9 Things to Do When You Retire

Retirement is a stage in life that everyone in the rat race looks forward to.

It proves that you paid your dues to society, worked for a lengthy period, and it’s now time to open up the next chapter in your life.

Previously, when people retired, they didn’t have as much time to enjoy it.  There wasn’t much to do, and they weren’t expected to live very long afterwards.  With improvements in technology and health, people are living longer, and in some cases, are retired longer than they spent working!

So how can you spend your days with your new found freedom?

Here are 9 things to do when you retire:

9 things to do when you retire.


When you were working, sure you may have had vacation time, but not enough to truly do some extensive traveling.  You can use this time to explore your entire country, or travel internationally.  Depending on the age you retire, you can get some great discounts for seniors on flights, cruises and public transportation.

Take the trips you’ve been postponing!

Go back to school

Whether you didn’t get a chance to finish college, or you went as far as you can go and have another interest, you should consider continuing your education.  Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks (but I’m definitely not calling you old)?  You don’t have to go full time unless you want to.  You can take a class or two and further your learning.  There’s even personal development classes offered via your city’s recreation department.


Maybe over the years, you’ve found a cause that you’re really passionate for.

Now you have the time to get involved instead of just donating to an organization.  There are many volunteer roles for a variety of organizations.  Just contact them, tell them you’re interested and passionate about the cause, and start devoting your time to it.  This will be a great way to keep you busy.

Get a part time job

Some people have been working for so long, they’re not used to not having a job.

No one will fault you for wanting to continue working even after you retire.  Find a part time job, whether it’s just to get out the house, to meet new people, to help out, or to get some additional money.

Many companies are more than happy to welcome a retiree on board.

Start a business

This can be something you’ve been wanting to do for years, or something you know you’ll be good at because of your job experience.  Starting a business after retirement can be extremely rewarding.  You now get to become your own boss, and do things how you want them done.

Don’t let your age be a factor; clients and customers, in many cases, prefer a seasoned veteran to deal with in small business.


If you’re retired, chances are your kids are all grown up and moved out.

There’s no need to stay in that huge house with just yourself and your spouse.  Take this as a time to downsize, and save on your expenses.  You can look into a smaller house, a nice condo or apartment, or even a senior community (which I’ve noticed have some of the nicest living arrangements).

This is also a great chance to move to a more comfortable city, without having to worry about a job.

Get social

Many retirees retreat and keep to themselves, and long for additional human interaction.

Well, what are you waiting for?

Join a club, head to meetups, even get involved on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.  It’s not just for young people anymore.  Don’t sit idly; get out and enjoy yourself.


My best teachers have been the ones who really had some life experience under their belt.

You have a lot to offer knowledge wise.  You may not have a teaching credential but you can teach a personal development class at your community center, or even offer classes online.  There are teaching programs out there that will fast-track your credentials based on your work experience as well.

And you know what?  As a teacher, you might be eligible for a pension, medical benefits, and more.


Blogs are an open forum for anyone who can type!

If you have something to say, blogging can be a great opportunity for you.  There’s so many different subjects, just pick one and start!  A successful blog doesn’t just grow overnight, though.  You’ll have to interact with other bloggers, and market your blog just like any other type of business.

Now you have several different things to choose from. You don’t have to be the designated baby sitter when you have so many opportunities and things you can do during your retirement.  Try something out!

What other things should you do when you retire?

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Published or updated May 29, 2014.


  1. Where’s Vegas in this list? 🙂

    I’d like to do more volunteer work.

  2. I think these are great tips – not only for retirement but for life before retirement as well. While I know this article was just encouraging those in retirement/approaching retirement to do creative/fun things, many people fail to live their life before retirement.

  3. P.S. I forgot to include that I plan to live in two places as well as travel. I don’t like the harsh winters of the NE. 🙂

  4. This is my perspective on retirement. Don’t do it. What I mean by this is, keep contributing to the world. Yes, leave your J-O-B, but don’t stop providing value.

    If you can “retire” from your job early? Go for it. But be careful that you don’t lose your sense of value and purpose. People often become depressed when they retire. You can avoid that by still making contributions to society: business, charity, etc.

    To retire means to be put out of use. Don’t be put out of use. Be useful, resourceful, and keep adding value beyond your golden years.

  5. @Sam: Vegas is a great retirement spot! My grandparents live there now.

    @20’s Finance: You’re so right. So many people just work work work and wait until they retire to live, but they should look into these things while they’re working too. Where are the 2 places you’ll live?

    @Choose Financial Freedom: I love that idea. Don’t become stagnant; keep contributing. I never looked at the actual meaning of retirement. Could be a new movement to “not retire”.

  6. @ Briana, I’m thinking maine and florida. 🙂

  7. I do and will do all of the items except start a business or get a part time job. The only exception is blogging, since I do not view that as work,

  8. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says:

    I’m a long ways from retirement but my two biggest things are travel and volunteer (hopefully I can find a way to combine the two).

  9. We are retired & do most of those things. We spend a lot of time helping our extended family. We enjoy travel very much. Recently when checking into a hotel I was asked by the desk clerk, “What brings you to us?” I was tired after a long day on the road & just replied, “Travelling.” lol I suppose he wanted to know why we chose that particular hotel. He probably already knew as our reservation came from Priceline! My husband said I should have said, “Our van.”

    We have continued our hobbies including sailing, camping, hiking, and geting together with friends and family. I knit and make jewelry for fun and gifts. Also blogging fits several of your categories!

  10. @20’s Finance: Awesome! I would love to visit Florida and I heard Maine is great for sailing.

    @krantcents: I don’t see blogging as work either; it’s a passion!

    @Jenna: You can definitely combine the two. Have you considered Peace Corps? Or Habitat for Humanity?

    @Maggie: It sounds like you’re having a blast! I can’t wait to get to that point. I want to get into hiking this fall when it cools down.

  11. I do all of those things now and I’m at least 20 years from the average retirement age.

    I have absolutely no plans on retiring. Why? I love what I do, I make good money, and having a job gives me a reason to get up out of bed every day. When I listen to people tell me that they’re slaving so that they can retire at 60 or even 50, I wonder, “what are you going to do with yourself?”

  12. I totally agree. In fact, I am still working (nearly 40 years) and I have developed a simple approach that helps me stay happy every day at work…seek to add value in spite of it all. Don’t let the office politics or any other negative event keep you down. If you don’t enjoy your job, find one that you can’t hardly wait to get too everyday and where you hate to leave at night because of the contribution you are making to the business condition. I know we need a work-life balance and I love being with my family but the benefits of this attitude have been immeasurable for me.

  13. @Nick: It’s even better if you do those things before retirement and don’t have to stop (or don’t have to retire!) Do you mind me asking what you do?

    @Steve: You’re so lucky; a lot of people who have been working for so long don’t find the approach to happiness. A good work-life balance is essential to that happiness.

  14. I like taking little “mini retirements” throughout my life rather than postponing all my retirement goals for when I am old. I do this because there is no guarantee as to how long I will live and whether or not I will be healthy enough in retirement to pursue my goals then.

  15. Blog… start a business… go back to school… take a part-time job… I won’t wait for my retirement to do all these. Why wait for tomorrow if I can do it today?

  16. @Pam: I love that idea, no need to pack it all in one chunk when you can spread it out. Live life while you have the time.

    @Cherleen: Great point! Do these things now and you can continue well into your retirement.

  17. I have no idea what I’m going to do at retirement, but teaching and traveling are definitely at the top of the list – right next to owning and starting businesses.

  18. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says:

    Yes! I’ve done a couple of builds with Habitat and I actually signed up for the Peace Corps after college, but decided against it. Would definitely consider it in retirement though.

  19. Hello, I don’t know where to start or if this is the right forum for me, but at 62 and facing a lay off due to “low numbers” I find myself scared, confused, uncertain of which way to go, and quite honestly having suicidal thoughts occasionally. It’s hard not to feel like a failure, but it normally just makes me mad at myself. You see I have a Military retirement and my wife as well, so we have the mortgage and monthly bills covered and I could and will most likely get a Substitute License to supplement our income. It’s just that I feel betrayed and again unsuccessful. I’m on several “anti-stress” meds (I call them my happy pills) so as not to aggravate my heart condition, one heart attack is enough for anyone. I try to keep a stiff upper lip and show strength for my family, but as the school year ends it’s getting tougher. I don’t expect anyone to solve my problems, just a little advice, maybe a success stories, and places to go for information. It is so infuriating the maze you have to go through for information on what you qualify for; you would think after 26 years of waiting in lines in the Navy would have prepared me for this, maybe I’m just too old for it now. Any information, help, and encouraging words, trust me would be greatly appreciated.

    • Steve,
      Been there, done that. 30 years with a company and they decide to say good bye. It hurts. Years of hard work and you don’t even get to make the retirement date choice. But, making the retirement date choice is not the most important thing. You gave much, you take much away. In all likelyhood you would have decided fairly soon to make the big decision for life change soon on your own. Be sad for a bit, but then move on to the next step whatever you choose for it to be. My grandfather was “retired” by his company after 30 years and went to work for the competator for 20 more. My father was “retired” after 25 years and did normal retirement stuff….traveling, two homes in far away states, enjoying wife and grandchildren. This has been happening for generations. We are need to find our next step no matter how we got there. Do not stall out now. I didn’t and could not be happier. After it is all settled, it is amazing what a wonderful world you will find if you keep your eyes open and see.

    • I know how you feel Steve. It is nice to be able to make the decision to retire and not have someone do it for you. I am struggling also to find some meaningful things to do with the rest of my life. I have knee problems, so I am trying to focus on fittness. Health is number one. Keep that in mind. Those anti depressants can cause can cause more problems if you’re not careful. Find something you like to do. I am also thinking of taking a photography class to see if i t is something I would like. Just think of this as another challenge in life and move forward. Good Luck

      • I have had knee surgery 2002 back and shoulder issues retired army reserve, love worship and bible study. I am financially okay but I want to be more useful and resourceful and lost sense of value and purpose. Due to benefits don’t want to jeopardize and enjoy exercising keeping in shape but limited. God has blessed me with many talents and skills don’t know where to start. Unfortunately few friends. Your advice would be so appreciated. Thank you…

    • Please do me a favor go to bookstore find book Bondage Breakers read it so that you will be aware of the deception/voices/schemes of the devil. You will have a change of attitude, guaranteed share with your spouse.

    • I know how you feel. I left a 30 year career and it took some serious counseling and medication before I was ready to “close the door”. It’s been 6 months now and I am more at peace than I have ever been in my life!! All that angst and worry will disappear, I promise! Just look out for YOU and things will be great.

    • Becky Eck says:

      I just retired from teaching and am happy about it, recently divorced (not happy but have dealt with it). I am doing a lot of planning, re-making of my life. I have to find an identity other than wife/teacher/mother as my kids are all grown.
      It has all the angst/excitement of being a teenager again and deciding what I want to do with my life. I started by writing a mission statement (how I hated those when I was working), and made a list of things that are important to me. Like you, contributing to society was way up there, also getting in shape, being closer to my extended family, finally having time to get more involved in church. volunteering, learning new things, fixing up my home, finding new ways to express love (now that I don’t have my students) working on diy projects that I love. I heard once that if we want God to show us the bigger picture we have to first be faithful in the little things. So I bought a bike and got a gym membership, drove 5 hours to a family birthday party, decided to visit a different church every week until I find one I want to go back to, made a list of home projects and am tackling them one at a time. I am also researching volunteer opportunities and am cooking a meal tonight for a neighbor I just met who is caring for a wife on hospice. If you don’t have financial worries the world is full of opportunities. Just don’t stay home. Get paid or not, you are still important and your skills and your love can make a big difference in the lives of others

  20. I am 70 and still fully imployed. Thanks to a good bank. However, looking into the future I started a little hobby business two years ago to keep me physically and mentally active as long as possible. I have always enjoyed working with my hands, remodeling, helping people fix things. So, I now have plenty to do at night and on week-ends, a business for the future, can set my own work schedule and even make a little money. When I want to give back I charge very little or nothing to needy families. Home run for me.

  21. I was suddenly thrust into retirement due to cut backs and believe me it has been difficult. I am not ready to leave the business world because I loved what I did. I had an S-Corp and worked as a consultant through it. If I don’t get something soon, I guess I will look for volunteer work.

    • Hi what is S-Corp?

      • Hi Brenda:
        An S-Corp is a company. I am a 1 person company. It has many advantages and also allows you to open up a defined benefits plan and/or a 401k plan for yourself. All taxes for the company are run through personal tax returns. I kind of fell into it when I took a consultanting job and needed to find a way to shelter a large portion of my income. It has been a real learning experience, and I will be sad to have to close it at year end since I have not been able to find any more work.

    • Thank you for the definition. I am sorry about your situation but you do realize when doors close sometimes new doors can open I encourage you to be optimistic. Trust God…my prayers go out to you and Steve.

  22. I love this list. It makes me realize that I’m living life pretty well since I am already doing a lot of these things and I’m in my 30’s. I teach college for a living and have a small business on the side. This career has given me time to volunteer and serve on a number of nonprofit boards.

    You don’t need to wait until retirement to shape your life the way you want it!

  23. My husband and I were fortunate to be able to retire 12 years ago. We downsized to a beautiful condo on the beach, and did a little traveling – and then he got sick. It was one thing after another… Peripheral arterial disease, gallbladder had to come out, diabetes, neuropathy, heart surgery, and finally, cancer. He died 3 months ago. (BTW – pretty much e erything on that list was connected to his exposure to Agent Orange during his military service in Vietnam.)

    Two years ago (a week before his cancer diagnosis) I started taking on-line classes part-time, and I am still taking them. They helped so much in the weeks after his death, as they gave me something to focus on that wasn’t death-related. They also gave me the chance to feel like I was being productive at a time when I felt like doing nothing at all. It would have been very easy to spend 18 hours every day watching old sitcoms.

    So, now it has been 3 months. I am 53 years old. Money isn’t an issue, but the raw pain is awful. I have become more active at church, and was already doing lots of volunteer work. Still taking the classes, and trying to get the house in order – but this is not the retirement we worked for and I hate feeling like this.

    • Hi Laura, I am so sorry to hear about your husbands passing. I know it is difficult!

      Can you use the on-line classes in a way that you can feel productive?

      What are a few things you planned on doing in your retirement? Can you do these with friends or family?

  24. Before, my father was already planning for his retirement. He was a seaman and his planning if he would retire he would apply as a professor.

  25. I think life really sucks. I am 58 with a chronic illness and now my husband age 59 is so ill he can barely get out of bed, 6 months now. I won’t be able to keep this house. My life is over. We never even got a chance to retire. I am glad I traveled for 10 years with my husband and kids in the antique market business when we were young and well. If you wait, it may be too late.

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