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Secret to retirement happiness: Planning for fun

Secret to retirement happiness: Planning for fun

June 30, 2022
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The always-on Internet gives us instant access to virtually unlimited information and entertainment. But it has a downside. Our phones and tablets can deliver a million ways to kill time, but few are genuinely fun.

Catherine Price, a science journalist and expert on the effects of screentime, says that scrolling through a social media feed or binge-watching shows on Netflix could be classified as leisure, but they fail to meet the criteria for genuine fun. An experience we long for and need.1

So, what is genuine fun and how does it fit into retirement?

In researching for her book, The Power of Fun, Price dove into the available scientific research on the subject and recruited 1,500 volunteers around the globe to analyze what makes them truly happy.

She found that activities that are "real fun" share three key attributes.

  1. They are truly playing. In other words, things you do for their own sake. It could be playing games, hiking a mountain, or making music.
  2. They involve connection. Price found that even introverts reported that the times they had the most fun were when they were experiencing a connection with others.
  3. They cause you to experience "flow." This is where you become so engrossed in an activity that you lose track of time.

Price adds that genuinely fun activities are enjoyable and energizing. The kind of thing that makes you eager to leap out of bed in the morning just so you can do it.

You can use these criteria to identify the things that for you are "real fun." And if you need help coming up with more, Price suggests thinking back on experiences where you felt the most alive and engaged, and then thinking about the commonalities these experiences shared. What were the activities, people, and settings that generated the most fun for you?

So, what does fun have to do with retirement? It's a necessity if you want to get the most enjoyment out of your post-career years.

Financial journalist Brett Arends writes that when it comes to retirement, fun isn't frivolous. "There is enormous scientific evidence that happiness and well-being are also associated with better health and longer life."

Just as you're planning for your financial needs in retirement, you should also be planning for ways to spend time having fun. They go together. And how you plan to spend your days should be part of your conversation with your trusted advisor.



Dawn Santoriello, CFP® is the Founder of DS Financial Strategies, Best-Selling Author, and Speaker. She also hosts Financial Fridays with Dawn on DS Financial Strategies YouTube Channel. Dawn helps women manifest and invest their money so they can achieve their financial goals with peace of mind. Dawn has been published in Hollywood Times,, Thrive Global, Advisors Magazine, and has been seen in Philadelphia Inquirer, MarketWatch, Forbes, Business Insider, Think Advisor, CPA Client Library, Next Ave, Yahoo, and Pop Culture Press. Dawn’s book is The Spiritual Path to Prosperity…The Truth About Money Revealed. To connect with Dawn, visit, @dawnsantoriello and @dsfinancialstratgies on major social media channels.