Not surprisingly, and in the name of marketing research, I subscribe to a number of websites and newsletters which tell us how to be happy. Mainly because our style of financial planning means also helping clients to understand what makes them happy . . . what will they do with all this money they’re accruing? How will they spend all the time they’ll have available in retirement . . . so we also focus on their happiness, lifestyle goals and the likes. Invariably your soon-to-be-retiree has three goals:
Never known a truly happy golfer, they always have a bad round
Now this might be fun one or two days a week
but any more than that and I'd lose my marbles!
Photo put in for my nephew Jimmy who is in Pamplona running with the bulls!
Travel would defo make me happy but I can't do it all year round!
There are more but these are definitely the predominant three. I don't mean to berate these, especially if you can do them in combination but seriously, can you play bowls or golf 24/7? Can you spend the rest of your life as a grey nomad towing the caravan around the Pacific Highway, holding up traffic? There has to be more to achieving happiness than slicing a tiny plastic ball around 18 holes, playing marbles for grownups and singing along on the blue rinse bus!
As part of the research I do for economic commentaries, newsletters, general interest stuff, I often write about lifestyle issues, particularly for soon-to-be or already retired people. The aim, to make them think about how they will fill their time once they fully retire. Something must be working because our retirees are the busiest people in the world! Then they're also wealthy and have the money to do as they like. Not everyone has that option but do we need to spend to be happy?
Seriously now, I want you to think, apart from those tremendous milestones that make us exceedingly happy, such a falling in love or raising a family . . . what makes you truly happy?
I mean, I just look at the faces of my children whether on a web cam or focused on a TV and think I’ve done something very clever . . that makes an ordinary person like me very happy!
I look at my stupid dog wiggling with a stick in it's mouth and threatening another cruciate injury when I walk through the door at night because she’s pleased to see me. I am happy snooping around with a camera, a full battery and a sunny day even when there’s nothing particular to photograph, there’s always something of interest. I’m happy under a doona on a rainy day watching science fiction DVD’s in surround sound. I’m happy having a long lunch in the sunshine with friends or family. I'm happy when my children are home, sleeping, safe . . . I’m happy when my pancakes look like the ones you make from a packet. I'm happy when the news is all about celebrity disgrace because that means that nothing too terrible happened today. I’m happy when the cleaning and washing is completed on Saturday and for a couple of blissful hours I can admire my handiwork before it all starts over again! I'm happy on Christmas Morning because all my family are together and I receive thoughtful gifts. I'm happy when I hear Adam blowing raspberries on Amy's stomach or when Clare is laughing and bringing her friends around. I'm happy on the rare occasion that the giggles hit and tears flow down my cheeks in uncontrollable fits of laughter about nothing in particular. I'm often happy in my own company, cooking for one, pampering myself, schlepping around in baggy trakkie daks and a hoodie that should have long ago been given to the Smith Family. I'm happy when bloggers comment or link me, or email or better still visit! I'm happy when a particular young man chimes in on Skype and spends the time of day to talk to me and make me laugh. I'm happy when visitors drop in unexpectedly even if I have just got out of the shower! (I wouldn't recommend it unless you're prepared for the shock!)
So what pushes your buttons? C’mon, spill. . .three things that make you truly, truly happy. . no sooky lala answers now, I already know you love your girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives, partners, children . . . what do you do, or will you do to fill your retirement days? You can answer here or link back to your own blogs. I mean think about it, your answers may inspire many who think they can spend the next 20 years driving a golf buggy seven days a week!
And don't forget, 10 July 2008 is UN International Happiness Day . . .not a bad thing in these dire times!