Things To Do When You Retire

7 Tips to Make the Most of Your First Year in Retirement

Things to Do When You Retire

You finally made it. You’ve finally reached that point in your life where your days are entirely your own. No one expects you to show up for work each morning.

It’s freeing and refreshing – but maybe also a bit… overwhelming.

For some seniors, retirement can go from exciting or relaxing to boring pretty quickly. You’re not used to having all this time to yourself. Who’d have thought that figuring out what to do with it could actually be a problem?

Here are seven ways to help make the first year of this new and exciting phase of your life something enjoyable.

1. Make a list of things you always thought sounded like fun, but never found the time to try.

To some degree, we’ve all been mentally making this list our whole life. All those books you thought sounded good, but didn’t make the time to pick up. All those times you thought, “sailing would be fun to learn” or “I kind of wish I knew a second language.” Sit down now and write it all down. Now you actually have the time to get out there and do some of them.

2. Create a financial plan.

Some of those things you put on your list (if not all of them) will have a cost. You want to explore all those things you’ve always wanted to try, but not at the expense of draining your savings. If you don’t already live by a budget, now’s probably a good time to start.

Some splurges here and there have been well earned, but keep an eye on how they add up so you can keep treating yourself in the years to come.

3. Give yourself a daily to-do list.

Some people find they miss the sense of purpose and accomplishment that comes with working each day. You can get that back without actually having to do work every day. If you start off the day with a plan, each thing you do can feel like a little accomplishment.

Your to-do list can include things like watching a TED Talk you heard was good, working in the garden, heading to a local museum, or cooking a new recipe for dinner. By turning all the fun things you want to do into goals to be met each day, your days will feel more productive and you’ll actually get those things done.

4. Find an activity that gives you a daily challenge.

Make one of the items on that to-do list something that’s challenging. Maybe you could take a MOOC, start building something, or start on that novel you always thought about writing. Retirement should be fun, but something that will make you exercise your mind and creativity will make the time feel more valuable.

5. Give yourself something to look forward to.

This could tie in with number four, or be something more like a big vacation. You’ve already realized one of the big things you’ve been looking forward to for years, so time to replace it with something else. Do you want to see Paris, or run a marathon? Put it down on your calendar for later in the year and start working toward it.

6. Consider volunteer options or part-time work.

Volunteers are wanted in every community and you can usually find an opportunity that matches something you’re interested in. Give Volunteer Match a look and see if anything strikes your fancy.

You may find you could still use some extra cash or miss the responsibility of earning something. A little bit of freelance work or a part-time job can fill that gap and make doing all those other fun things on your list a little easier on the bank account.

7. Consider a pet.

Pets do involve some work, so you need to research what’s involved in taking care of the kind of pet you have your eye on. But they can bring a lot of joy to your life. Having nearly constant affection pointed your way throughout the day can feel pretty fantastic. And the fact that you’ll be home much of the day and have time for walks and playing makes you an ideal candidate for pet ownership.

You’re at a point in life where possibilities are all around you. You can take up new hobbies, find ways to help in the community, and learn all about new subjects. You’ll be surprised how much a little planning can help you enjoy it that much more.

How do you like to spend your retirement? Please share in the comments!

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for


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