What Will You Do in Retirement?

Bill Parrott |

Today you’re working.  Tomorrow you’re retired.   After eighteen years of schooling and forty years of working it’s now time for retirement.  For the first time in your life you don’t need to set your alarm clock for a Monday morning meeting.   

A question I’m often asked is, “What will I do in retirement?”  Few people have a strategy for retirement.  In fact, only 22% of individuals feel confident about their retirement according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.[1] 

Retirement has two sides: financial and emotional.  The financial equation is easier to deal with when compared to the emotional side.  A financial planner will give you a good estimate of how much income you’ll receive based on your current level of assets.  The emotional side of retirement, however, is more challenging and difficult to quantify.  Individuals aren’t likely to retire until their emotional house is in order regardless of their financial situation. 

What will you do in retirement?  Here are a few suggestions to help you with the emotional side of retirement.

Give.  A suggestion to give your money away in retirement hardly makes economic sense.  Retirees want to know how much money they’ll receive; not how much they’ll give away.  Individuals who can afford to retire and live off their savings should be able to give some of their money away to help others.  A giving or charitable strategy will help define the who, what, when and where for your donations.  Giving money away can also make you happier and healthier according to a 2015 research report.[2]  As a child you probably were told it’s much better to give than receive but you didn’t believe it until you were older.  Giving is advantageous to all parties.  

Volunteer.  Giving and volunteering are close cousins if not siblings.  Most individuals will tell you they’re busier in retirement than they were during their working years.   Non-profits are constantly looking for help.  A quick Google search for non-profits in Austin, TX produced over 825,000 results.   Volunteering your time will help fill your day with meaningful activity while doing good for others.   Your local church, school district or Chamber of Commerce can point you in the right direction and lead you to several serving opportunities.  Joining Rotary or Kiwanis will also give you instant access to serving opportunities.

Mentor.  You’ll retire with a wealth of knowledge stored in your mind and it would be a terrible thing to waste.   Helping a student with homework or learning to read will bear much fruit and can change their life trajectory.  Mentoring a new business, startup or incubator can be beneficial to the young owner and help them avoid several mistakes.   Your knowledge is invaluable and the lessons you pass on to the younger generation won’t soon be forgotten.

Work.  Work?  Who wants to work in retirement?  I want to work in a fly fishing shop or outdoor adventure store.   If I’m able to work in a fly fishing shop in Colorado during retirement, I wouldn’t consider it work.   What hobbies do you have?  Can you convert your hobby into employment?  If you like gardening, work in a nursery.  If you’re an artist, work in an art store.   Seasonal work may be another opportunity for you during your golden years.  Working at a ski resort in the winter and a beach resort in the summer may be your ticket.  Working part or full-time in retirement will also help with your finances.  The longer you defer your withdrawals from your investment accounts, the more money you’ll have as you mosey through retirement.   

School.  First work and now school?  What the heck?  Most universities will allow retirees to audit a class or two.  Did you miss taking quantum physics as an undergrad?  You now can go back to school and devote yourself to a subject of your choosing.   Your local university or junior college offer hundreds of courses giving you the opportunity to study almost anything. 

Hobbies.  Do you have a hobby you can convert to cash?  Do you have paintings or pottery to sell?  Your hobby may give you an opportunity to generate income.  Since you’re not working 9 to 5 you can allocate more time to hone your hobby or craft.  What if you don’t have hobbies?  Retirement is a great time to study the guitar or learn to scuba dive.

Travel.  Distant lands are calling.  Travelling by land, sea or air is good for the soul.  In addition to seeing our big blue planet, you’ll experience different cultures and meet amazing people.   A trip to New Zealand, China, Greece or Peru will expand your horizons.  Local travel is also captivating.  Visiting our National Parks is breathtaking.  A hike through Yellowstone or Yosemite will leave you speechless.   Sailing the seven seas will allow you to discover two-thirds of our earth.  It’s also possible to turn your travel into extended stays.   How would you like to live in Sardinia for a few months?

Fitness.  If you take care of your body, it will take care of you.  Yoga, walking, swimming, cycling or lifting weights are low impact activities that provide numerous benefits.  Regular exercise can improve sleep and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.[3]  Twenty to thirty minutes a day is all you need to maintain or improve your health.

Fish.  Fishing for trout with a Purple Haze Parachute fly while floating the Bitterroot may be in your future. Fishing, of course, is a popular retirement hobby.   Most people live near a pond, stream, river or ocean so finding fishable water should be easy.  Fishing can also be a lifelong sport enjoyable for the entire family. 

Golf.  Golf may be the ultimate retirement prize.  Workers will endure forty years of employment so they can spend the rest of their life golfing.  Florida, Arizona and other sunbelt states benefit greatly from retirees.  If you’re going to spend the rest of your life on the golf course, make sure you dip yourself in sunscreen regularly. 

Nothing.  Of course, doing nothing is an option.  You may want to sit on the couch all day and watch TV but I doubt it.  Retirement is an exciting time so I’d encourage you to get off the couch and enjoy your retirement.

The golden years will be the best years of your life.  The ability to do what you want, when you want is peaceful.   Your retirement will give you a chance to live life on your terms.  Retirement can be a life of leisure but I’d encourage you to use your resources (physical, spiritual and financial) to help others and yourself!

Happy Retirement!

Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Bill Parrot is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management.  For more information on retirement planning, please visit www.parrottwealth.com.

June 2, 2017


[1]http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/yourmoney/ct-marksjarvis-0422-biz-20150421-column.html, Gail Marksjarvis, April 22, 2015.

[2] http://nypost.com/2015/09/03/people-who-donate-to-charity-are-much-happi..., Reuters, September 3, 2015.

[3] https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-29265/does-exercise-help-reverse-the-eff..., By Leigh Weingus, May 20, 2017.