Weekend Reading: Forget Bucket Lists. The Formula for Satisfaction Is Actually the Opposite, Says Harvard Professor

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
Weekend reading reverse bucket list Weekend reading reverse bucket list
Weekend Reading

Bucket lists are often synonymous with retirement in that you finally have the time to tackle many of your “want-tos” and dreams. However, a Harvard professor and scientist named Arthur Brooks believes in the concept of a reverse bucket list.

A formula for fulfillment: The main issue Brooks brings to light when it comes to bucket lists is the fact they rely on the satisfaction formula (satisfaction=getting what you want). Once you’ve obtained what you want, the feeling of fulfillment often fades, so instead, Brooks proposes a different approach: Satisfaction=what you have/what you want.

A minimalist mindset: By condensing down wants, you can create a list of want-to-do-aways, or a reverse bucket list, and based on psychology, that can lead to more satisfaction. When it comes to whittling down the wants on your bucket list, Brooks recommends asking yourself, “Is this something I truly need?” Above all, your retirement may be just as much about the decumulation of your things as it is your nest egg.