We all have been led to believe that our lives would be so much happier if we were wealthy. The dictionary definition of wealth means to have an abundance of money or possessions. Many books have been written with titles such as How to Get Rich, How to Make Money, and How to Become a Millionaire.
As we enter our retirement years, the questions we really should be asking are is having an abundance of money the real path to happiness and what is the definition of wealth?
Research has determined that having a large quantity of money does not necessarily make us happier. About 11 years ago, Purdue University researchers conducted detailed studies and Gallup polls, and discovered that $75,000 was the maximum amount of income required to be happy. The basis of the research suggests that once our necessary needs and living expenses are met, any additional money will not buy our happiness.
Best-selling author and researcher Brene Brown claims that “the only currency that matters in this world is what you share with someone else” and “the role you play in other people’s lives is your greatest wealth.”
Popular books by best-selling authors have concurred with Brown’s observations, by defining wealth differently than the traditional dictionary definition. Feeling wealthy in retirement is about having optimal health, positive relationships, faith/spirituality, passions, as well as providing service to others.
Physical and mental health is instrumental to our happiness because, if we do not have good health, then everything else in our life is insignificant. It does not matter how much money we have if our destiny does not allow us to live a long and healthy life. Exercising regularly, eating healthy and focusing on our self-care are necessary for maintaining our overall good health.
We value our relationships more the older we become. As our families expand, we have more people to lean on in times of both triumph and need. Friendships are more important because we now have the time to spend with like-minded others sharing our mutual passions and interests.
Relationships need to be nurtured, and I just heard one of the best ideas for maintaining positive connections. An author who just published her memoir advised that she cultivates her meaningful relationships by taking the time to write letters to her loved ones while they are still with us, rather than waiting to write eulogies after they have passed.
Having a strong faith and meaningful spirituality provides a grounding for us for everything that we do in our lives. Whether we are facing challenges or are in need of guidance, having a prayer source helps us to feel that there is hope and that we are never alone.
The practice of gratitude is one of the simplest habits to incorporate into our daily lives and has been proven to contribute immensely to our happiness.
Many of us put our passions on hold during the years that we were busy working and raising our families. During retirement, we are afforded with the time to reconnect with the activities and interests that we previously loved doing and can now spend the time doing.
For others, it may be the time to start a new interest or hobby. Activities such as golf, pickleball, cards, reading, puzzles are great ways to keep our minds sharp and bodies fit. When we are doing something that we truly love, time flies by.
Helping others is instrumental to our contentment. Sharing our gifts and resources is one of our greatest successes. Anytime we take attention away from ourselves and focus on others, we take one step forward to becoming our best selves.
There are so many options available to providing valuable service to others. We can choose to volunteer for our favourite organization or charity, advocate for minority groups, teach children and disadvantaged adults, and/or help our neighbours and communities.
If you are seeking wealth in your life, I would suggest that you stop focusing on having more money and material things than you need. The material possessions that you have accrued are not going to bring you more contentment and do not really matter, particularly as you get to the end of your life.
Someone else will either inherit them or will have to get rid of them for you. Optimizing health, nurturing positive relationships, practicing meaningful spirituality, embracing interests and passions, and providing service to others, is how to feel wealthy in retirement.
What is your definition of wealth? What do you do every day to feel wealthy in your retirement?
Tags Finding Happiness