Being bored out of your mind during retirement means trouble so it’s wise to consider retirement activities now. Reaching retirement age without enough savings is a big problem. But having plenty of wealth but nothing to do is a real issue too.
So we’re going to give you some retirement activities to think about so you’re not aimless in your golden years. Unless aimlessness is your intentional goal on some days, more power to you. I know people who go fishing and don’t even try to catch anything. They say it’s just relaxing to be around the water.
If you need proof that being bored in retirement is a real issue, here is exhibit-A. 35% of retirees go back to work - same percentage for the lowest and highest income earners in the study! Makes it seem as though it’s a choice, not a necessity for the high earners, right? Exhibit-B is all the super-wealthy people that keep on plugging away.
● Warren Buffet
● Jeff Bezos
● The Rolling Stones
Why are they not napping on a beach 365 days a year?
Don’t Wait to Seek a Retirement Activity
Ok, you’re convinced boredom is a problem for those who can stop working. Now it’s time to consider what activities you already like. This way you’re not scrambling to figure that out when you “clock out” for the final time. Don’t wait to get bored and then frustrated. You risk going back to work because you can’t think of anything better.
So ask yourself what you already enjoy. It could be activities you do every week or monthly. Or an activity that you only get to do when you travel. Consider why these activities make you happy. But also think about why you don’t already do them more.
Fishing sounds good but maybe it is the bass boat commercials that make you forget - you can’t tie a knot! Golf is great, but do you like it by yourself or is it playing with friends that is the best part? Volunteer work is a worthy way to spend your time, but you want to be sure you choose charities that mean the most to you and your spouse. By the way, your spouse should be part of this process so they can be included in the activities that are better together.
Pleasurable Retirement Work
Before we get to more traditional hobbies and retirement activities, there are ways to spend your time on work you enjoy. The only reason to go back to a job or industry you did not like would be financial need. There is plenty of work available that gives meaning along with income.
Finding it just depends on your passion. I know one couple who opened up a little cafe just to get social time. The food was great. But their friendly personality is what brought people in every day. And it made them happy to be around others in their community on a personal level.
● Another gentleman sells art made from reclaimed wood
● One lady designs newsletters from home
● A couple went into business consulting
With the online opportunities, the world has opened up for retirees to do work they love - if they choose to do so. You don’t have to join TikTok - thank goodness! All you need is an internet connection that allows you to open an e-commerce store or use Zoom to consult right from your back patio.
Volunteer Activities for Retirees
If you don’t want any part of work during retirement, not even a side hustle, no worries. Many people start or ramp up their volunteer activities when they no longer have a job that takes up 40 hours a week. Some charity examples:
● Meals on Wheels
● Soup kitchens
● Habitat for Humanity
● Sitting with the elderly / homebound
● Helping at animal shelters
● Park clean-ups
Not only do these activities help those in need, they are also rewarding to those who help. A retirement activity that does some good and makes you feel better is a win-win. I think we often believe we have to make grand gestures to make the world better. But you’d be shocked how much a hot meal means to a needy person. It does make their world better.
Another benefit of volunteering in retirement is improving your health. When you’re doing physical activities like litter pick-ups at a park, church, or lake, you get natural exercise. Studies show just being around nature is proven to lower blood pressure, ease depression, and help cognitive function.
Is Gardening the Most Relaxing Retirement Hobby?
Besides volunteering, gardening is another way to beat stress and battle boredom in your golden years. Even people like me who have killed more plants than Round-Up can still keep tough plants like succulents alive.
There are tons of good reasons to dig into gardening. Let me plant some in your mind:
● It’s a good physical activity
● Improves your landscape
● Provides homegrown fruit and vegetables
● Caring for plants gives a sense of accomplishment
Now, there are tons of websites to help you improve your gardening game. Here are a couple:
Just keep in mind, bringing in a landscaping expert to coach you at the beginning is even better. Real-world experience can’t be beat. This consultant can be a groundskeeper or someone who has worked in a nursery for years.
Solo or Group Activities in Retirement
I don’t want to leave out a crucial detail when it comes to doing activities once you retire. Most people enjoy activities with others. Some guys can fly off to Alaska like Dick Proenneke and live solo for 30 years. That's a rare breed. Most of us modern people would get eaten by a moose on day two! Plus, companionship improves health.
It’s great to have a partner in retirement who is up for adventure with you. But it’s also a good idea to have a circle of friends to do things with. And the older we get, the harder it is to make new friends. The best way to meet others is to join a club or group.
And one of the great things remaining on what used to be a good invention - the internet - is the ease of finding groups. Facebook and MeetUp.com have many options and here’s a sampling of groups:
● Hiking meet-ups
● Book clubs
● Running clubs
● Dance classes
● Community gardens
● Antique car enthusiasts
● Walking groups
● Writer’s groups
Check with your area libraries for events and groups hosted there also. Getting outside our comfort zone is how we meet new people. How many interesting people have you met over the years who you ran into doing things that interested you? It is how you locate like-minded people! You don’t have to be Matlock to figure that mystery out.
Saved Best Tip for Last
I want to leave you with the best tip for finding enjoyable activities in retirement. A working career of 40-plus years can snuff out the creative spark in us sometimes and we need to rediscover what we love doing.
So, this tip comes from a young author who visited every country on Earth before he turned 35. Grab a pen and paper and start writing things down you enjoy or used to enjoy as a kid. It may take 20 minutes or so but stick with it. Keep writing until… you remember “your thing.”
Trust me, you’ll know it when you write it down. If you don’t - try again the next day. This little exercise lets you get what’s in your head out into the world on paper, and some of that stuff is buried pretty deep.
Now that you know boredom is a challenge in your retirement years, you can plan to overcome that challenge. Hopefully, I’ve given you plenty of ideas for activities that will make your retirement the best it can be for you and your family.
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legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.