As you get to know Don, you’ll soon discover that he's a meticulous planner. This is evident when he explains how he put a savings plan into place during his working career, to provide him with the income he would need to support his retirement. While Don may have had a good handle on the financial side of things, one thing he did overlook – at least initially – was just how he would make the best use of his new-found free time.
Here again, Don put his planning skills to work, and soon discovered there's a vast network of retirement activities available. Whether you prefer more laid-back pursuits like quiet dinners with a couple of close friends, or whether you’d rather meet up with a group of people for a night on the town, there are a number of organizations and groups dedicated to helping retirees keep an active social life once they step away from the workplace.
As the ranks of Canada’s seniors continue to grow, staying active and socially engaged will become even more critical in the coming years. With this in mind, here are several things that you might consider if you’re retired, or planning to retire in the near future.
Tips for keeping busy in retirement
Expand your travel horizons
This first tip may seem a bit obvious, as taking time to travel is probably the most common goal when people first retire. However, for many retirees, having extra time means travel plans can be extended beyond just a couple of weeks.
In fact, avoiding harsh Canadian winters by heading south is a longstanding Canadian retiree tradition! Check out the Canadian Snowbirds website for more information on winter getaways, and additional tips for keeping your expenses down.
If you do plan to spend a lot of time in the US or other winter destination, be sure to read our Oaken Blog piece on how spending time outside Canada could impact your benefits.
Take up a new hobby
Taking up a new hobby, or even returning to a hobby that you enjoyed earlier, is also a common goal for new retirees. Always wanted to learn to play an instrument, but just never had time? Well, there’s no need to put if off any longer. In fact, hobbies such as learning a new instrument can be an ideal pastime for older students.
Got something a little more active in mind? Getting out on the tennis court or golf course, for instance, is not only a great way to relax and enjoy the company of others. It’s also a fun way to get in a little exercise. Another benefit is that you can book your tee time or reserve a court during weekdays, so you can avoid the weekend crowds!
Start a business
You just left the workforce – why would you even think about starting your own business? Well, for those who always wanted to be their own boss but never had the chance to live their entrepreneurial dreams, what better time to start a new chapter where you get to call the shots. And calling the shots means you can also determine how much time you wish to dedicate to your new enterprise.
Consider also how the internet has impacted the business world, and that consumers are adopting online as a preferred means to interact with businesses. An online business offers many advantages over the more traditional business model, including lower start-up and operating costs, as well as the ability to market your product or service to a much wider audience.
Go back to school
A couple credits shy of a degree? Always wanted to take courses in gourmet cooking? Now that you’ve got the time, why not check out the opportunities for adult education in your area. Most community colleges offer continuing education courses covering a wide range of topics and interests.
Recent research suggests there are considerable health benefits to pursuing educational goals later in life. It’s also a great way to meet other people with shared interests. One of the things newly retired people often find is that their circle of friends and acquaintances revolves around workplace relationships. Attending classes gives you a chance to meet new people and build new friendships, making the transition to retirement a little less of an adjustment.
Speaking of going back to school, you can return to the academic life without becoming a student. After all, you have a lifetime of experiences that, as a teacher or mentor, you can share with younger people.
Contact your local community college to see about opportunities to serve as an instructor. If you belong to a professional association, there may be mentoring services available that can match you with a student or young worker that could benefit from your years of experience. Not only does this give you a chance to assist others, it also helps you stay actively involved in your profession.
For instance, Futurpreneur Canada is a non-profit organization that has helped young business owners become successful for over two decades. Futurpreneur provides financing and support, but also works with business experts to provide a mentoring network, and currently has over 3,000 volunteer mentors.
Start a blog
Younger workers often tend to think of retirement as a destination. But once you reach that milestone, you soon realize that retirement is actually just the beginning of a whole new adventure. Retirement is itself a journey, and chronicling this journey for others to experience with you can be very rewarding.
Contributing to a personal blog is a wonderful way to connect with friends and family, no matter how many miles may separate you. Keeping a journal like this is not for everyone, of course. But if you enjoy writing, and want to produce a narrative that you can share with others, starting a blog may be the ideal retirement project. Think of it as a modern version of a diary.