September 21st is World Gratitude Day.
I am sure you don’t need me, or anyone else, telling you what you should be grateful for, but as I reflect on the notion of gratitude in light of the work that I do, there are several things that stand out.
Retirement. If you are retired or no longer need to work for a living, consider yourself fortunate. 70 may be the new 62 as more people are retiring later rather than sooner. Sometimes this is by choice, but often it’s by necessity.
According to Willis Towers Watson, a global HR and risk management firm, almost 25% of workers plan to work until age 70. If you are able to live off the income from your investments, you are doing well – very well.
Being on track for retirement. For most, retirement is still a few years away. You’re not there yet, but thankfully, you are on pace to meet your retirement goals. You are also the exception to the rule.
A 2014 AARP survey found that less than 50% of people over age 50 had retirement savings of $25,000 or more. An analysis by the Government Accountability Office found similar results. In their study, over half of all households age 55-64 had less than $25,000 saved for retirement and over 40% had no retirement savings.
Going to work. Unless you are retired already, odds are you have a job. One of my big fears in life is that I could lose my ability to earn an income in the last 10-15 years before I retire. I would like to think that could never happen to me, but I have lived vicariously through others’ financial lives long enough to know that “stuff” happens.
Even a job that offers a modest salary goes a long way toward building your long-term financial security. I am grateful that I get to go to work every day. I am sure you are as well.
You enjoy good mental health. Retirement is supposed to be a happy time in life, but for many it is not. Depression, addiction, and other mental health issues plague many retirees.
Robert P. Delamontagne, PhD., author of The Retiring Mind Series of books, states “retirement often causes major emotional upheavals on the same scale as the death of a loved one, loss of a job, or a financial crisis”. I have heard similar comments from mental health professionals.
Companionship. A happy marriage, close friendships, and being an active member of a community all contribute significantly to your quality of life in retirement – just as they do prior to retirement.
Local guy, and author of the best-selling book, “The Blue Zones”, Dan Buettner, lists the quality of your relationships as one of the major keys to a longer, happier life.
I was reminded of this last weekend when we celebrated the birthday of a close friend. It’s been a busy summer and we haven’t seen many of our friends as much as we’d like. Celebrating the milestones of life and staying connected with those you are closest to adds a richness to life that money can’t buy. We are grateful for our friends and other important relationships.
No doubt you have your own gratitude list. Instead of worrying about money or the financial markets today, take a moment to recognize what you are most grateful for.
What’s on your list?