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Retirement is meant to be known as the golden years in life. But without a purpose, it might lose its shine for some retirees.

To tackle the challenges of retiring, through extensive research, The McKinsey Health Institute has identified five factors that contribute to health and happiness in retirement.

They surveyed more than 21,000 adults aged 55 and older across 21 countries on retiring well – and the number 1 factor that rose to the top – was maintaining a purpose.

The five secrets to ageing well

The McKinsey research team asked respondents questions across 53 different factors, from how they participate in society to how much they exercise. They asked what matters most to over 55s and how these things might impact their health.


They found that these five factors were the most important:

  1. Having purpose
  2. Managing stress
  3. Physical activity
  4. Lifelong learning
  5. Interacting with others

Having purpose

While working towards financial security is an essential part of retirement planning, it’s clear that a sense of purpose and connection with the people and the world are also significant drivers of a positive retirement experience.

Managing stress

Meditation, regular exercise, deep breathing, or simple social activities are proven activities to help relieve stress.

Physical activity

Staying active in retirement contributes to health and happiness that goes beyond physical health. Maintaining mobility ensures independent living is sustained for long, and physical activity also contributes to positive mental health and wellbeing.

Lifelong learning

It’s never too late for retirees to gain more knowledge and skills, either through formal education, hobbies or social groups. Keeping a busy brain can make retirement far more fulfilling.

Interacting with others

Social activity is just as important as physical and mental activity. In fact, they’re all connected. Social clubs, interest groups, or sharing skills with others as a teacher can contribute to health and happiness in retirement. 

These five factors can make a difference to everyday life in retirement. While having retirement finances in order is a top priority, it’s also worth highlighting that happiness in retirement is built on other foundations too. It can help alleviate any fears and turn the road to retirement into a positive journey. 

Contact your financial planner

To ensure your retirement finances are in order, speak to your financial planner by booking your next appointment on 1300 192 602.