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Happiness: A Currency More Valuable Than Money

Question: Your "Non-Retirement Retirement" post last week really resonated with me. Thanks! I have been thinking for some time that maybe a traditional retirement wasn't in the cards for me. Now I know it isn't. What are some suggestions you have for pointing me toward a happier, more fulfilling, less financially-driven lifestyle? -- Barbara, NY

Answer:
Barbara, as I mentioned last week, many baby boomers do not wish to retire in the traditional sense. The notion of never working again is a nice one, however, I've found that what most people want is to have the choice and freedom to never work again -- although many continue to work to feel connected and make a difference (and because so many need the money).

There has been a tremendous shift in the past month or two. Americans are realizing that they can be just as happy or happier when they participate in activities that cost little or no money. Sure it'd be nice to have a nice shiny car or the big flat-screen TV but people recognize that those "things" don't cause their happiness. Earning an income from doing what you love and connecting with people you care about is key!

So what can you do to have a happier, more fulfilling, less financially-driven lifestyle? It's simple. As Retirement Coach Ann Fry (www.ItsBoomerTime.com) says:

- Stop doing what you DON'T want to do.
- Start doing what you DO want to do.
- Don't let anyone else tell you what you CAN'T or SHOULDN'T do.

My wish for you and all people is that the next phase of your life is meaningful, filled with fun and stimulating activities, exploration, passion, happiness, good health and true financial freedom.

Bill's Bottom-line: Life is too long not to be doing those things that are fun and rewarding. Go for what you REALLY want. Start now!

Bill Losey, CFP®, CSA, America's Retirement Strategist®, is the resident retirement planning expert on CNBC’s “On the Money”. He has been named one of America’s Top Financial Planners and is the author of Retire in a Weekend! The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Making Work Optional. He also publishes Retirement Intelligence, a free weekly award-winning newsletter. Bill can be reached online at www.MyRetirementSuccess.com.