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What do people do in retirement?

February 27, 2021

I often get asked “what do people actually do in retirement?”.

Obviously, the answer to that question is going to be very personal. But here are some of the ideas, or some of the things i’ve heard throughout the last 10 or 12 years as a financial planner.

The most obvious one, is that retirees do tend to take more holidays in retirement. Retirees will often put off the really big holidays that they’ve always dreamt of taking, maybe traveling to the US or Canada, going through the Rockies on the train, seeing the glaciers, or going to Europe and spending some time country hopping.

Then there’s you grey nomads as well. Retirees who like to get out in the caravan or RV and travel around Australia, see things that they maybe haven’t had the chance to see throughout their life.

But those things will only really fill a small part of your retirement. So it’s the day to day stuff that usually keeps people entertained. The reality is you have so much choice. For example:

  • Some retirees like to do volunteer work, maybe through the church or a local charity
  • Some retirees enjoy spending time with their grandchildren, and helping out their own children, maybe doing school pickups or catching up with them on the weekend.
  • Some retirees just like to relax. Take walks on the beach, spend some time with their family or dog, or go away for the weekend.
  • Some retirees will like to go out for dinner every now and then.
  • Some retirees will just want to stay at home and read a book.

The truth is, it really is up to you.

Importantly though, it is something you probably need to have a think about before you retire, because you’re going to have a lot of time on your hands. Although, most people I speak to you can’t believe they had time to work before, because they’re so busy in their retirement.

One of the things about working life is that you have a routine. You have a friend network. You have a reason to get up in the morning and go to work. So, once you’re retired, you have to replace that to some extent so it can be useful to take some time and have a think about what you would I like to do in retirement?

  • Would you like to start a hobby?
  • Would you like to play golf?
  • Would you like to take up bowls?
  • Would you like to spend some more time with the grandchildren and spoil them?
  • Would you like to take some holidays or caravan around Australia, and escape the Melbourne winters and go north for the heat?

It’s going to be very personal to your own circumstances and something that you probably should have to think about before you retire.

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