Retirement Answer Man

Hey there all you retirement-interested listeners out there, welcome to another episode of The Retirement Answer Man, with yours truly, Roger Whitney. I’m so thankful you’re taking the time to listen today and want to do everything I can to make that investment of time worth your while. On this episode I have a great chat with the “Doctor of Happiness”, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirski. She has scientifically researched the issue of happiness and it’s going to give us some very interesting insights into the issue of happiness. I’m also going to debunk some financial jargon that you’ve probably heard, AND I’m going to introduce you again to the concept of SMART SPRINTS, simple tricks you can do that can rejuvenate or revitalize your retirement strategy. So grab a cup of your favorite beverage, a pen or pencil and something you can write on… because nothing I share is going to make a difference in your life unless you make a point of taking action on it!


What is a S.M.A.R.T. Sprint and how can you use them in life?


One of the things I’ve discovered, not just in my retirement planning practice but in all of life, is that long terms goals can become draining. I get that… the long haul is sometimes very, well, long. :) But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on goals that might take longer. You can break them up into what I call “S.M.A.R.T Sprints.” What’s a sprint? It’s something you focus on for a shorter period of time and as you do so, you give it all you’ve got. You’ll be surprised how much a time of focused intensity can help you overcome some obstacles or set some new habits that will enable you to progress faster over time. Today I’m going to explain that topic a bit more clearly than I did last week and show you why these S.M.A.R.T. Sprints are a great idea.


Do you know the difference between various types of financial services people - and why it’s important?


Do you know how the various people who work in the financial services industry are paid? Do you know the legal standards they are under when it comes to how they do their job and how they relate to you? If you’re going to make decisions that you are confident is truly in your best interest, then you really need to know those difference and rules. So today, I’m filling you in on all of that so you can know the difference between someone who is trying to sell you a financial product and someone whose main job is to give you investment advice. You’re going to find some very practical tips in this section, so make sure you give this show a good listen.


Today’s S.M.A.R.T. Sprint is one we all need.


Today’s S.M.A.R.T. Sprint is a life oriented project, and after you hear what it is you’re going to see why it’s such an important personal skill we all should develop. Here’s a little hint as to what I’m talking about… there’s an old quote and we’re not exactly sure who originally said it, but it’s value is unmistakeable. Here’s the quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” That’s a very insightful statement that we can all relate to simply because we’ve hard times in our lives when we fought our own hard battles that others knew nothing about. My challenge in today’s S.M.A.R.T. Sprint segment is one that I’m asking you to participate in… and to connect with me and other listeners on the Retirement Answer Man Facebook page to keep each other accountable. Are you up for the challenge?


Do you know what true happiness is?


Today’s episode makes me really, really happy? Why? Because Dr. Sonja Lyurbomirski did a great kindness to me by agreeing to be my guest on the show. She’s known as the “Happiness Doctor” because she’s done extensive research on the issue of personal happiness - and she’s got some great insights to share with us. In particular, I was eager to hear her thoughts on how planning toward important things such as retirement, figure into our happiness quotient, and how we should be thinking about those things in light of her research findings regarding what truly makes people happy. Is that intriguing? It should be because it’s a great conversation, so be sure to listen.




  • [0:29] Welcome to this episode of the Retirement Happy Man.
  • [0:35] A summary of our guest and things covered on this episode.



  • [3:14] DURATION: What is it and what is it all about?
  • [4:22] How to use the concept of “duration” when you manage your portfolio?




  • [6:26] A great illustration from a family road trip.
  • [8:17] What IS a SMART sprint and how can you use them in your retirement planning?
  • [10:37] Places in your life you can set some SMART sprints.
  • [12:11] How long should a SMART sprint be?




  • [12:32] The tendency toward skepticism even when we want to trust people.
  • [13:28] What is a fiduciary standard and why is the current debate going on?
  • [15:05] Product based financial businesses VS advisory based financial businesses.
  • [18:12] The current battle going on surrounding this issue.
  • [18:38] Simple fixes to resolve the issues (my take on it).




  • [20:04] The things we all face.
  • [21:59] Today’s SMART sprint: Show somebody some grace.



  • [23:34] My conversation with “The Happiness Doctor” - Dr. Sonja Lyubomirski
  • [23:44] What makes us happy? - Research suggests 3 things.
  • [24:22] How retirement plans are related to desires to be happy.
  • [26:14] Why happiness is not an achievement, but a lifetime of growth.
  • [27:54] The relationship between happiness and contentment.
  • [28:54] Scientifically proven steps we can take to increase happiness.
  • [30:59] Why the cliches are not cliches.
  • [32:12] The Happiness Doctor’s view of retirement as it relates to happiness.




Dr. Sonja’s book: “The How of Happiness.”


Another of her books: “The Myths of Happiness.”


Contact Roger:


Roger’s retirement learning center:


The Retirement Answer Man Facebook page:

Direct download: RAM093.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CDT