I literally want to scream whenever I speak to a friend or co-worker about retirement planning and they say something along the lines, “I don’t know what I would do in retirement.” Really? Really!? Is it really possible that so many people can’t think of anything else to do on a daily basis than to go put in an eight-hour shift for an employer that probably doesn’t care a lot about them and would let them go at the drop of a hat if necessary for business – or other – reasons?
No Plans to Retire
While I suppose it is possible, I suspect that the reason most people continue to work, and never plan to retire, isn’t because they can’t think of other activities to stimulate their mind and fill their time, but rather because their money isn’t right. They are not financially prepared for retirement. For the time being, let’s give those folks the benefit of the doubt and assume they are – or are on the right track to be – financially prepared for retirement but really don’t have a good idea of what to do with their time. Well, folks, I’m here to help.
Perhaps the most common retirement activity cited by people is travel, both foreign and domestic. In fact, that is one of the planned activities for me and the wife. Even though we have both traveled extensively – business and pleasure – over the course of our adult lives, there are still plenty of places (e.g. New Zealand, China, India, multiple countries in Africa, and multiple locations here in the U.S.) that we are anxious to visit.
Travel and Photography
We’re looking forward to short-term renting for the locations we want to visit in the States. As an example, we might rent a home for 2 – 3 months in the downtown area, heart of a city, like Seattle – which we have yet to visit – and enjoy all that the city has to offer (restaurants, parks, museums, galleries, sports teams, etc.) for that period … and then return to our home base, Arizona. The next year, perhaps we head to another place on our list of desired cites for a short-term rental or head overseas to Rome, Auckland, Havana … .
Travel is one of the activities that will tie in nicely with one of my wife’s long-held passions, one she recently started to immerse herself within and enjoy, photography. In the last couple of months she bought herself a camera and is taking classes with a local group.
In fact, on two occasions we have gone out with the class, visited a local horse rescue ranch, and taken pictures of the animals – horses and donkeys – in their natural surroundings. The first picture below is one she took of one of the horses, the second is one I took – with my iPhone – of the group taking pictures …
When it comes to finding a new hobby, something that will keep you engaged and perhaps you will develop a deep passion for, the options are unlimited. Some of the activities/hobbies the wife and I have talked about, in addition to traveling and photography, include …
- Learning to play guitar
- Learning a foreign language
- Taking cooking classes at the local community college
- Taking dance classes
Follow Your Curiosity and Push Past Fears
Although you may not have a clear vision about how to stay engaged in retirement, you are probably curious about things which may or may not be immediately obvious. Don’t be afraid to follow your curiosity and see where that road leads; you will likely be pleasantly surprised.
It’s often easy to tell ourselves that we’ll do the things that intrigue us, the things we might be passionate about, after we deal with some contributing factor (e.g. we have more time, more experience, more money, etc.). If those excuses are really just masking fear, identify them as such and push past them.
By combining some new retirement activities with activities (e.g. yoga, running, hiking, and lifting weights) we currently enjoy, I have no doubt that staying busy, staying engaged will not be a problem for us in retirement and it shouldn’t be a problem for anyone … as long as the proper financial retirement planning has taken place.
Find new activities and hobbies to combine with your current activities; or if you placed an old hobby on the shelf years ago, something you were passionate about but gave up for some reason, take it down and dust it off. It isn’t enough to have money in retirement, you must have a reason, multiple reasons in fact – besides going to work for someone else – to get up every day.
You’re only limited by your imagination. Find your passion and cultivate it. And just as you need to cultivate your passions, if you’re a significant other, engage with and support your partner’s passion.
Stay savvy, my friends!