Can You "Spend Happier" When You Retire?

Accepting "retirement" can be difficult at first. Until someone gets a taste for it -- then they usually transition quite easily. The next shift in thinking comes from being a saver (accumulator) their whole lives to becoming a spender.

This one can be a little more difficult since nobody actually knows how much they'll need nor how long they'll live. There is a tendency for people to "overconserve" as pointed out in this recent retirement article from a Wall Street Journal partner publication.

"The WSJ Insights survey revealed that 80 percent of pre-retirees (ages 55 to 64) and 74 percent of retirees (age 65+) plan to conserve funds in early retirement to ensure that their money will last. To be sure, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to preserve capital. But the same mentality that helps you save for the future can become an obstacle when you deny yourself the experiences that will provide you the greatest pleasure in retirement."

Harvard Business School Professor Michael Norton, co-author of the book Happy Money, researched the best ways seniors can handle their finances when it comes to spending.

He demonstrated that "spending on experiences, especially those that bring you together with other people, delivers more 'happiness bang for the buck' than material goods."

Norton said that "Once you’ve hit a certain level of prosperity, the good feelings that accompany a new car or a piece of jewelry are not nearly as satisfying as an experience that will give you great memories — and great stories to tell — for years to come."

Now that's something worth remembering.