Nancy left a great comment on Retire Happy – Part III, which I thought really should have a post to reply to the questions.
Q: I enjoyed your ideas. Kinda made me think: what if we all did way more of that? How would it affect our spending? -ie., if we regularly really absorbed, drank in the moment. Would we feel less compulsion to spend?
A: Speaking from experience, working on being happy has been wonderful to my quality of life overall. I’ve also noticed that my spending naturally dropped off a bit as I stopped buying things that really didn’t generate much enjoyment for me and started spending more time with my family.
Perhaps the most useful thing that has come out of my work on being more happy is I don’t obsess about savings and retirement planning as much. Retirement is no longer this thing in which my life will instantly be better, but rather now just the next phase in my life after my current one. You have to remember retirement is not a magic pill that will solve all your current problems in life. All retirement allows is the freedom to choose what you do with you time without needing to worry about the monetary compensation. Concentrate on being happy in your current life and you will make your retirement the next phase of your life rather than an escape from your current life.
Also I’ve come to realize that retirement itself is just a title and can mean many different things to different people. For some people retirement is just a scale back of their current work load, others a change in career and for some a complete absence of work. There is no one answer.
PS: The site over haul is basically done. I’ve moved some things around and added a new section to the left sidebar near the bottom called ‘Tools.’ Here I’ll be placing some links to useful retirement information and calculators. If you have an idea of something I should add please let me know with a comment or email. Thanks everyone for your patience during this over haul to the site.