Ideas and Examples for Answering "What to Do When I Retire?"

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 4, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Retirement is an opportunity to connect with your biggest passions and most important goals. During your retirement, you may have time to indulge in your hobbies, travel, and spend time with your friends and family. Understanding what options you have in retirement can help you use your time well.

In this article, we examine the importance of retirement planning, explore 14 ideas to help you answer the question, "What to do when I retire?", and review tips for retirement planning.

Importance of answering "What to do when I retire?"

Answering the question, "What to do when I retire?" is important, because it can help you plan your retirement more effectively. If you've been working eight-hour days for many years, you may be unsure of what to do with so many extra hours to spend how you want during the day. Planning your retirement can help you stay active and productive. It can also help you track how you spend your money and determine how much income you can safely withdraw and what rate of return you require on your investments.

Related: How to Write a Retirement Message

14 ideas for how you can spend your retirement

The following 14 ideas can help you answer the question, "What to do when I retire?":

1. Travel

The freedom of unlimited vacation time means retirees can go on extended vacations and take advantage of last-minute deals. Travelling is an opportunity to learn about different cultures and immerse yourself in unique experiences. You may also enjoy more relaxing travel activities, such as going hiking, golfing, shopping, or exploring the arts in different cities and countries around the world. Here are a few travel ideas you may consider:

  • Rent or buy a trailer

  • Visit a bed and breakfast

  • Go to a campground

  • Stay at a spa

  • Take a cruise

  • Go on a tour

2. Invest in a hobby

Hobbies provide interesting and enjoyable activities that you can take part in individually or with a group of people. Having a hobby allows you to remain mentally and physically productive while de-stressing. You can pursue existing hobbies or decide to develop a new interest. Here are some hobbies you may want to explore:

  • Gardening

  • Sailing

  • Walking or hiking

  • Wine tasting

  • Furniture restoring

  • Pottery making

  • Reading

  • Cooking

  • Model building

  • Bird watching

  • Singing or playing instruments

  • Horseback riding

  • Baking

  • Antique collecting

  • Painting

Related: How to Answer the Interview Question: "What Are Your Hobbies?"

3. Pursue further education

During retirement, you may find opportunities to expand your knowledge and expertise. If you're more interested in learning than obtaining formal credentials, consider exploring online learning options. There are several subjects or interests you can further educate yourself in, such as web design, communication, music, art, economics, and psychology. The following are a few common educational opportunities:

  • Visit art museums

  • Learn a second language

  • Go to a seminar

  • Join or start a book club

  • Visit the library

  • Take a cooking class

Related: Determining the Answer to "What Are My Interests?"

4. Volunteer

You can be a valuable member of several local and national organizations. Volunteering provides you with social and professional opportunities. You can also meet other retirees through volunteer opportunities. When selecting a volunteer position, consider what causes are the most meaningful to you and which organizations can benefit the most from your help. The following are a few volunteer ideas:

  • Help stock shelves at a local food bank

  • Walk dogs at the local shelter

  • Organize a food drive in your neighbourhood

  • Knit clothing for the homeless

  • Host in a charity event

  • Sort books at a public library

  • Donate your time to veteran homes

  • Organize events at the local senior centre

  • Read to hospital patients

  • Lead a community outreach program

5. Take part in sporting activities

Physical activity has several health benefits. It improves flexibility, boosts your immune system, and is extremely beneficial for your heart and lungs. Taking part in sports is also an excellent way to meet new people. You can join a team for older adults or use your athletic expertise to coach younger people. Some popular sporting activities include joining a bowling league, playing golf, playing tennis, and taking part in water aerobics.

6. Foster a pet

You can make an animal's life more fulfilling by taking in a shelter or rescue pet. You can care for sick or injured animals and help them adjust to a new living situation. The goal is to provide animals with a loving and stable environment until they receive a permanent home. Fostering an animal is a great way to get all the benefits of animal companionship without spending a lot of money. Animals can also help lower your blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve your mood.

7. Make crafts

Making crafts is a great way to create something unique and original with your hands. Among the projects you can explore are knitting, woodworking, photography, scrapbooking, and jewelry making. Craft stores, local schools, and community centres commonly host inexpensive workshops where you can learn about crafts with people who share your interests. You can sometimes purchase professional-grade materials and tools for a small fee through local art studios.

8. Play games

Playing games alone or with other people can be a wonderful way to challenge your brain and have fun. There are board, card, and dice games you can enjoy. You can also attend bingo nights, join a chess club, or explore the world of online gaming.

9. Improve your home

Retirement is an ideal time to improve the comfort, convenience, or security of your home. You may choose to buy shutters and window boxes for the exterior of your home or build a fence. Home improvements can also include converting an old room into a home office, setting up an exercise area, updating cabinets, and painting your walls.

10. Explore your genealogy

Discover your roots through genealogy. Genealogy is the study of families, their history, and the tracing of their lineages. The process may include looking at old family photographs or collecting stories from relatives. You can also build a family tree on the internet to learn more about your ancestors.

11. Express yourself through writing

When you have time to think and reflect, you might discover you have special stories to tell or knowledge to share. You may enjoy writing memoirs, novels, cookbooks, how-to guides, poems, or plays. Another possibility is to write a blog about topics such as travel, cooking, art, or retirement experiences. Journaling is also a good way to keep a record of memories, relieve stress, and process emotions.

12. Attend events

Attend special events taking place in your community. For example, attend theatre performances, concerts, sporting events, and movie festivals. You can also choose to volunteer your time to help organize or operate these events.

13. Connect with family and friends

Having more time to spend with the people in your life is among the benefits of retirement. It allows you to strengthen your relationships. You can show your family and friends how much you appreciate them by spending more time engaging in activities you all enjoy. Spending time together also gives you the chance to learn more about your family members and create special memories. Here are a few fun ways to stay connected:

  • Invite your family to dinner

  • Organize a holiday party

  • Offer to babysit your grandchildren

  • Organize a weekly lunch

  • Visit with distant family members via video chat

14. Enjoy leisure activities

The purpose of leisure is to experience your free time without responsibilities, such as work, chores, or education. Retirement allows you to have time for relaxation and recreational activities. Here are some leisure activities you may enjoy:

  • Watching a show

  • Going to the movies

  • Reading a book

  • Seeing a play

  • Walking

  • Watching the sunset or sunrise

Related: How to Write a Retirement Letter With Samples

Tips for planning your retirement

Here are a few tips you may consider when planning your retirement:

  • Consider the kinds of activities you plan to pursue during retirement. If you want to travel, think about how many trips you want to take and where you want to go each year.

  • Analyze your time and money allocations. Accounting for your time and expenses can help you complete everything in your retirement plan. For example, if you plan to rent an RV before buying a house in the city, it's important to set limitations on travel time and spending in advance.

  • Talk to a financial planner. To make sure your long-term plans account for leisure spending, speak to a financial planner at least five years before you retire. This allows you to adjust your savings and spending accordingly.

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