If achieving long-term financial security is high among your New Year's resolutions, consider the experience of Consumer Reports readers we surveyed recently for our article, "15 ways to never run out of money." When Consumer Reports National Research Center asked 24,270 online subscribers between ages 55 and up about their lives, we found some common keys to peace of mind that had little to do with salaries or high living. Among them:
• Live modestly. Retirees in our survey who were most staisfied with their situation credited living at or below their means among the best steps theyd made earlier in life.
• Keep to a budget or spending plan. At its simplest, a budget involves splitting your expenses into have-to's and want-to's, and paying the have-to's first. We've reviewed some budgeting software and blogged on useful updates to these apps as well.
Notably, our survey found that happiness in retirement isn't all about money. While 75 percent of retirees who had $1 million were highly satisfied in retirement, satisfaction didn't change much more as net worth rose beyond that. And half of those with less than $250,000 in net worth were highly satisfied in retirement.
Perhaps that's because satisfied retirees also mentioned good health, hobbies and friends among the keys to their happiness. Greg Daugherty, Consumer Reports Money Adviser's Retirement Guy, notes that those nonfinancial considerations are as essential in retirement as a healthy balance-sheet.—Tobie Stanger