iStock_000016561786_SmallAfter long years of working, raising a family, paying bills, and saving for your future, you deserve to enjoy your retirement. But how can you ensure that your retirement years are happy ones? There are never any guarantees, of course, but these five key ingredients will give you a head start.

Create a cash flow. It’s hard to enjoy your retirement when you’re stressed over bills or a lack of funds. Planning for retirement, in a financial sense, is the number one way to make sure your retirement is enjoyable. You can worry less about your future, and you should be able to enjoy more of the activities you love.

Keep working. Studies have shown that retirees who keep working part-time may be happier than their completely retired counterparts. There is one caveat to this rule though: The decision to keep working must be your choice, and not a necessity. So, make sure you’re financially capable of retiring, but continue to work part time or even on a volunteer basis to feel more fulfilled with your life.

Choose the right hobbies. Most people plan to enjoy a few hobbies in retirement, but which ones should you choose? Studies have demonstrated that solitary hobbies, like reading or fishing, bring much less satisfaction than social ones like volunteering or golf. The happiest retirees choose very social activities.

Consider renting your home. Many retirees find that the burden of home ownership decreases their overall satisfaction with retirement. Consider an environment that is less isolating, and more social, such as a home in a retirement community or a condo in close proximity to others.

Keep an eye on your relationships. Married couples tend to be happier than single retirees, but only if the couple are truly happy with one another. Maintain a happy relationship with your spouse, attending marriage counseling if necessary. Also, keep in mind that your relationship with your adult children matters, too. Studies have shown that living less than ten miles from your children may actually decrease your happiness.