It’s important for you to target joy and purpose for your time in retirement. Find out why


When you finally decide to finish working, you’re likely going to find yourself with more free time than you had before. Now that you’re not tied to getting up every day and spending your time on your occupation, you’ll have many more hours in the day to fill.

For the most part, this is a good thing – whether you’re a workaholic and love what you do, or it’s simply a means to an end, having all this time outside of work for relaxing and using your money to pursue personal goals is a hugely positive change.

However, while this can be an opportunity to live the kind of life you’ve always wanted, it’s crucial to prioritise joy and purpose for your time in retirement. Read on to discover why.

Having more free time will make you happier – but there’s a limit

First and foremost, the risk of not having purpose for your retirement is that, while having more free time will initially make you happier, there are diminishing returns when you have too much.

A social psychology study reported by CNBC produced fascinating results on this topic. Looking at the habits of tens of thousands of Americans, the research found that having less than two hours of free time a day was associated with lower happiness.

Meanwhile, increasing this figure to between two and five hours saw a notable increase in reported happiness levels.

However, the study also uncovered a decline in happiness once free time exceeded the five-hour threshold. In fact, by the time individuals had seven or more hours of free time, their subjective sense of happiness actually fell below that of those with just half an hour of free time each day.

Consider what brings you joy and gives you purpose

While this research shows that having unlimited free time is not necessarily a good thing, it doesn’t mean you need to stay in work forever to keep yourself occupied.

Instead, it indicates the importance of knowing how you’re going to spend your newly acquired free time for your sense of purpose and overall mental wellbeing.

Yet despite how crucial this is, insurance company Aegon’s Financial Wellbeing Index found that just one in five people are “aware of what makes their life enjoyable”. Similarly, only 15% have considered what makes their lives “meaningful”.

There’s a distinction here between what you enjoy and what gives you meaning, which can be summed up by the difference between “joy” and “purpose”:

  • Joy involves the things that provide an immediate, short-term feeling of happiness. That might be playing golf, going to Michelin-starred restaurants with your spouse or partner, or visiting different cities and countries.
  • Purpose involves anything that gives you meaning. This might be volunteering for a cause that matters to you, spending time with your children and grandchildren, or creating your dream garden at home yourself.

Without having thought about these things, you put yourself in the position of transitioning into retirement with no idea how you want to spend your time.

And, as the research reveals, this could ultimately see you live a less happy retirement than you could by simply identifying the activities that mean the most to you.

Setting goals with a financial planner

This is the reason we always start with your goals when you work with us at Britannic Place – so that your financial plan is built around the things that bring you joy and purpose, rather than just your money.

The wealth you’ve carefully saved and invested throughout the course of your lifetime is undoubtedly important for supporting you in retirement. But rather than seeing this as the be-all and end-all, your money is just the means for driving you towards those things that bring you joy and purpose.

By starting with your goals, we design your financial plan around how you can achieve these, putting your happiness front and centre of your retirement.

Of course, your goals can, and likely will, change over time. You might adjust your goals as you get older, or other elements might become more of a priority. In turn, we can adapt your plan so that it keeps you on track to achieving your new desires.

As long as you begin by defining your goals based on the things that bring you joy and offer you a sense of purpose, you’ll be putting your best foot forward in living a fulfilling retirement that truly makes you happy.

Work with us

If you’d like to find out how joy and purpose can define your plans for your retirement, please speak to us at Britannic Place.

Email info@britannicplace.co.uk or call 01905 419890 to get in touch with us today.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

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