What Will I Do When I Retire?

by | Nov 24, 2020

Being able to answer the question “What will I do when I retire” and having a plan for your retirement lifestyle can help you stay engaged and can lead to a healthier and more enjoyable retirement, studies say.

Your retirement years are supposed to be your golden years, right? But, have you ever had the thought, “What will I do when I retire?” That may sound like a silly question, but if you are unable to answer that question, it can make retiring seem a bit overwhelming.

With that said, most have no problem thinking of the big, extravagant things they will do once they retire, like taking a long vacation, renovating their home, etc. But those things don’t last forever and once they’re over, you’re back to square one, having to fill a 40-hour per week void in your life. Furthermore, not being able to effectively fill that void can even lead to health concerns.

Staying Engaged During Retirement

According to a study published in Psychology and Aging, researchers found that women who became less engaged after retirement had steeper declines in cognitive functioning than peers who remained employed. This speaks to the considerable importance for women to remain engaged after retirement, but we believe staying engaged can have positive effects for both men and women.

A helpful concept in staying engaged to is build out your lifestyle allocation, like how we are trained in the finance world to build an investment allocation. In building a lifestyle allocation, every individual evaluates how much of their time they want to go toward certain parts of their life and then reviews and “rebalances” periodically to stay on track.

For example, if your intent is to spend 5 hours per week exercising, but you find that you’re coming up short, then perhaps it’s time for a rebalance.

Your finances are obviously an important part of your time in retirement, but arguably more important is the currency of your time. Here are 7 possible items you might consider to help answer the question “What will I do when I retire.”

1. Personal Growth

Whether it is technical, spiritual, or personal, growth is an important part of staying engaged. For example, our careers often demand that we learn new skills or systems periodically and doing so keeps us sharp. But, don’t let this stop once you retire. Try improving on your current skills or perhaps take up something new altogether that you’ve always wanted to learn.

The key is to avoid the mentality that learning ends with your working years.

2. Health

Time can be such a constraint during your working years and physical health is often the first casualty of limited time. When you retire, take the opportunity to take extra special care of yourself through exercise, healthy eating, and at-home cooking, all of which can have positive effects on your health and wellbeing.

3. Productivity

You might be retired, but maybe you would like to continue to work part-time, work on home projects, or you have an idea to start a small business. It’s never too late to take a chance on doing something you’re passionate about. Dedicating a moderate amount of time toward productive activities is a fantastic way to stay engaged.

4. Volunteer/Service to Others

Volunteering is another way to not only stay engaged mentally, but also socially, during retirement. Volunteer groups can be fun, help you meet others like you, and can be incredibly rewarding. Plus, the obvious benefit is that you’ll be making a positive impact for those in need. 

5. Family

Retirement can also provide the opportunity to spend more time with your children, grandkids, siblings, and parents, and dedicating some of your retirement lifestyle allocation to family is another crucial part of staying engaged emotionally. In fact, babysitting your grandchildren can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s, according to Alzheimers.net.

6. Hobbies/Entertainment

Retirement wouldn’t be known as your “Golden Years” if you don’t have the opportunity to do the things you really enjoy doing. Whether you like to golf, hike, boat, paint, or knit, this category should be easy to fill for those planning to retire.

7. Travel

What will you do when you retire? How about traveling the world (or even just the United States)? There are so many beautiful places to see and retirement gives you the opportunity to take extended trips without having to worry about using up your vacation days.

Bottom Line

Retirement can so often be made about what your investment allocation is, but what about your lifestyle allocation? Have you answered the question “What will I do when I retire?” Doing so can help you stay sharp, stay healthy, and ultimately have a more enjoyable retirement.

This list is certainly not all-encompassing but can give you a good start on things you almost every retirement should include.

As always, if you need help figuring out if you can retire, seek help from a qualified retirement advisor or CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.




1. United Press International; Disengagement after retirement increases cognitive decline risk; https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2020/03/16/Disengagement-after-retirement-increases-cognitive-decline-risk/7731584367320/

Joe Allaria, CFP®

Joe Allaria, CFP®

As featured in The Wall Street Journal, USAToday.com, CNBC.com, Nasdaq.com, and Yahoo Finance.

Free Retirement Assessment

Our free assessment will show you how to invest confidently, reduce taxes, and retire sussessfully.

We want you to know exactly how we can help before you pay us a single dollar.

Recent Blogs

Should Aging Parents & Adult Children Co-Own Assets?

Navigating the complexities of caring for aging parents is a common...

Social Security: Will I Get It?

Social Security is facing a crisis as it heads toward insolvency by 2034....

2024 Stock Market Predictions

What do financial experts say is going to happen in the stock market...

Get All Insights