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Securing a long and happy retirement is something that we should all aspire to. Of course, when it comes to planning for retirement, the major factor is ensuring financial stability.

But the saying – “money can’t buy happiness” is also true – Whilst money should be the central aspect of any retirement plan, it isn’t the be-all and end-all. For a truly happy retirement, there are other inputs to be considered.

In Ireland, there is an ongoing study into how to improve the quality of life for retirees in the country. The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) is one of the largest studies in the world that looks at all aspects of retirement and ageing. TILDA has set itself the worthy goal of making Ireland the best place in the world to grow old.

The study has been running since 2006 and collects data in a series of two-year waves. It is currently working on the 6th wave, and the findings so far have revealed some interesting facts that can help guide us towards a happier and healthier retirement.

The golden years

Perhaps one of the most surprising findings is the quality of life that we enjoy well into retirement. The TILDA study has revealed that most of us can expect the same quality of life at age 80 as we did in our fifties. Indeed, our quality of life peaks at age 68 and doesn’t start to decrease in any meaningful sense until we are in our eighties.

Of course, this has ramifications for our retirement pot and underlines the importance of solid retirement planning.

The importance of social participation

The TILDA study has also revealed that continued social participation in retirement is a crucial factor in maintaining both happiness and also contributes to overall well-being.

It is therefore important to maintain a social network and stay involved with activities that encourage social interaction. Volunteer work, golf, yoga, night classes, etc., have all been found to have positive effects on the quality of life during retirement.

Living Conditions

It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the quality of our living conditions is an essential part of a comfortable retirement. Cold and damp are amongst the major factors that can have a detrimental effect, both on the quality of retirement and, to some extent, the length of retirement.

The takeaway from this is the need to factor in making your home as comfortable as possible in your retirement plan.

Keep Healthy

The importance of keeping fit is an essential factor to enjoy retirement at its fullness. We are all going to get frailer as we age, that is simply a fact of life. But we can delay it and even reverse it with simple exercises; even daily walks go a long way to keeping your fitness levels high.

Consider joining keep fit clubs that are designed for your age group and current fitness level.

A healthy diet will also help to ensure that you stay healthier for longer, so look after your nutritional needs and keep to a balanced diet.

No matter what age you are, it is never too early to start ensuring that your retirement is long, happy, and healthy.

The importance of financial planning

One of the major findings from TILDA is the fact that we are living longer and staying healthier longer. This means that to enjoy our retirement to its fullness then a foundation of a solid financial plan is essential.

For someone retiring at age 60, they can expect 20 healthy and active years to look forward to. A solid lifestyle financial plan will ensure that your retirement years are spent living each day to the full and not worrying about the next bill or whether the car will limp on for another year.

It should also look at factors like the state of your housing and include plans to have your living environment made as comfortable as possible before you retire.

Financial Architects have years of experience in helping people prepare properly for a long and healthy retirement. Our financial advisers can help tailor a financial plan that will ensure your retirement years are some of the happiest of your life.

Financial Architects Ltd t/a Financial Architects is Regulated by the Central Bank Of Ireland.