribers get The After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist for FREE!

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2. Successful Retirees know how much income they’ll have and where it’s coming from.

Successful retirees don’t make guesses about their income. They know how much they’ll have each year and the source of that income.

Your retirement income will likely include some of the following:

Take the time to estimate how much income you’ll receive from each on a monthly and annual basis.

Some may vary a little. But you should be able to get a close estimation of what your monthly and annual income will be.

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3. Successful Retirees don’t retire too soon.

Many people feel that they’re forced into retirement too soon because of a job loss in their late 50s or early 60s. They have trouble finding a job with similar pay and begin to take Social Security as soon as it’s available to them. That can be a critical mistake.

Working at even a lower paying job will provide more income than Social Security. And every year you delay taking Social Security increases your monthly check by about 8% when you finally do start to collect.

If you really can’t find work, need immediate income and want to delay Social Security, consider a reverse mortgage. You can borrow against the equity of your home, using that for current expenses while delaying the start of Social Security income.

4. Successful Retirees pay attention to their health.

Successful retirees know that Medicare doesn’t pay for everything. According to a survey by Fidelity, the average couple will need $280k for uncovered medical costs.

Paying attention to your health can reduce your medical costs. A balanced diet and regular check-ups are just two things that you can do to maintain good health.

5. Successful Retirees stay active both mentally and physically.

Successful retirees know that if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. It may be tempting to just chill out and relax, but you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you stay active.

According to a retirement study, “Keeping the brain active can keep mental deterioration at bay and even stave off depression, researchers found.”

One way to keep your mind active is to spend time reading each day. Whether you read your daily paper, a novel or an informative email newsletter like After 50 Finances you’ll be forcing your brain to process new material.

There are a variety of ways to stay active physically, too. You may choose to get a senior discount at your local gym. Or you might take up a physical activity like gardening.

6. Successful Retirees choose a place to live that best meets their needs and desires.

Successful retirees know that where they live affects virtually every aspect of their life. Your decision not only needs to be appropriate today but needs to work with your needs 5, 10 and even 20 years from now.

For most retirees, the most important considerations are affordability, accessibility, and nearness to shopping/doctors/family.

There’s a wide variety of options available to you. Some retirees choose to ‘age in place‘ in the home where they’ve lived for years. Others choose to buy or rent a condo or apartment to minimize maintenance. Still others choose a retirement community or even move into an RV and take up a nomadic lifestyle.

Each option has different benefits and costs. Choose carefully. This will be one of the most important retirement decisions you’ll make.

7. Successful Retirees make appropriate end of life and estate planning arrangements.

Successful Retirees know that we can’t live forever. And they prepare for the future. Those preparations are more complicated than they were for our parents or grandparents. The time when you could hand write a will and that was all you needed are over.

Today you’ll not only need a will, but possibly a power of attorneyhealthcare directives, lists of investments and passwords/pins for various accounts.

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Can you rework your own paradigm, as Dr. Covey suggested, to become a more successful retiree?

Reviewed October 2020

About the Author

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters in 1996. He's the author of How to Conquer Debt No Matter How Much You Have and he's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, Credit.com and CreditCards.com. Gary shares his philosophy of money here. Gary is available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

You deserve a comfortable retirement.

Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each issue features financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

Debt ChecklistSubscribers get The After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist for FREE!

Your Email:

You deserve a comfortable retirement.

Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each issue features financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

Debt ChecklistSubscribers get The After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist for FREE!

Your Email:

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