How MASH Can Help You Retire Successfully

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If you’re like many people, you are saving at least a portion of your income in a retirement savings account to help prepare for the day when you’re ready to leave the workforce. That’s great, but ensuring a successful retirement requires more than just planning out your dollars and cents.

You also need to plan for other aspects of your retirement life. Investment strategist, author and radio host Wes Moss has created an acronym for the four main retirement aspects that he believes are most important to a successful and happy retirement: MASH, which stands for Money, Adventure, Social life and Health.

It Starts with Money

Not surprisingly, achieving a successful retirement starts with saving enough money to live the retirement lifestyle you want. In his book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think, Moss explains that successful retirees have at least two, and preferably three or more, sources of income in retirement.

For most people, these include retirement savings accounts (like IRAs and 401(k)s), company pension plans, Social Security, rental property and possibly income from a part-time job. The more diversified the different income sources, the better.

Moss also says that successful retirees generally have at least $500,000 in liquid net worth and spend an average of about $53,000 a year. For a retiree in the 20 percent tax bracket, this would mean generating about $70,000 a year in gross income. In addition, successful retirees are more likely to be mortgage-free within five years of the date they retire.

Planning Retirement Adventures

Moss stresses the importance of curiosity and a sense of adventure to a successful retirement. Of course, adventure means different things to different people. But in his research, Moss found that happy retirees take 2.4 vacations per year. It doesn’t matter if the vacation is sitting on a quiet beach or scaling Mt. Everest — the idea is plan trips that expand your personal boundaries.

In addition, Moss says that successful retirees have several different core pursuits that they’re actively involved in. These may include hobbies, sports (like golf or tennis), travel, exercise or volunteering, which is the most popular core pursuit.

Cultivating an Active Social Life

Moss points to research conducted by Gallup that found that the happiest people spend six to seven hours each day socializing, especially with their family and friends. This would seem to indicate the importance of having healthy friendships and relationships during retirement to help avoid loneliness, isolation and perhaps depression.

A key component of socializing for many retirees is religious participation, says Moss. He points to surveys indicating that retirees who attend religious services on a regular basis (regardless of the religion or denomination) are 1.5 times more likely to be happy.

Staying Healthy

Simply put, it’s almost impossible to have a successful or happy retirement without good health. And good health habits start long before it’s time to retire.

One of the best ways to increase the odds of good health in retirement is to practice a healthy lifestyle during the years leading up to retirement. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and going to the doctor for an annual physical exam. It’s also important to maintain good mental health by staying mentally engaged — for example, reading books, taking courses at local community colleges and trying new activities that push you out of your mental comfort zone.

More Than Money

A successful retirement is about more than just financial security. By incorporating the MASH acronym into your retirement planning, you can increase the chances of a happy retirement for you and your spouse.


The commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to Frontier Wealth Management, LLC's ("Frontier") investment advisory services. This information should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy or a recommendation for any security, market sector or investment strategy. There is no guarantee that the information supplied is accurate or complete. Frontier is not responsible for any errors or omissions, and provides no warranties with regards to the results obtained from the use of the information. Nothing in this document is intended to provide any legal, accounting or tax advice and Frontier does not provide such advice. This information is subject to change without notice and should not be construed as a recommendation or investment advice. You should consult an attorney, accountant or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

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