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07/21/2014 11:40 am ET Updated Jul 21, 2014

How To Be Happy In Retirement

Marco Cristofori via Getty Images

Q: Dan, you've written about the sad state of happiness, suggesting that highly intelligent people often double down on activities that make them unhappy to the exclusion of alternatives that would make them much happier. Why is that?

A: People who are focused on buying more "stuff" don't spend time on things that would make them happier. Accumulating material possessions is a stressor and not a stress reliever. The thrill of a new acquisition gets old quickly. The appetite for newer and better things becomes insatiable. Frustration increases each time the next "latest and greatest" thing doesn't deliver long-term happiness.

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