Planning is the key to happy retirement

Individuals are more likely to be happy in their retirement if they adequately plan ahead for later life. This is according to a new study from a University of Missouri researcher, who demonstrated that couples who think ahead and make adequate lifestyle changes can ensure their after-work life is as pleasant as they hope it will be.

Angela Curl, an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the institution - which was founded in 1839 and is often referred to as Mizzou - said both social and financial planning can pay dividends for those nearing the end of their working years, while also taking into account the alterations that may happen to their day-to-day routines.

She explained that a major change can provide an opportunity for couples to renegotiate their roles within the partnership, adding: "If a couple wants positive changes to occur in retirement, it is important for spouses to be intentional in negotiating and planning for activities that match their ideals."

Dr Rosanna Cousins, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Angela Curl's study, Retirement and Cardiac Health: A Longitudinal, Dyadic Analysis, was presented at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America.

"She found a difference in health outcomes between husbands and wives – with wives doing better, which Curl attributes to wives being more mindful of the health of both of them. I suggest that it could also be accounted for by a bigger difference in activity level before and after retirement in men.

"Results from my own study of behaviours around retirement in the UK, (in prep for publication), confirmed that there is a long-term focus on financial preparations for retirement.

"In contrast however, there is typically little planning or understanding of the need to be active in retirement towards maintaining a good health status. Curl refers to retirement being an opportunity for positive changes. 

"Whilst I would agree that it is, in terms of health outcomes for many workers it is more important that there is continuity within their general lifestyle in retirement and particularly that physical activity and exercise does not grind to a halt because 'I have worked hard all my life – now I can have a rest'. 

"Men and women who were physically active through working, should include in their plans for retirement a way to achieve 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week. This will make a large contribution towards having a happy and healthy retirement."