Years ago, I started reading a blog called Get Rich Slowly. The blog was written by a guy named J.D. Roth who started blogging his journey to dig himself out of massive debt. Along the way, he got divorced, moved, sold his blog, and eventually bought it back. The reason I’m bringing this up is because he was the guest on a podcast recently for NewRetirement, which is a retirement planning tool.
Quick side note: I don’t know anything about the NewRetirement platform. That’s not an endorsement or a slam. Maybe someday I will…but that’s not the reason for today’s post.
Today’s post is about something Roth said in the podcast. “Even though I’m writing about money, I’m actually writing about the pursuit of happiness.” This sentence made me wonder. Is retirement about money or the pursuit of happiness?
Yes, of course, we need money to live. But as we’re planning our retirement, should we be so focused on the money that we’re not thinking about what makes us happy? It reminded me of a few things.
There are many low-cost and no-cost things that make me really happy. Like a cuppa tea in the morning (or evening). Watching football on Sundays. Reading a good book. Happiness isn’t always about buying things or taking expensive trips. I need to keep that top of mind in my retirement plans.
Prioritizing expensive things that I’d like to do could be helpful. It’s true – there are once in a lifetime trips I’d like to take. And maybe see Hamilton, which appears to be expensive. But if I prioritize and save, hopefully I can make those splurges happen. Which would make me very happy.
My wants and needs will change over time. It’s possible something that makes me happy today will become “meh” in the future. And that’s okay. Hopefully, I won’t spend money on a “meh” experience nor do I want to experience regret in not doing something I could have.
While we’re saving money and getting ourselves ready for retirement, it’s equally important to ask ourselves, “What will make us happy?” Keep in mind part of that answer could be to have a semi-retirement or an unretirement. The good news is that we can have what makes us happy if we plan for it.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Key West, FL