My book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think, has helped many families retire happier and sooner than they ever thought! But as much as I’d like to believe it was because of my delightful mastery of the English language, the credit belongs to the data within and what it reveals about achieving happiness in retirement. A chef is nothing without his ingredients, and an author is nothing without his message.
My message is all about helping people retire sooner and happier than they ever thought possible.
Sound financial planning is a vital element and one we covered in my book. However, my research has also shown that happiness in retirement can come from what I call core pursuits: hobbies on steroids. (Note: because weightlifting is a popular core pursuit, I need to point out that steroids are merely a figure of speech to signify the passion happy retirees have for these activities.)
Core pursuits are more important than casual interests. They help you determine what you want to spend your retirement money on and to what purpose you want to dedicate your post-working years.
My study uncovered that the happiest retirees on the block (HROBs) average 3.6 core pursuits, while the unhappy lot have only 1.9. Core pursuits are that critical to living a happy life in retirement. Let’s look at five popular core pursuits that happy retirees claim help them live with active purpose.
5 Popular Core Pursuits of Happy Retirees
Played with a wiffle ball and paddle, this combination of ping pong and tennis is fun and physically active without exposing the joints to quite as much impact as other sports. According to a report by the Association of Pickleball Professionals given to CNBC, more than 36.5 million people played the sport from August 2021 to August 2022. Seeing as megastar athletes such as LeBron James and Patrick Mahomes have recently invested in professional pickleball teams, it’s safe to say it’s taking the sports world by storm.
This is a prevalent and fulfilling option because it makes folks feel like they are truly accomplishing something. The happiest couples and individuals I work with beam from ear to ear when they talk about the charities they support. If you find your interest piqued, there is no dearth of options and no shortage of those in need of help.
Whether you have a naturally green thumb or you’ve killed enough houseplants to be labeled a serial killer, gardening is a great way to relieve stress, increase patience, and spend time outside. Planting the herbs, fruits, and vegetables you eat is a great way to cut down the grocery budget.
4. Starting a Band
Sure, it’s an overgeneralization, but is there a dad out there who didn’t once dream of playing in front of a live audience? Guess what? Just because those guitar-playing dads become grandpas doesn’t mean they stopped shredding on that battle ax after work — time to pull out the leather jacket and take the stage.
Contrary to popular belief, human beings of all sexes love to dance. But since I let men monopolize the music section, I’ll focus on ladies hitting the dance floor. Whether you like salsa, country line dancing, or the waltz, many communities offer all kinds of opportunities to boogie. Before you know it, you might even find yourself traveling (another popular core pursuit) to attend dance conventions.
If you want to get more into the weeds of my survey results, pick up a copy of my book. In the meantime, with the NCAA college basketball tournament quickly approaching, I thought a March Madness-style Core Pursuit Bracket would be fun.
Look at the rankings and follow along to see which ones make it to the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, and ultimately, the championship. You can print the bracket and vote for your winner on our stories on the @retiresoonerpodcast Instagram page.
Download and print a bracket here
No one said retirement planning couldn’t be fun. First, figure out what your money is for, and then use the hell out of it. You’ve earned it.