It’s Finally Time to Retire: Now What? Pursuing Passions in Your Golden Years

Baby boomers are entering a new stage, and it’s time to figure out how to get the most out of life now that your career is behind you.

I Hung My Hat: What Do I Do Now?

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Finally, it’s your turn to retire. You’ve been gifted a cake, a watch, and a card signed by all of your colleagues wishing you well in your next journey. But how do you know what that journey should look like?

Facing an Uncertain Future

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Especially if you’ve spent most of your life focusing on your career and your family, it might be unsettling to imagine your future. You’ve said goodbye to your nine-to-five. The kids are grown and have families of their own.

Next Steps

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So, where does that leave you? How do you decide how to spend your time now that your days are your own? As cliche as it might sound, the answer is simple. You follow your heart.

When It’s Time to Focus on Yourself

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In less poetic terms, the idea is to find what you love doing and go from there. You have the rest of your life ahead of you, and ideally, you’ll get to enjoy every minute of it. 

Is Retirement Really a Long Vacation?

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Many people imagine retirement as one long, relaxing vacation. It can feel like that, but it’s important that you find ways to be active and engaged in fulfilling activities. Otherwise, you might find yourself lacking purpose and enjoyment.

36% of Retirees Still Find Employment

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Plenty of retirees find that after they quit working, they don’t enjoy being home permanently as much as they’d thought. According to one study, 36% of retirees planned to work part-time after closing the door on their careers.

Creativity in the Golden Years

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Others start their own businesses, selling crafts, creating artwork, or otherwise monetizing a hobby they enjoy. This is a great way to bring in a little extra cash when the retirement checks aren’t quite cutting it.

26% of American Retirees Spend Time Volunteering

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Over a quarter of American retirees volunteer in some capacity. Whether it’s a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, animal rescue, or other organization, there are tons of non-profit groups that are in desperate need of extra hands. With decades of work experience and a ton of newfound free time, retirees are an excellent choice for filling those needs.

Why It Makes Sense to Travel Now

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After years of hard work and very few breaks, people entering their golden years find that it’s a brilliant time to start traveling. Many resorts, cruise lines, and even some airlines offer senior discounts, making travel more accessible to folks of a certain age. 

Cost Benefits of Traveling While Retired

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Often, vacation destinations offer senior packages designed specifically for retirees, which are a fun way to meet others in similar phases of their lives.

Back to Your Roots

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Investing in time with family is a fulfilling way to spend retirement years. Close to two-thirds of grandparents today provide childcare for their grandchildren, even part-time, to allow their children to work or have free time. 

Who Will Take On Your Legacy?

Feeding a Large Family
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These arrangements create ample bonding opportunities. There’s never been a better time to pass down a favorite recipe or teach a new generation to play chess.

2.25 Million Retirees in America

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There are roughly 2.25 million retirees in the United States, accounting for almost 1% of the population. Within that community are groups built on shared interests, goals, and hobbies. 

Leveraging Social Media to Find Community

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Social media has become a valued tool in connecting baby boomers to one another, providing the ability to bring people together based on locality and then interests. You can (and should) utilize it to find groups of like-minded people who share a love for the things you do.

Shifting Your Priorities

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At the end of the day, your happiness is the most important thing you should pursue in retirement. If you enjoy working and interacting with the public and have a passion for history, then perhaps giving tours at a museum would be a fulfilling way to spend your time. Whatever it is, if it makes you happy and doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s worth exploring.

Endless Opportunities

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Go fishing, take up knitting, take your grandkids on a cruise, or cook meals for the unhoused population in your city — at this exciting new phase of your life, the world is your oyster. 

20% of Retirees Face Mental Health Struggles

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The CDC estimates that around 20% of retirees over age 55 struggle with some form of mental illness. Isolation compounds depression, and it’s very important to surround yourself with people and activities you love. 

Support Is Available

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If you do find yourself needing more support, you’re not alone. Call 988 if you need someone to talk with regarding a mental health concern. While this phase should be a happy and thrilling time, change is never easy.

Finding Your New Normal

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As you embark on a new adventure, you may find that the world looks different to you now. Once you’re free to do what you wish with your time, opportunities will open up all around you. You just have to know where to look.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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