How to Enjoy Retirement

Retirement can be a happy time of life, but also comes with stress. When first entering retirement, it can be difficult to manage your expectations. So much free time can be overwhelming. However, there are many ways you can make the most out of your retired years. You can start by making a plan. Think about your budget, and how you would like to spend your time. From there, work on keeping busy. Join a local club or take up a new hobby. Make sure to keep social relationships strong during retirement. Retirement is a great time to get in touch with old friends and strengthen family bonds.


[Edit]Planning for Retirement

  1. Manage your expectations.[1] To start, you'll want to manage your expectations. If you're anxious to get out of a stifling career, you may think retirement will be glorious. However, it's very normal for the transition into retirement to be stressful. Try to keep your expectations realistic, and expect some sadness in the early days of retirement.[2]
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    • A lot of identity is tied to career. It's normal to feel lost and confused initially during retirement.[3] These feelings are normal, and will pass with time. Expecting to feel some sadness early on can lessen its blow. If you go into retirement certain you'll automatically feel happy and fulfilled, you may be more upset or frustrated by the difficulty of the transition.
    • You should also expect that you will not do all you want to do right away. Do not expect to jump into retirement and immediately begin reading all the books you want to read, traveling everywhere you wanted to go, and getting into a ton of hobbies. It's okay to plan for some downtime, initially, as you adjust to the transition.
  2. Make a budget. Even with a good pension, you will be taking in significantly less money in retirement. Look into your savings, personal assets, and monthly pension to get a sense of how much money you can reasonably spend each month. Knowing your budget ahead of time can help you feel relaxed about money, allowing you to enjoy your retirement more.
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    • If you're on a strict budget, you can plan for low cost activities.[4] Try to take advantage of senior discounts at low-priced local restaurants, for example. You can also look into downsizing. If you'd be okay with a smaller home or less belongings, selling some of your old things can give you extra money for retirement.
    • You can also consider finding a way to earn small amounts of money each month. You could try a part time job. Many retirees enjoy small, low pressure part time work. Things like tutoring, substitute teaching, dog-walking, and pet sitting will keep you busy and feeling fulfilled. They will also give you a bit of extra income to spend.
    • You could also plan for free leisure activities, like going to the beach, if you live near one, or to a community pool to pass the day.[5]
  3. Think about your identity. A lot of one's identity is tied up in work. You may feel very defined by your job. You may see yourself as a lawyer, or a teacher, or an engineer. Retirement can be jarring, as this role is suddenly absent. It can help to think about your new role prior to retirement. This can give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment, allowing you to better enjoy yourself.[6]
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    • You perhaps once thought of yourself as an achiever, a breadwinner, and independent. Even if you've retired with relative security, you may feel a loss of independence and purpose in retirement. Try to think about new roles you can fill.
    • In retirement, you're now a valued community member. As you've lived a long, fulfilling life people may come to you for advice and guidance. If you're married, you can see yourself as a valued partner for your spouse. If you have children, you can provide them with guidance and support.
  4. Set goals for yourself. You should have some goals going into retirement. This can allow you to better enjoy yourself. You will suddenly have an onslaught of free time, so you want to plan ways to fill that time. Have a sense of what you want to do going into retirement.[7]
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    • You may want to have some very specific goals based off of your general interests. For example, a general goal may be something like, "I want to get more involved in my community." How can you make this more specific? What are some concrete ways you can get involved?
    • From a vague goal, hammer out specifics. For example, "I want to volunteer at the children's hospital 3 times a week" or "I want to start regularly attending town hall meetings."

[Edit]Keeping Busy

  1. Take up new hobbies.[8] Retirement presents you with the invaluable opportunity to try something new. There were probably many hobbies and interests you never pursued when busy with work, family, and other obligations. Try to look into these hobbies in your retirement.[9][10]
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    • Think about a hobby you were always interested in pursuing. Maybe you always wanted to try, say, horseback riding or growing a garden. See if you can take classes in your local area.
    • Look into senior centers. If your area has a senior center, they may offer classes for the recently retired. See if any classes stand out to you and try to learn things that you always wanted to.[11] As retirement is a time to look back and reflect on past experience, a memoir writing class may be a good idea.
    • Since you can only sit on the beach or the pool for so long before getting tired of it, having new hobbies and different things to look forward to is a great opportunity to occupy your time.[12]
  2. Travel.[13] Many people look forward to traveling in retirement. With unlimited vacation time, you'll have a chance to visit many places you never got to see during your working years. Try planning a few trips for your early years of retirement. Seek out places you've always wanted to visit, but never had the time.[14][15]
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    • Travel need not be expensive. If you're on a tight budget, a weekend trip to a nearby beach town or city can be great.[16]
    • However, if you do have the money, consider a more elaborate trip. Many retirees enjoy taking long cruises to see other parts of the world after retirement.
    • Joining the AARP can help you save money on hotels, car rentals, cruises, flights and other travel-related expenses, in addition to its many other benefits.
  3. Get involved in your community and do some volunteering work.[17] Community involvement can be a great way to feel happy or fulfilled in retirement. There were probably local organizations you always wanted to help out, but never had the time. Retirement is your chance to branch out and become a more active member of your community.[18]
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    • Choose community involvement that caters to your specific personality. If you're a lifelong animal lover, you may benefit from volunteering at a local shelter. If you love kids, get involved with the local children's library.
    • As with most aspects of retirement, it may take you some time to adjust to becoming a community member. It's okay to give yourself a few weeks, or months, to manage your emotions before getting involved.
  4. Join a cause. Is there a particular cause that inspires you? Maybe you always wanted to help with a local political party, but never felt you had the time. Retirement can be an invaluable opportunity for you to join a cause. Stress from retirement often stems from a lack of purpose or fulfillment. Working for change with people with common values is a great way for your life to feel meaningful. This can help you enjoy your retired years.[19]
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  5. Continue your education. Many retirees take retirement as a time to learn. If there's a subject you were always curious about, retirement can be the time to study that subject. You can get a library card and educate yourself, or you can take other approaches to furthering your education.[20]
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    • You can take some kind of classes in retirement.[21] Maybe you want to learn to play a particular musical instrument, for example, or learn an art form like drawing. Do not hesitate to look into local classes in your area.
    • You can also audit courses at local colleges. You may also be able to enroll, for a fee, in a course of your choosing. You can take classes on subjects that always interested you, but were never relevant to your field. If you were always fascinated by world history, but worked as an engineer, consider taking a history course at a local college.
  6. Accept occasional downtime. Many people feel compelled to fill their retired years with a constant influx of activity. This is not realistic, and can cause undue stress if you try to force it. As you've been working for decades, it's okay to give yourself downtime as well.[22]
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    • Allow yourself to sleep in a few days a week. Don't force yourself out of bed if you'd rather linger until noon or later.
    • Spend a few days a week just enjoying leisurely activities. Go for long walks. Read for pleasure. Have a meal at a nice restaurant. Do not worry about filling each and every day with activity. It's okay to embrace downtime now and again.

[Edit]Staying Social

  1. See friends regularly. As much of socializing happens at work, you may lose touch with some friends in retirement. It's important, however, that you work to stay social. Humans are social creatures by nature, and you'll need social support from friends and family members in retirement.[23][24]
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    • Work on maintaining connections from work. While you may not see work friends every day anymore, you can try to meet outside of work. Make a point of getting cocktails with friends from work a few times a month.
    • You can also try to make new friends. Many people feel their friend making years are over in retirement, but this is not the case. Traveling, volunteering, taking classes, and joining a senior community center can all help you make new friends.[25]
  2. Reach out to old friends. As time goes by, you tend to lose touch with certain people. Friends from college, high school, old jobs, and other places fall to the wayside. Take retirement as an opportunity to reconnect. It can be fun and fulfilling to spend time with forgotten friends.
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    • Try to call up an old friend on the phone, or write him or her a letter or e-mail. It may feel a bit awkward, especially if a lot of time as passed, but your friend will probably be happy to hear from you. People understand life gets in the way, and some friendships taper off.
    • Consider going to visit an old friend. You can take a trip to your hometown, for example, and see any friends that still live there. If you've been meaning to visit your old college roommate in Seattle for years, take your retirement as the chance to do so.
    • If your budget is tight, there's no need to worry about hosting some expensive dinner. Gathering your old friends and hosting a little potluck at your house can be fun for everyone![26]
    • A board game night with your friends can also be great fun.[27]
  3. Get on social media. Social media can help you stay connected during retirement. As you won't be going out for work, you may not have a chance to stay up-to-date on the lives of friends. Creating a Facebook account can help you stay close to those around you, and allow you to interact with others online. If you do not already have social media accounts, it's a good idea to make some in retirement.
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  4. Spend time with family. Retirement can be a great time to spend time with your family. Take a trip to visit out of state relatives. Offer to babysit your grandchildren. If you have older grandchildren, make time to call them each week.[28][29]
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    • Many retirees consider moving closer to family. If you'd like to stay close to your kids and grandchildren, you may want to consider getting a small home or apartment close by.



  • Your health is now more important than ever. Take good care of yourself. Eat health-promoting foods, and get lots of physical exercise (even if it's at a reduced pace.) Your retirement years will be much more pleasant if you sustain the health needed to participate fully in the activities you love.
  • Whenever possible, continue to do things for yourself. Do not rely on others unnecessarily, as that can cause resentment.[30]


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  12. [v162019_b01] 26 April 2022.
  13. [v162019_b01] 26 April 2022.
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  21. [v162019_b01] 26 April 2022.
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  27. [v162019_b01] 26 April 2022.
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  30. [v162019_b01] 26 April 2022.