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Here Are the Top 10 Things People “Retire To” Thumbnail

Here Are the Top 10 Things People “Retire To”

No two retirements are ever the same. But in my 30-plus years of helping folks navigate the retirement transition, there's one common factor among the retirements that I would consider the most successful.

Whether they were achieving an early retirement goal or retiring in the more traditional 65 and up window, the happiest retirees I've known are the ones who were focused on “retiring to” something, rather than “retiring from” work. Folks who just want to stop working because they don't like their jobs often discover that, without a positive mindset and intentional forethought about how they're going to spend their time, they don't like retirement all that much either!

As folks near retirement, my Keen Wealth team often suggests that they take a whiteboard or a big sheet of paper and create a blank weekly calendar. Below are ten of the most common "retire to" activities folks are excited to add to their new schedules.

1. Travel and Exploration

Work is done and the kids are grown. There's nothing tying you down, and no reason you can't start seeing the world, visiting far-flung friends and family, or taking a few spur-of-the-moment weekend trips. "Slow travel" can be an especially gratifying way for seniors to immerse themselves in a new place and really experience how other people live.

2. Hobbies and Personal Interests

Whatever you're into, retirement can be the time to dive deeper, learn more, and get better. "Weekend warriors" can become more proficient on the golf course or tennis court. Bookworms can start working through their stacked shelves or join a book club. Improve your cooking skills and make every at-home meal a world-class treat. Or try your hand at something completely new that will stimulate your mind and get you excited for that spare hour you have to yourself.

3. Volunteer Work and Community Service

Volunteering can be one of the best ways for folks who need routine and purpose to structure their time in retirement. Take regular shifts at schools, non-profits, or community centers and you'll have a great reason to get up and get moving in the morning. And while these organizations can always use a friendly smile and a willing pair of hands, they might also benefit from your professional expertise in fields like marketing, accounting, administration, or executive leadership.

4. Spending Time with Family and Grandchildren

Whether you want to start attending your grandkids' concerts live or you want to be more involved in the care of an aging relative, being closer to your loved ones can give retirement a big social and emotional boost. And if you're lucky enough to live near your family already, you can talk to them about adding a few meetups at your favorite coffee shop or regular dinners to your calendar.

5. Pursuing Further Education or Learning New Skills

You may be done working, but you should never feel like you're done learning. There's an online class for anything you may want to learn languages, drawing, photography, cooking, crafts, etc. If you want to improve your professional skills in preparation for a potential second act, many universities and community colleges offer discounts for senior students.

6. Part-Time or Consulting Work in Your Field of Expertise

Now that you don't have to work, you're free to work as much as you want doing things that you love. Take a job at the nonprofit, startup, school, or government agency that couldn't have afforded you at your professional peak. You could also open your own consulting shop to lend your wisdom to other pros in your field.

7. Gardening and Home Improvement Projects

Spending time in your garden gives you all the benefits of physical activity, creativity, sunshine, and fresh air. Growing your own vegetables or contributing to a community garden project could also put some healthier food on your table. You can also devote more time to those nagging repairs that have been piling up or make plans with an architect and contractor for some major renovations that will make retirement more comfortable.

 8. Writing, Blogging, or Creative Pursuits

Retirement often brings up some really big feelings about life, career, family, and meaning. You can use a blog, a book project, or another creative medium to express those feelings and connect with people who are going through the same life transitions. You could also create a blog or YouTube channel to share professional how-to videos.

9. Physical Fitness and Wellness Activities

It is never, ever too late to get fit! In fact, if you've never kept a healthy exercise and diet regimen, you could be increasing the chances that you'll hurt yourself or develop mobility issues as you age. New retirees can use their free Welcome to Medicare visit to assess their baseline health and talk to their doctors about appropriate exercises. Folks who have always started their day with a run or a bike ride might set their fitness goals a little higher now that they have time to train for a marathon or spend an hour on their yoga mat every day.

10. Relocating to a New Area or Retirement Community

According to a recent study by the U.S. Census Bureau, family was the number one reason why retirees decided to move in 2023. But relocating can also provide an invigorating change of pace. Suburbanites might enjoy the energy and low maintenance of a downtown condo. Seniors who want to widen their social circle while simplifying their days might thrive in a retirement community. Or you could move where you can play more golf, visit more museums and theaters, or enjoy more eclectic restaurants.

I would encourage seniors to mix and match these ideas with some of their own to create a personalized “retire to” list. Then, bring your list to Keen Wealth and let’s talk about creating a comprehensive financial plan that could help you do more of what you love in retirement. 

About Bill

Bill Keen is a financial advisor with over 30 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he focuses on providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.

KWMG, LLC’s dba Keen Wealth Advisors (“company”) is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor located in Overland Park, KS. The company and its representatives may only conduct business in those states where registered or where excluded/exempt or from licensure. For registration information please contact the SEC or the state securities regulators for the states where the company is notice filed. A copy of the company ADV is available upon request. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where the company and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by the company unless a client service agreement is in place. This information is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy and is for illustrative purposes only. Clients and prospective clients must consider all relevant risk factors involved with each strategy, including costs or fees, and their own personal financial situations before trading.

The views outlined in the book, Keen on Retirement Engineering the Second Half of Your Life, are those of the author and should not be construed as individualized or personalized investment advice. Any economic and/or performance information cited is historical and not indicative of future results. Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted.

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