Children know how to live in the moment and recover from temporary setbacks. Channeling the kid in you can teach you a lot about how to live a happier life in retirement. Here are a few lessons retirees can learn from children:

Be positive and focus on the future. Kids don’t get everything they want, but they don’t let it bother them. Sure, they cry like the world is ending at first, but they quickly move on. In fact, they’ll probably be laughing in a couple minutes like nothing bad has ever happened to them. We often talk about planning for a comfortable retirement like we can avoid every single bad outcome, but you will have setbacks and disappointments during your golden years. Your attitude in retirement will be just as critical for your well-being as your financial numbers. How quickly you learn to move on by focusing on the positives and the future will be key to how happy you are during your leisurely days.

You can be happy whether you are rich or poor. I love seeing my kids play with the box that the toys came in, because it reminds me that having fun is ultimately what’s important. Our society teaches us to appreciate luxury and convenience. While I fully agree that the niceties of life are awesome, they also cost so much it can rob us of happiness because these higher expenses make us work long and stressful hours to afford them. A big goal of retirement planning is to at least maintain our standard of living, but remember that we will be fine spending much less as long as we remember that it’s happiness we are after.

Never stop learning, and be eager to try new things
. If you haven’t gotten out of your comfort zone in a while, imagine how much harder it will be when you step into retirement. It’s actually fun to try something new, as long as you don’t worry too much about it. Children don’t worry about how it will turn out and whether they are any good at something. Embracing the initial learning process will keep you energetic and young, which is a must for those pursuing a happy retirement.

Don’t worry too much
. Retirement planners tend to be worriers, because many are afraid of running out of money. I tend to be a worrywart as well. But almost no one who spends decades tracking and saving for retirement will run out of money. We will adapt and spend less long before our assets dwindle to nothing. It may not sound like the ideal situation, but we could be plenty happy with less.

Stuff won’t provide lasting happiness.
My kids have fun with a new toy for the first five minutes, but then it’s just another piece of junk. And don’t we do the same with our toys? Everything always speaks to us when we want to buy it, but then it’s just another thing added to the pile of stuff taking up room in our houses. You may be surprised by how much better off you would be if you never bought half of the junk you’ve accumulated through the years. The holiday season is over, and it’s once again time to wake up to our newly acquired debt load from holiday shopping. Instead of buying more stuff, aim to acquire experiences and memories that will bring you lasting happiness.
Children are often full of joy, and you can learn a lot about how to create your ideal lifestyle by observing how they act and live life. As I contemplate my eventual retirement, I often see how much I can learn from the everyday demeanor of children.

David Ning is the founder of .

By: David Ning
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