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How Your Retirement Money Can Make You Happier In 2016

What I Learned From The New Star Wars Movie

As you are planning your goals for the upcoming year of 2016, let me share a story with you that will help you live a better retirement lifestyle.

Last week I took my son to see the new Star Wars movie. And I realized something that can help you get more happiness out of your retirement money.

To really show you how true this is that you can get more enjoyment out of your retirement savings, let me first tell you about what a great time we had!

We had a crew with us. It was my son and I. And along with us came another friend of mine who brought his 2 sons. Then we had 2 other old high school buddies of ours come along with us. Seven people altogether.

It will be a night the 3 young boys will remember, as well as us 4 adults.

Half the fun of it was the trip to the theater. We went to a theater that was about 40 minutes from where we live. All of us packed into my friend’s mini-van. Hey, we have young kids. Mini-vans are par for the course. I even own one too.

The boys in the back seat spent the whole time laughing and playing pranks on each other. And us 4 adults in the front were laughing about memories from the “glory days.”

Before the movie we ate at a Chinese buffet. By the way that will please pretty much every young kid. The adults can stick to the more Chinese types of food. While the kids can get the “Chinese” french fries, “Chinese” pizza, and even “Chinese” chicken fingers from the buffet.

Then of course there was the movie. Everybody loved it. And we all talked about it on the 40 minute drive back home. Two of the kids had fallen asleep before we got home since it was late.

But what an experience it was! And I’m sure my son will remember the first time he went to see a Star Wars movie in the theater. And I’ll always remember sharing this evening with him.

What’s the point of me telling you this and how can it help you?

I tell you this story to point out the fact that buying experiences is a great way get more happiness from your retirement dollars. And there are even studies to back this up. 

Experiences can give you more happiness than material possessions. You may be happy with that new iPhone you purchase, but the feeling wanes very quickly. Whereas with an experience, such as an upcoming movie to see with friends, you will have positive feelings of anticipation before it. And you will have shared memories afterward.

This is exactly what happened when we saw the movie. My son (and I too) have been anticipating this movie’s release for about a year now. It was a wonderful thing to anticipate and we both experienced a certain level of happiness from looking forward to a good time.

And we definitely created new memories with some close friends. Memories that will last forever.

Think About The Gifts You Give Your Family and Grandkids

How can this help you in retirement? By helping you build memories with the people that are most important to you.

If you think about it, retirement planning is really about helping you to achieve the lifestyle you have always wanted in retirement.

To do this involves:

But at the end of the day it is to help you do the best you can with the money that you have, so you can live the life that you want. So you can pursue your passions / hobbies. So you can spend more time with your family and grand kids. So you can travel.

That’s the end goal for almost everyone I speak with.

We are just coming off the Christmas season, so you’ve probably already given plenty of gifts.

But next time you are thinking about what kind of gift to purchase for a family member, think about a way to create memories from it.

Instead of just a toy for a grand kids, why not buy them tickets to a big movie they’ve been dying to see. And then take them out for dinner beforehand. You, and your grandchild, will have a lot more memories from that than they would from just a toy.

Or you could buy a bunch of Nerf guns for your grand kids. Then have a big Nerf gun battle with them. That’s mixing in the material possession (the Nerf gun) with a great experience (the battle). My wife’s parents have done this one. The kids love it.

And when it comes to you and your spouse in retirement, opt for more experiences as opposed to material possessions for each other. Perhaps there is an upcoming concert that you and your spouse would like to see together. Get tickets to it and go make some memories.

And grab a bite to eat beforehand. Fun memories always happen around dinner tables with friends.


When it comes to retirement planning it’s definitely important to put your hard-earned savings to the most efficient use possible. That’s a theme I keep returning to on this website when it comes to purchasing an annuity or investing your money.

But it’s also good to take time every now and then to talk about the reason WHY we do these things. It is ultimately to help you live the lifestyle you want in retirement. And that lifestyle should include some good memories.

Best regards,


Retirement Money

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Investment Advisory Services offered through Retirement Wealth Advisors, (RWA) a Registered Investment Advisor.  Tri-State Financial Group, and Tri-State Insurance & Financial Services, and RWA are not affiliated. Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

This information is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered. Pursuant to IRS Circular 230, it is not, however, intended to provide specific legal or tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties or to promote, market, or recommend any tax plan or arrangement. Please note that Tri-State Financial Group and its affiliates do not give legal or tax advice. You are encouraged to consult your tax advisor or attorney.

Annuity guarantees rely on the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurer. Any comments regarding safe and secure investments, and guaranteed income streams refer only to fixed insurance products. They do not refer, in any way to securities or investment advisory products. Fixed Insurance and Annuity product guarantees are subject to the claims‐paying ability of the issuing company and are not offered by Retirement Wealth Advisors. Chris Hammond is insurance licensed in TN.