How to achieve a happy retirement

Key takeaways

  • Tips on how to have an enjoyable and fulfilling retirement, including maintaining your physical and mental wellbeing, budgeting for the retirement you want, and pursuing interests you’ve always wanted to but haven’t had the time.

Retirement – it’s a word that sparks dreams of leisure, travel, and freedom from the daily grind. But achieving a happy retirement doesn’t just happen all by itself; it requires planning, a willingness to embrace change, and a desire to make the most of your newfound freedom.

Whether you’re years away from retirement or counting down the days, this guide will help you navigate the exciting path to a happy retirement.

Finding your ‘why’

Why retire? It might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s essential to dig deep and understand your motivation. Is it to travel the world, spend more time with family, or finally tackle that passion project you’ve been dreaming of for years? Identifying your ‘why’ will give your retirement purpose and direction.

Financial fitness

Ah, the not-so-fun part of retirement planning. But don’t worry; we’re not here to bore you with spreadsheets and graphs. Think of it as a game – one where the goal is financial security. Start by assessing your current financial situation and create a budget that factors in your ‘why.’ Check out our article on the 50/30/20 budgeting strategy. You may also want to consider meeting with us to fine tune your plan and make your money work for you. 

Health is wealth

Picture this: you’re retired, sitting on a beach, sipping from a coconut, and living your best life. Sounds fantastic, right? Well, if you’re not in good health, that retirement scenario becomes a lot less fun, if even possible at all.

To give yourself the best chance of living that dream, start by eating right, exercising, and staying on top of those regular check-ups. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

Embrace change

Retirement often means a significant change in your daily routine. While it’s wonderful to have more free time, it can also be daunting. Embrace the change but do it at your pace. Try new hobbies, volunteer, or take up a part-time job if you’re itching for a bit more structure (and some extra cash!). Change is your friend, and it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. It also keeps life fresh and interesting. 

The bucket list

Remember all those things you put on hold during your working years? Now’s the time to check them off your list. Plan trips, visit friends and family, learn new skills, and explore your interests. Your bucket list isn’t just a list; it’s a roadmap to happiness and fulfilment.

Stay social

Social connections are like gold at any stage of life, but particularly in retirement, when our friendship circles can often become smaller. Make an effort to stay in touch with friends and family. Consider joining clubs, attending community events, and meeting new people.

Social activity will help keep your mind sharp, and the company of others can bring added joy to your life.

Don’t forget about your mental health

Reaching the end of your working life can come with its share of emotional ups and downs. It’s perfectly normal to feel a mix of excitement and apprehension. If you’re struggling with the transition, consider talking to a therapist or counsellor. Your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical health.

Organisation is key

Clutter can be a drain on your mental and emotional wellbeing. Start decluttering your living space and your life. Downsizing can make your home more manageable, and free up resources for doing the things you love. Plus, having an organised life can aid a stress-free one.

Explore new horizons

Retirement is the perfect time to feed your curiosity. Take classes, explore new hobbies, or even start a small business. It’s never too late to learn something new or become an entrepreneur. The world is full of opportunities – seize them!

Giving back

Now that you have more time on your hands, consider giving back to your community. Volunteering can be incredibly fulfilling and a great way to make a positive impact on the world. It’s a win-win for both you and the people you help.

Travel and adventure

Retirement is a fantastic opportunity to travel and explore the world. Whether you’re jet-setting to far-flung destinations or road-tripping to local spots, adventure awaits. 

Enjoy the simple pleasures

Sometimes, happiness can be found in the simplest things. Enjoy a leisurely morning with a good book, savour a nice cup of tea, or take a walk in the park. Finding joy in the everyday moments is one of the secrets to a contented retirement.

Plan for the future

While retirement is about living in the moment, it’s also important to plan for the future. Update your will, consider your care options in case that becomes a requirement down the track, and ensure your loved ones are taken care of. It’s a responsible way to guarantee peace of mind, both for you and your family.

Be flexible

Life doesn’t always go according to plan, and retirement is no exception. Be open to adjusting your goals and expectations as circumstances change. Flexibility is the key to a happy and stress-free retirement.


Retirement is a new beginning, a fresh chapter, and an opportunity to redefine what makes you happy. By identifying your ‘why’, taking care of your finances and health, embracing change, and enjoying all that life has to offer, you’re well on your way to achieving a happy retirement.

Look at your retirement like a blank canvas and your dreams and passions are the paint. Get busy with the brush!

* Based on KPMG Super Insights 2023 Report as at May 2023 KPMG Super Insights 2023 Report

This article has been prepared by NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633 AFSL 236465 (NULIS) as trustee of the MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024. NULIS is part of the Insignia Financial group of companies comprising Insignia Financial Ltd ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (‘Insignia Financial Group’). The information in this article is current as at January 2024 and may be subject to change. This information may constitute general advice. The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions based on this information. It is recommended that you consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) before you make any decisions about your superannuation. You can obtain the latest copy of the PDS (or other disclosure documents) and TMD by calling us on 132 652 or by searching for the applicable product at You should not rely on this article to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue. The case study examples (if any) provided in this article have been included for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon for decision making. Subject to terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, neither NULIS nor any member of the Insignia Financial Group accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the information in this communication.

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