What Makes Retirees Really Happy?

Summer 2010 CSANews Issue 75  |  Posted date : Jul 20, 2010.Back to list

You may or may not be surprised. A recent study shows that strong social ties are the key to a happy retirement; more so than having grandchildren.
A British research team at the University of Greenwich found that the participants in the study showed high levels of satisfaction from social networking. There was no difference in life satisfaction between retirees who had children and grandchildren and those who didn't.

"The positives are that having children and grandchildren imparts a sense of purpose and meaning," says lead researcher Oliver Robinson, "while the drawback is the frequent commitment for child care that can potentially interfere with the sense of freedom and autonomy that is at the heart of a positive retirement."

The study also found that having a spouse or long-term partner contributed to the enjoyment of retired life, especially if the partner was also retired. Those who were widowed, never married, divorced or separated reported lower levels of life satisfaction.

"Social groups in retirement can provide a retiree with a number of basic psychological needs," explains Robinson, "a sense of connection, of purpose, and of mastery if there is a skill involved. The great retirement trap is loneliness, and active social groups negate the possibility of that."