What they wish they did and how you can do it


I came across an article by Consumer Reports that revealed some interesting statistics. I’d like to share with you the collected data that resulted after interviewing some 25,000 retirees and asking them this one question:

(Click Photo For Video)

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in retirement?

Retirement is where we are all headed. The following advice comes from people who are there now, giving us very good indicators of what we need to address in order to insure the most favorable conditions for success. Of these top 5 tips, you might find a few surprises. It’s not just about the money.


Start saving earlier.

40% of all retirees wished that they had started saving earlier instead of waiting. Well, this may be no surprise, but it is still a good reminder. You can address this issue now by paying yourself first. Break down your income and start tucking away an amount you can afford to save, even if it’s a small amount. The important thing here is to get into the habit of saving first and living off the rest. Do this even if the amount you are saving seems small. Most people wait until they can save more before they begin saving at all, and as a result they end up waiting too long with $0 to show for it.  


Get clear. 

30% of those surveyed said they didn’t save enough to replace their income. They participated in 401k’s or 403b’s, and then just hoped that whatever accumulated there would be enough. Instead of hoping, get clear about where you stand and where you want to go. Sit down with a trusted financial advisor, talk to your spouse, and come up with a workable plan. 


Take care of your primary asset.

I find it interesting how many times I hear this from my own clients: “I wish I had taken better care of my health.” The consequences are two-fold. Not only do they end up spending a lot of money on prescriptions for ailments that could have been prevented, but  their ability to enjoy all the trips and wonderful things they had planned is severely compromised. Don’t let that happen to you! It simply isn’t worth ruining your health for a retirement that you can’t enjoy. Eat well, get enough rest, and exercise regularly. This investment will pay off in more ways than one.


 Invest in relationships outside the work place.

 Again, I found it interesting that retirees emphasized relationships outside the work place. What seems to happen once someone retires is that relationships tied to career and workplace gradually fade. The happiest people I meet are those who regularly make time for their family and friends outside of work. Not only will these people be there for you down the road, but you can begin enjoying their company now, before you retire!


Develop and participate in hobbies today.

It’s always good to hear someone tell you, “Do what you love to do!” We hear that a lot as children, not so much as adults. I hear it from my clients, especially from those who have lost a loved one. No one knows how much time we have left. Enjoy the time you do have. Every day, once a week, twice a month, even if it’s only 30 minutes, do what you enjoy doing. Whether its cooking, gardening, or sneaking off to your basement sewing room, make time for yourself. No one else is going to give you the time. Give it to yourself.


By doing these 5 things, not only will you be happier in retirement, you’ll be happier in your life, as well.


Start saving, make a plan, take care of your physical health, and invest in relationships outside the work place. And don’t forget to relax and have some fun along the way!


Heard any good advice from retirees who have been there? I’d love to hear it! 

About Beau Henderson

Beau Henderson is a financial advisor, author, coach, radio personality, and CEO of RichLife Advisors. He has helped over 3,000 clients to not just improve their relationship with money, but to live the life of their dreams.


  1. Rachelle on September 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Being in the Health industry, I loved point three! As usual Beau – you are one of the most well rounded financial adviser I've ever seen! Thanks for the 5 "must do" ideas

  2. Beau Henderson on September 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks Rachelle! Even the perfect plan with millions in the bank will not do you much good if you lose your physical health.

  3. pamela wright on September 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I just love this article!  My Dad who worked over 40 years at Ford has retired.  He shared with me that if he was to do it again he would also invest in a private retirement plan outside of his company. 

  4. Hughie Bagnell on September 13, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Thank you Michael! Taking care of our "Primary Asset" is of utmost importance…exercise is the fuel for our bodies! Exercise is to our bodies what gas is to our vehicles…if we do not stop to fill 'er up we will be running on empty…great points! …Hughie

  5. denny hagel on September 14, 2011 at 1:38 am

    Great article covering all important areas of life to improve the quality of retirement…thanks Beau!

  6. Amity Hook-Sopko on September 14, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Sharing these tips with my parents.  They both retired within the last year, and they are really open to logical and helpful info 🙂

  7. Beau Henderson on September 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks Denny!

  8. Beau Henderson on September 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing Amity!

  9. Beau Henderson on September 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    That is so true Hughie.  Not much else matters if we lose our physical health.

  10. Solvita on September 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Loved your video! Great points again…it is good to have a good plan and you are giving it! 🙂

  11. Marie on September 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Great tips, Rich.  I don't think you can overplan retirement.  And you definitely need to be paying attention to your health or it's all for nothing.

  12. Susan Preston on September 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    These are 5 Great Tips, Beau. A lot of people don't think of the last 2 tips…but very important, as well!  Thanks, for sharing these 🙂

  13. Jennifer Bennett on September 14, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Great article!  Thanks for the tips!

  14. Norma Doiron@Health, Wellness & Weight Loss on September 14, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    How sad that we do not get taught this stuff in school – instead of a lot of things that are almost useless.  Life principles, for sure.  We can have all the education available, but if we don't <get it> in life skills… not worth much.  Have you read the Business of the 21st Century by Robert Kyosaki?  T'was a super read…  Thanks for the post!
    Norma Doiron @ the LEARNED Preneur

  15. Beth Heilman on September 14, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Great advice Beau! So many people are unprepared when retirement comes. They put off saving and planning and it doesn't have to be that way. No matter where folks are in their work lives, they can start saving, investing and planning for the future. A timely reminder…thanks!!

  16. Carl Mason-Liebenberg on September 15, 2011 at 2:45 am

    I have to admit that this topic scares me. Now in my mid 40's, having lost everything a few years ago and now starting over in a foreign country the mere thought of this makes me shiver in fear. Still, I loved the post and just pray that the next years of my life will be years of rebuilding andpreparedness for the future. And yes, along with Rachelle, point three in particular resonates with me and is where I am making my greatest investment at this time.

  17. Dr. Daisy Sutherland on September 15, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Great article and awesome tips! Of course the health tip is one of the most important ones..because without your health..the others wouldn't count:) Thanks again!!

  18. Linda Yarbrough@FiftyWorkForce on September 15, 2011 at 10:54 am

    This is such awesome information for folks getting close to retirement.  I'm going to share this at our Facebook group for Fifty Work Force.  I'm also going to tweet about it and Spread the Word because as you point out workers of all ages should be getting prepared.  Many of your tips are just down-to-earth good practices.  The earlier you start them the better!  Beau, I would have written this from my blog Inside The Media Mix but it fit our Baby Boomer Group and Website so well I switched.  Come visit.

  19. Kelly on September 15, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Huh. Good post. Some points I was expecting you to say – start saving earlier, etc. – but some were kind od surprising – like develop outside relationships apart from work and hobbies.

  20. Michelle Pearson on September 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Great article and good advice to consider. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Jennifer on September 20, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Thanks Beau, these are all great ideas.  The only one I struggle with is saving more for retirement.  For me, I look at it more as just saving for a rainy day, or saving for "just in case."  I can't see ever "retiring" from running my business because I love it.  But, it would be nice to have the option.  I save some, but with life, college if my kids go that route . . . seems like there's never enough to save.

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