What Do Baby Boomer Retirees Do All Day – Anyway?

Category: Work and Volunteering

September 10, 2013 — It’s one of the first questions you will probably get as a new retiree – what will you do all day?  A new study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has some of the answers, which include …  more time on many of the things you do already, but less time on some activities that you might not have enjoyed that much anyway. The Bureau’s American Time Use Survey was the focus of today’s New York Times article – “Americans at Leisure, or Still at Work“. We will highlight some of the key findings of this and some other recent studies. (The Times Retirement section also has several other worthwhile articles, including ones on the Senior Discount, Annuities, and Starting a Business).

Work – or Play?
One of the survey’s most interesting findings is that more people today over 65 are working. A decade ago 13.9% of those over 65 were in the workforce, today that is up 18.7%. Some 20% of Americans aged 70-74 are working, which declines to 7.5% for those 75 and older. Those who do work typically spend just over 6 hours a day on the job. Another study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found a similar increase – the % of men aged 60-74 who were either in the workforce or looking for work increased from 33% in 1993 to 44% in 2010. Researchers give several possible reasons for the increase: smaller pensions, continued family responsibilities, and longer lifetimes. Increased education and demand for the skills of older workers are additional reasons.

Surprisingly: Only 1.6% of Americans over 65 play golf regularly

Surprising Fact: Only 1.6% of Americans over 65 play golf regularly

People over 65 definitely have more fun than younger people – or at least they get to spend more time on fun things. They spend a little more time sleeping and eating and drinking. The same goes for sports, exercise, and walking. They are have significantly more time for household activities such as housework, pets, and gardening. But when it comes to socializing, relaxing, and leisure – older Americans really have it better – they have almost 3 hours more for those activities than younger people 25-34. Older Americans spend an average of 4 hours and 40 minutes a day watching TV and movies at home, about an hour and a half longer than the younger set. Older folks are also more likely to read for leisure – 43% say they regularly read for personal interest, about 2 hours a day on average. Only 15% of the 25-54 cohort regularly read for enjoyment.


What older folks do less of
Even though many a baby boomer is sandwiched – that is they care for aging parents and children or grandchildren who need help – there is a big drop in the amount of time folks 65 and over use for taking care of others. And somewhat oddly, older people travel less than young ones, although part of that is no longer have the need for business travel.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia and Momiji?

Photo courtesy of wikipedia and Momiji?

More Time and Longer Lives
The latest longevity statistics are a bit eye-popping. Men who live to age 65 have an average life expectancy of 17.8 years, while women have 20.4 more. That contributes to the unbalanced gender demographics that exist in old age – for every 100 men over age 65, there are 131 women. While 45% of women at 65 are older are married, 72% of men are married.

Money Helps
Does money make you happy? Apparently it does, at least according to a Towers Watson survey. Of those with a nest egg of more than $500,000, 65% were satisfied with retirement. That compares to 55% for those with $150,000 to $500,000, and just 38% with nest eggs less than $150,000.

For further Reading
Can Educational Attainment Explain Higher Labor Force Participation Among Older Ages
Why Interning at Age 60 is the New Retirement Plan

Comments? Are you working, or want to work? If so, what is your primary motivation? What do you do for fun – is it different than when you were younger? And also, what do you do less of now that you are retired? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the Comments below.

Posted by Admin on September 10th, 2013

52 Comments »

  1. OK, I will start this thread off.

    After “retiring” 3 times, I think it has finally stuck!
    Where does the time go each day? During the summer months, Two mornings a week, I work at a local golf course pro shop, welcoming golfers and taking green fees, etc. Although this only pays $8 an hour, I also get to play all the golf I want, including cart and range balls. This is like getting a free membership.
    We have a 1968 Datsun roadster that I am restoring and we enjoy taking rides in. We both have Ipads, and we probably spend too much time in a day on, playing games with friends, checking emails and facebook, and generally online surfing for whatever. We enjoy watching our two grandsons once a week or so.
    We enjoying traveling. In the winter months we escape to warmer climates. Last year we spent Jan in Orlando and Feb in Myrtle Beach. This year we are opting for two months in Orlando where my daughter lives. With us both being retired, i recieve a pension, we both take social security, and pull some out of our Ira’s. I feel very fortunate and blessed with our life now.

    by Bill — September 11, 2013

  2. I retired from my full-time college professorship in 2008 but went right back to work as a writer. I’m retiring again in October 2013 because I feel that it is finally time to smell the roses while I still can. I’m going to try not to work at all. I say “try” because I will probably work at writing a book. My husband is fully retired. He fishes, takes care of our home, helps me around the house when I work, sees friends, and enjoys his life. I hope to do the same things. I’m a big reader and writer. I do crewel embroidery and enjoy my new Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy. I walk and bike for exercise. We want to travel some and usually spend a month or two in the winter in Florida. We have pensions and social security along with small IRAs. My pension is excellent. We feel lucky. We won’t be rich in retirement, but if we are careful, we can be comfortable. We wonder if we’ll be the last generation we CAN retire?

    by Rosemary — September 11, 2013

  3. Well, we entertain and are entertained. During summer we spend time with our grand kids either at our home or taking them with us on short excursions. We travel to Disneyworld, the West Coast, the Northeast, New England and Canada -by car. We love travelling this way because we stop at various interesting towns and cities along the way from our Houston home. My husband golfs from time to time and he also works part time a couple of days a week in the winter months. I like to visit resale and antique shops and every year we sell our extra stuff at a giant community flea market. I do volunteer work and some mentoring. As well, I read voraciously and love my iPad and am checking e-mail and FB to touch base with friends around the world. We look forward to visits from and hosting friends from abroad. I’ve even been known to visit the Y for the odd exercise class. 🙂 I also get involved when Major elections roll around. We read our newspapers daily and keep track of goings on here and around the world. We’re fortunate to be healthy and have enough pension money to enjoy our retirement and we know we’re very fortunate. Life is great! Loving retirement!

    by Sheila — September 11, 2013

  4. I retired from a Fortune 200 company in August 2006, my wife retired from teaching in June 2007. After 2 years we moved to my boyhood hometown in northern Michigan. I had taught snow skiing in my college years so my retirement job the first 2 years was teaching skiing full time in Utah. I have since just taught part time in northern Michigan and we spend a month or so in Colorado skiing for fun. When the weather cooperates we golf 2-4 times a week, play pickleball, boat on our lake and work in the garden or around the house. I have also gotten active in woodworking and volunteer at a food bank (not enough). We have traveled in Europe every fall for about 3 weeks, usually a week of which is on a bike tour. As others have stated we spend too much time on the PC surfing, emailing, etc. I have not missed work from day one. Time in large corporation jobs is measured in dog years -I spent over 40 years on the job in my 30 some years of work. I do not lack for things to do and value the time I can now spend with friends and recreating. Life is good as long as we have our health.

    by Fred — September 11, 2013

  5. Great to hear all these inspiring stories, I am 61 and counting to 65 when I am hanging it up. Buying an RV to see Kids and Grandkids who are strung out all across the country from East Coast to West. Thanks for sharing folks.

    by Tom — September 11, 2013

  6. Retirement has been an evolving process over two years. We are currently driving home after purchasing a small second home at Del Webb in San Antonio. We will change from Wisconsin state residency to Texas to save money. We have downsized and gotten rid of a lot of stuff. We had custody of our 4 year old granddaughter for two months when her parents had trouble. We both enjoy teaching part-time at a universities. Giving that up has been the most difficult. We are both 65ish. We may continue to teach a little in the summer. You don’t get paid much but is a good challenge.

    by susan — September 11, 2013

  7. We also spent 3 weeks in Africa last year and 3 weeks going around the horn of S. America and to Antarctica. We wonder if we will find actually slowing down to be difficult/ unpleasant.

    by susan — September 11, 2013

  8. I retired almost two years ago at age 67 partly due to a mild cognitive disability, which caused poor performance. Seven months later a car backed 20 feet into my apartment, destroying nearly everything. I lived in a hotel for three months (no joy there) while I put my place back together. I have used my income to travel though, and am considering moving to the East coast, which is an almost terrifying change for me. I am single, so my decisions are compounded by lack of input from family. The biggest–and hardest–impact is not having structure in my life. I terribly miss getting up and heading out for the day. My closet is full of clothes that remind me of my former life.
    All in all, retirement is not fulfilling for me.:cry:

    by barbara — September 11, 2013

  9. We retired to a small village in Spain about 4 years ago. Bought a house and have been fixing it up slowly (nearly finished). My husband spends much of his day on-line taking care of our investments and finances. I do all the housekeeping, cooking, etc. We have been learning Spanish and spend most evenings socializing with neighbors. This summer, for the first time, I taught English conversation to four college students – it was so rewarding I plan to give more classes this winter. We explore our region by car and on foot. Only spend a few minutes each day on e-mail and FB. It’s a good life. We feel very lucky.

    by i graham — September 11, 2013

  10. I am getting ready to retire this Jan. my one question I do not seem to see a answer for is how much money do you need after retirement compaired to before. What % of your before salary do you need in retirement.

    by james stewart — September 11, 2013

  11. I have learned retirement is a journey not a destination. I did not qualify for full Social Security benefits until this year, 2013, but found myself not working in 2008 because of the economy. I was fortunate to have some resources but life changed dramatically – we adjusted. I lost my corporate job in 1998 and had worked as an independent engineering consultant until 2008. I was able to find short projects from time to time but there was no work for the past couple years. Until 2011, my father-in-law lived with us after my mother-in-law passed away. He was a stroke victim and needed family caregiving. Until he passed away, we were limited in what we could do but we could get away a few times. We did some traveling – bucket list places on a budget. We also visit our kids in other states from time to time. Now we’re fixing up our home and trying to decide where we want to live next. It’s fun to explore new places. We find our ideas from not too long ago don’t make sense any more. The journey is the adventure and fun for now.

    by John — September 11, 2013

  12. Planning on retiring at end of year but nervous about it. I am alone and my retirement is adequate bur certainly not as high as what some of you have. Traveling would be nice but very limited. I would like to move but not sure if I can afford that. It would be nice to hear from people out there that are in the same position as I am. I can’t imagine that all baby boomers have such great retirement funds. We are the generation of divorce and wages that were not that great. I have no family support and no spouse to do things with and am not wealthy. What do you people do for retirement? Oh, to Barbara, I know the feeling and hope things go well for you. I am hoping people will respond to this. I’m looking forward to reading your replies.

    by Sandra — September 11, 2013

  13. This requires BIG planning! Have read eleven books about this question. ( the best one is Master Class by Peter Spiers with forward by Brian Williams). Unless you have an arsenal of hobbies, we all need a sense of purposefulness, exercise, socialization, and something to do with our curiosities. So, where to find all of that? OSHER Institutes will be super but check out the depth of their course offerings…they vary widely. Cannot travel eternally…. Snow birding will help us as a couple, some in town living, some lakes and woods. We are talking and visiting places, and remain very confused–but at a higher level! Good luck to all.. There are no magic answers

    by E's Mcconnell — September 11, 2013

  14. I am a single woman with a limited income. I am highly educated and was divorced when my 3 children were small(before the time when people knew a divorced woman needed support). I have no intention of being miserable for the rest of my life. I am very healthy and with intention stay so by walking an hour a day, eating very healthy food and meditating daily…it keeps things in balance. I still teach part time and do wonderful things on the cheap…hiking, camping, traveling, concerts, and reading like a maniac. When I stop teaching I plan to open a small business selling things I make. To paraphrase Mary Oliver…you don’t have to be married with money to love this earth. Elizabeth

    by J Elizabeth Wallace — September 11, 2013

  15. Retirement for my husband and me is nothing like we thought it would be. We had planned to travel and were considering relocation. But now, with a still-living, widowed mother at 97, who refused to leave her home, travel is limited. And, of course, our funds have been drastically diminished in this financial debacle. We both are 70 and out of the workplace. Fortunately, we are practicing artists and are gratified by creating our work. But like someone said, it’s a journey, and it just keeps changing. You have to stay flexible.

    by Jane — September 11, 2013

  16. Barbara, I can relate its been not quite 2 years since I retired. I really missed the comradeship of colleagues. I started a part time job within a month.I started back sewing then decided to market online. I exercise,take walks,read,write,meditate attend church,volunteer,check out CASA for volunteer opportunities. This is the time to reinvent yourself. Things you’ve always wanted to do or try.I’m even going back to school to prepare for career in
    a a field I’ve always wanted to pursue. Find your passion,now is the time to do what you’ve always wanted to do.

    by Karla — September 11, 2013

  17. I’ve been retired now for 2 yrs and at 68, I’m feeling good. I left work almost on a moments notice. I have no regrets and no problems finding things to do. I manage to squirrel away a comfortable nest egg and am hoping to get as close to outliving it as I can:???::???: I now live at a lower but comfortable living standard and am enjoying every minute. I have convinced myself that there is nothing to fear or be ashamed of. Life is too short to not enjoy! I’m going to do my best.:smile:

    by Rick D — September 11, 2013

  18. I’m in a similar situation to Sandra. I actually planned to retire this year when I turned 66, however, after a visit to my financial planner, it was decided that I needed to work at least 1 more year. So I continue to work as an RN but I’m planning on retiring next year and am really looking forward to it. Financially my income will drop by about 50%, so I am planning on leaving CA for AZ where the cost of living is less expensive. I have many ideas for how I want to spend my time e.g., working on dog training, hiking, reading. I am planning on moving to an active adult community next year because as a single person, I think they offer the best opportunities for socializing.

    by Liz — September 11, 2013

  19. James Stewart: “What % of your before salary do you need in retirement.”

    James, if someone tells you there is a magic percentage of pre-retirement salary that you need, then they are the wrong person to talk to. Instead, start figuring out what your costs will be, and what you need in terms of savings and unearned income to get there. If you are willing to spend less in retirement, you get there faster, but don’t forget to add in an annual buffer, emergency savings if you will. The important number isn’t so much what you make while you work, but what you keep after expenses. We haven’t raised our standard of living in over 20 years, and will be retiring with an income of less than 30% of working income. Conventional “wisdom” says 70-100% is required. Listening to that would have us dying behind our desks.

    by Julie — September 12, 2013

  20. I retired one year ago after 33 years of teaching elementary school. I sleep later, stay up past 9 pm, and travel when I want to instead of during school holidays! My husband still works and is planning to continue doing so for three more years – we are in early 60’s. Yes, our income is less but the quality of every single day is relished by me and I can’t wait to share the gift of time with my husband when he says “it’s time” like I did last year! In the meantime, my dog and I are going for a week on the beach!

    by SandraZ — September 12, 2013

  21. TO I GRAHAM
    where in spain did you retire? how was the red tape when purchasing a home..how much were rentals? how did you reach permanent resident status?:smile:

    by josiane — September 12, 2013

  22. I really enjoy the freedom of being retired. We worked hard most of our lives for different things, but now for me the biggest joy in retirement is freedom from the “bosses”, anything else is gravey. Biggest tip I can offer is get rid of as much accumulated stuff as you can and do not buy more stuff unless absolutely necessary. Having to maintain stuff can become like another boss trying to run your life.

    by Bob — September 12, 2013

  23. With any luck, I will be retiring next year at age 59 and single. My hope is to move into an active adult community and I have been looking at quite few. I hope to volunteer at a hospital and local animal shelter. I am an avid reader and hope to be able to spend more time doing that. Finding a community that has daily activities, maybe some travel, exercise classes, community service opportunities etc is what I am looking for. I feel blessed that I may be able to reach my goal in another year and would like to embrace retirement while my health is still ok.

    by kathy — September 12, 2013

  24. Retirement has been a series of misfortunes thus far. We planned and work hard for financial stability in retirement for 10 years. We had visions of what it would be like – all sort of fantasy-like. I ended up having to have chemo for a year and the aftermath was devastating and it took at least 18-24 months to feel human again. Then my spouse got involved in a traffic accident that required several surgeries and it was life changing for him. We struggled mightily with a decision we made to relocate after living in one place for 40 years. We went thru with the move only to find that it was all quite overwhelming. Too much, too fast. We maintained two households for 3 years. It took that long to finally feel emotionally okay with permanently leaving “home” and relocating to a totally new area. We moved into the country and w/o old friends, young kids, work or any other attachments or connections, we felt very lonely. After selling our primary home and finding some resolution with our medical issues, we are finally finding some joy in retirement – but it’s been 3+ years!!! More than anything, the difficulty I find is that my husbands personality seems to have totally changed from what I knew it to be. He stopped behaving in a respectful manner, he was controlling and treated me like a subordinate and/or a child. He would not relinquish the steering wheel and refused to let me drive so I became a constant passenger rather than the independent woman I had always been. Only now are we finding friends and that has been and continues to be a painfully SLOW process. Life has been very lonely. I find that I am far more at ease with just existing whereas my spouse is more comfortable with a regimented life and pays too much attention to the time of day and seems to still seek structure. He seems lost without it. We prepared financially for retirement BUT we did not have a clue how to prepare for the emotional and/or medical issues that we were faced with. Many times we thought our marriage would end in divorce. We have renewed hope that things will continue to improve but I would caution people who are preparing for retirement to take into consideration all the other aspects of retirement that will affect them. It is difficult to envision the personality, emotional and psychological changes that might occur in each other post retirement. Good luck and happy wishes to all.

    by Beth — September 12, 2013

  25. I took early retirement in 2005. Two years later I invested in what I thought was a reliable company and…it was a Ponzi scheme. Half of my retirement money was stolen. Then I lost more in the market and housing crash of 2008. The people who stole my money are going to jail but that doesn’t help me. So…starting over in your 60s. Not easy. I went to work for state of ny for 3 years, then I quit that. Now I work part time at a bookkeeping job. But I don’t like it. So I’m still searching. I start getting my social security this month, and I hope that will help. So for me retirement hasn’t really been retirement yet, just struggle. Having said that, I have no concern at all about what to so. I have so many interests…my issue is finding enough time. So here is an example: I would like to spend at least an hour a day in active exercise, and another hour in meditation, journaling and other introspective things. I’d like to spend more time shopping and cooking so that I always eat really healthy, fresh, tasty food. I would like to continue some sort of work about 15 or 20 hours a week. I have a dog mi walk, train, play with. I have friends I don’t see often enough. I have Internet friends to play games with and stay on touch. I also like to keep up on the news. Love to read. Love to travel. Want to get involved in causes that matter to me, not sure of what my involvement might be. I like to take classes, both online and in person. I like movies. I hope to move to a community that has community activities and a place where I can make friends among my neighbors. I might start a blog. This is not going to be a different life, it is just a new phase. Hopefully the best one. Believe it or not, with all the problems I have had, I’m still having fun and meeting fascinating new friends. I think it is all an attitude thing. Life is what you make it.

    by Ginger — September 12, 2013

  26. Beth: “More than anything, the difficulty I find is that my husbands personality seems to have totally changed from what I knew it to be. He stopped behaving in a respectful manner, he was controlling and treated me like a subordinate and/or a child. ”

    Beth, I am sorry you experienced this. I don’t know if it helps to know, but you are not alone in this experience. Retirement can be a huge adjustment for the working person, particularly men who managed others on the job, or had any sort of power. I remember when the company I worked for had forced early retirements, it came with couples counseling to deal with this very issue.

    We are still a couple of years away from pulling the retirement trigger, spending as much time talking about what to do in retirement as where to live or how to pay for it. DH will get rid of a job (that is killing him,) and I will finally get my husband back. I would be lying if I said there was no trepidation about that change, after decades of living in parallel. He wants to do volunteer work, but I fear that will just be another unpaid job. Moderation and balance is not his strength.

    You were very brave to bring up the subject. Hopefully it will help some couples think through the separation blues that their spouse can have on leaving a career, help them plan for it, or at least understand what they are going through. Administrator, an article on planning or dealing with post-retirement relationships could be very worthwhile. For the most part we have been fed the fairy tale that retirement is Nirvana, and you’ve done a great job dealing with many aspects that make people think about the reality, but this could be an area that could use attention.

    by Julie — September 13, 2013

  27. DianaF I forgot to ask you how the medical care is in the area? We are assuming that was one of your requirements having access to good health care? When we get into our 60’s having good medical services becomes a major concern. We would hate to drive a hour or more to see a good doctor, hospital etc. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help!

    by Skip — September 13, 2013

  28. So many people want to volunteer work. Unfortunately, many organizations have the attitude that time people can give away has no value. Have yet to find a volunteer opportunity that is more than free menial labor.

    by Sandie — September 13, 2013

  29. I am retiring in 12 months. My husband is 8 yrs. older than me so he has been retired for a while. I am much more social than he is. We are considering moving from the Northeast to Florida. The active retirement communities seem like they will be the answer for my social activities once I do retire. My concern is whether or not my husband will actually take part in the activities. We discuss it and that is my hope but I also know his personality. He is friendly once he gets to know someone but he does not hang out with other male friends and just stays home or runs errands while I work. Has anyone else experienced this? We plan to downsize so we can travel more and not be tied to taking care of our home and property.

    by Shirley — September 14, 2013

  30. Hi,

    What amazing stories! And all are so varied!

    I retired about 18months ago at 65. But it was about a year earlier than I had intended. That year was exceedingly lean and I was still “running on the treadmill”. It took 12 months just to slow down and accept the change and redefine myself. I spent most of my time cleaning out, downsizing and figuring out how to become as thrifty as possible. Oh, and I pursued the part-time work that had been part of my original plan. It took 15 months to develop that plan but it finally paid off earlier this year. I now work full-time, for 3 months of the year and take off the rest. The additional income eases the shift, means I have less time to spend money and keeps me in the loop. I just hope it holds throught the next 3 to 5 years.

    I did learn that this is definitely a journey. At age 30, could you know where you would be, what you would have experienced by age 50? No, of course not. So don’t be too hard on yourself for not knowing where you will be at 85 if you retire at 65! The best you can do is pick a direction, be sensible, and be open to the possibilities. If you need to make and adjustment, do so! Nothing is written in stone.
    The only thing that is significantly different is that you are not defined by work. So think outside that box!

    So far so good with my plan. But as I go along, I am finding other things I want to do. These are things I never would have thought about before retirement. I sell VIntage stuff on e-Bay and am very good at it. If you had told me that two years ago, I would have laughed! I have also discovered that I have an appetite for adventure and challenge. And if I satisfy that, I am good for whatever else I need to do.

    Be happy and enjoy whatever comes your way!

    by Lulu — September 15, 2013

  31. In reading about the challenges of what to do with all that extra time when you are retired helped me to make my decision. So many told me with that extra time they found they spent more than their budget allowed. Decided to start visiting Del Webb communities. I looked at all there was to do, all the different clubs within the community. We bought at Del Webb’s Festival located just outside of Surprise, AZ. Retire in 11 months and looking forward to a physically and mentally active lifestye with all there is to do their. I recommend that folks check out those “active adult communities”. Looking so forward to retirement after 30 years in public service.

    by Billy Bap- AZ Bound — September 15, 2013

  32. As others have said, retirement is an adjustment but I would like to share one thing I have learned. I retired 4 years ago at age 62 and stayed in my townhouse in NY. I am a widow with many interests and I thought that would be all I needed but I soon learned without structure the days rolled by and I seemed to always decide to do an interest “later”. Then I went on vacation with a friend to Florida and wound up in The Villages. I had always questioned the “active adult communitiy” lifestyle but the amount of activities and clubs was what I needed to “get started” enjoying this phase of my life. I decided to buy a house and still keep a small place in NY to visit family and friends. Now I am selling the place in NY and staying in Florida permanently. I have found the connection with others really helps to give you the “boost” to really do your interests and explore new things. Being single has not been a problem here and at home in NY I was beginning to feel “invisible”. I use Skype to stay connected with family between visits and its great with the grandkids…I can “see” every art project, costume, etc.! There are active adult communities everywhere and I encourage everyone not to judge them until you experience them…it was the best thing I ever did for myself!

    by Char — September 16, 2013

  33. Char I totally agree with you regarding retirement communities for active adults. And another plus is as we get older you don’t even have to leave the community because of all the amenities on site! We are looking in the Myrtle Beach area and hope to relocate in the next three years! Can’t wait for that day to come.

    by Skip — September 17, 2013

  34. To Char, This was our exact impression of the villages when we visited last March. We feel that we would not be sitting around in retirement moving to the villages. Plan to retire there when we can (about 5 years). We plan to visit Florida again in 2014 to confirm our decision. Look all the time at different retirement communities online and the villages has the WOW factor for us. Our children are telling us to do it (we currently live in Maryland) because they say when then can retire they want to enjoy life too. I don’t want to sit in my home when I retire waiting for my family to visit. They have their own lives and between jobs and raising a family a trip for them to visit us in Florida would be great. Maryland is not tax friendly for retirees and after attending a retirement class last fall it was brought to our attention how much retirement income we would be paying to Maryland vs Florida.

    by Vickie — September 17, 2013

  35. Char – Your posting really hit home. There were many similarities with my own situation. I expect to be retiring around 62 too, and am also a widow. I had been thinking of staying near my current home, but your insights were very helpful. I plan on being more open minded about 55+ communities. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    by Sharon — September 18, 2013

  36. Shirley: My Dad moved to FL with a much younger wife a few years ago, into Top of the World in Clearwater. She was much more social than him. He eventually joined a few clubs. She joined many more clubs, went swimming, tried line-dancing and other activities, and had a large network of girlfriends. He enjoyed hearing her stories when she returned from her activities, but was happy with quieter activities like reading, taking walks or managing investments on the internet. They enjoyed some activities as a couple, but each of them also had separate interests. It worked out great for both of them, and when he passed away she had a network of supportive friends in the community.

    by Sharon — September 18, 2013

  37. Awesome input from everyone! Great issues raised,some heart breaking.
    We are winding down for both of us to be retired by March 2014. We’ve planned and talked and dreamed and now it is becoming a reality – for me that reality is getting a little scarey. For my DH it is not. I will be 67 (he will be 66) and for 50 years working has been part of my identity, a constant to grab onto when things go haywire or become overwhelming, a lifeline. I am starting to wonder what I’ll do with myself once the closets are cleaned out and the gardens are spruced up and we’ve yard saled all the excess stuff in the attic. To keep these thoughts from getting out of perspective, I hang on to some great advice someone gave me – don’t try to plan for more than the next 10 years. As was already mentioned, no one can begin to know with any certainty what will happen or what their life will be like 30 years from now, but 10 years is a bit more manageable. So that is part of how I am dealing with all the choices and variables that are ahead. Whatever I choose to do or wherever I choose to live, I’m looking at it as a first step – a 10yr step – to be followed by a second 10 year step that I’ll be better able to prepare for once I see where the first 10 years is taking me. So right now, we’ve decided not to jump into any major moves until we spend at least a year or two in retirement. We figure it will take us that long just to adjust to the idea of not going to work every day. We are healthy and intend to actively pursue staying that way. We will have sufficient income from SS, modest investments & a pension that we should be able to keep our savings principal intact for at least the first 10 years. I would like to spend some serious time the next two years experiencing life in a few coastal SC areas and maybe Palm Coast area in FL. Feedback on both would be welcomed.

    by Genie — September 19, 2013

  38. I retired in January 2013 and the only plans I had were to not set an alarm clock ever again. I am a 55 year old widow and have a pension and IRA. I knew I wanted to stay active with volunteer work. One of the first places I volunteered was at an animal shelter. I love animals, especially dogs, and felt that if I helped with walking, socializing and training homeless dogs, that I would be helping them find their forever homes. Well, the dogs were wonderful to work with but sadly the employees at the animal shelter were indifferent towards their volunteers. They never talked to me, they barely acknowledged me whenever I was at the shelter. I was very disillusioned so I stopped volunteering there. Now I’m looking for other animal shelters who appreciate their volunteers. I don’t know why if you are donating your time, you get treated with so much indifference.
    As for my finances, I created a budget that allows me to save money for travel, my favorite “hobby”. For me, the key to enjoying my retirement is learning what is important and what is fluff, making compromises and having gratitude for what I have. I can’t have all the things I used to be able to buy when I was working full time. So, I go out to dinner a little less often, I don’t make impulse purchases and most importantly, I am trying to take really good care of my body so that I can enjoy myself.

    by Grace — September 28, 2013

  39. What do retirees do? They deliver Meals on Wheels, they volunteer at the
    hospital, they serve on community boards and run fund raisers. Many babysit grandchildren. I am sorry about the negative experiences some readers have had with volunteering. I always thought I contributed to society more as a volunteer because my paid jobs were mundane. Volunteers usually meet with like minded adults for stimulating conversation. We are free to speak out when not constrained by fear of losing our jobs.

    I definitely recommend retiring gradually. Going from a full time demanding job to total leisure is not wise. But consider hav ing a leisurely breakfast and reading the paper and starting volunteer or paid work at 10am. Be sure to plan something active, then take a nap if you like. I appreciate not always being in a rush and find that as I age, it takes me longer to do tasks. I mow my own lawn instead of having someone do it, but it may take me
    parts of three days. I prefer this to going to a gym. Luncheon dates or meetings can last longer than 30 or 60 minutes. I am not much for games, whether golf or card games, but some enjoy them. There are many organizations which depend on volunteers and doing things to help other people certainly diminishes any discontents you may have in your life.

    Share and enjoy!

    by Moving South — October 14, 2013

  40. Practice, practice, practice. My wife and I have a very good idea what our disposable income will be when we retire in 2 years. We are now “practicing” in living the lifestyle that projected income will provide. Not only will that better prepare us for the lifestyle change one of the byproducts is a higher percentage of our current income going into savings.

    by Dave J — October 25, 2013

  41. Im going to be 52 in a couple months, my wife is 55. I want to leave my job in a couple years when we’re done paying for college tuition. WE have a good 401K acct so I want to do the SEPP early withdrawals and get a part time job doing easy duty.. I want to move to northern FL to save on taxes, good weather, etc. I like to record music, sing in chorus, volunteer … maybe in the church, be an activist for peace and govt following the the constitution. Walk, jog, bike, swim, play tennis, watch birds, learn to sail, fish. drink a little when I feel like it (while not driving of course),sleep till 9am, etc.
    Oh My God….you dont know how much I dream of leaving my dismal job… driving for hours each day between accounts….servicing messy, dirty foam packaging machines with the added pressure to sell added on … and the winters up here in MASS-A-Snow-setts UGH. I just worry that my wife will miss the kids, her job in the church and her friends in town. Should I feel guilty if I dont??? I still love them, but there are ways of staying in touch>> Right?? PLease someone agree with me!! Cant wait to start living life for “US” again. I have sacrificed for and supported four challenging kids and stayed married, who can say that anymore? I still believe in God/Jesus too… after many a struggle with my little demons due to job stress induced unhappiness. I am a much better person when not overloaded with the insane stress. I can guarantee my wife I will not suffer from post working blues and will treat her like a princess again. I just hope there is a such a time and place on the near horizon for us both. Life can throw you a wrench sometimes (dont I know about wrenches) We deserve some good relaxing times like all you folks so I can live to be at least 70. Good luck and God Bless to all on this post.

    by James — November 7, 2013

  42. James – you will be able to do all the things you long for. Two years will go by fast. You must communicate with your wife so that she understands how much you look forward to the next phase of your lives.
    And yes, with emails, Skype and visits, you two will be able to stay in touch with your kids and your friends. Go for it! Best of luck!

    by Lana h — November 8, 2013

  43. Thanks Lana for the encouragement. I just get a little hyped up sometimes…my parents never explained how long and hard it is to work for 30 years and raise a family in difficult times. I guess even though I tell my kids that, what good would it do, you must face your life and deal with it or change it for the better, if possible. I just want to be in a good mood and enjoy life most of the time. I see my 22 year old son already struggling with this, he just got a job after graduating college but its not in his field he wants and he is depressed, very pessimistic, no girlfriend yet, etc. I feel bad for him and other young people in general, knowing what they face especially with our crappy govt bankrupting the country and society teetering on the edge. I’d like to help them through it, but need time to heal myself>>> Funny how life seems either too hectic or too quiet depending on your situation, age and health. I have an 85 year old widowed mother in law who sits in her house waiting for company to arrive and she complains when we dont see her more often being over an hour away. My wife says shoot me if I ever get like that (lol)! I had a handicapped brother who we helped out as much as possible. He couldnt work at all and lived in a nursing home until he passed at 42. I cant figure this life out, why God puts some people in sad and difficult situations and others just breeze along with no worries or cares. I want feel the breeze and experience a life of ease for a while… Take care !

    by James — November 8, 2013

  44. James, your wife probably has no idea how you feel because her situation is different than yours. She is the mom and worries about family. You see yourself as the provider and worry about providing. Please put down your burden as soon as you can and go someplace warm! You have earned it.

    by Ginger — November 8, 2013

  45. James, I think most people have demons to face. Life is not a breeze for most of us. I am 63, and have two adult children, 33 and 31. I feel bad for young people today. I also believe their future will be difficult, a lot more so than for us baby boomers. The country and society have changed so much.

    I also believe baby boomers have dealt with a lot: Helping adult children that are struggling with the most dismal economy that I have seen in my lifetime. Also, dealing with elder parents that are struggling with health and financial issues.

    So I definitely believe that us boomers deserve to have some fun before we exit this world. So I would say, go for it, and have a blast. Life goes by so fast.

    by Bubbajog — November 8, 2013

  46. @James I hardly think society is teetering on the edge. I think everyone has struggles but deal wit things differently. Many people see no reason to share these struggles with others.

    by easilyamused — November 8, 2013

  47. I am starting a new job next week with the County Dept. of Aging learning how to help seniors and the disabled who are homebound who may need volunteer services. This job will teach me how to transition to retirement, what is available for seniors as their health changes. The Dept. of Aging has lots of volunteer opportunities to help those individuals who want some home visits to play games, socialize, etc. This is such an opportunity for me to find out what to do and what not to do upon retirement. At age 57, I hope to retire at age 66 and 1/2, maybe even longer. Today I have friends to see for Thanksgiving and Christmas because my family is way out of state for me to visit and work the day after. I have hobbies that I enjoy such as reading, hoping to spend some time writing with this less stressful job, knitting and crocheting, church friends and former work friends who still want to get together with me. Between things to see and do in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, DC there is no shortage of things to do. I plan on retiring in Delaware in an apartment or even just renting a room somewhere so that the beach, and nearby activities (playhouse, membership Film society, no tax off-season shopping can help me make my expenses, local knit shop) would be enough for me to make friends. Everyone is so friendly in south Delaware and they do miss the cultural aspects of where they made their retirement money in New England or sometimes the west coast. When I go on vacation here, I am amazed at overhearing their conversations as to how they ended up in Delaware. It was not necessarily planned but they have hooked up friends and are living a good life. I am hoping Ms. Barbara will try vacationing in different areas to find a new place on the east coast to find great friends.

    by JoyceR — November 9, 2013

  48. We make our decisions and learn to live with the repercussions. I made my decision a long time ago to work for myself at a trade I love (bookselling) and which I think is meaningful. My husband also works for himself as a seller of music-related material, as well as a consultant to a number of auction houses. These jobs never made us rich, but we didn’t mind because we had enough to live on and we have been extremely happy. Unfortunately, what I did *not* see coming back in the 70s when I started out was the complete revamping of the book trade. Like many self-employed folks, we invested our profits in our businesses, so we don’t have much to live on.
    HOWEVER I am not here to whine. I still believe we made the right decisions *for us* and I would not change a single thing. We are still happy, we are still on the same page, we still love our jobs even though they’re not as remunerative as they used to be (though, to be truthful, they were never *that* remunerative in the first place). Anyway, we took some bad along with the good but that’s life. We learn from our experiences. We will get along.
    Life is short, it really is, but it’s never too late to be happy.

    by Judith Keefer — November 9, 2013

  49. Hi site..great info always available..have been resding blogs about alot persons retiring to Florida,,we wanted that but found home owner insurance was a disaster..8 mojor companies no longer issue NEW policies in Fla..so often I read that individuals say they have CITIZENS Insurance and have no problem..well Citizens is the State of Florida issuing polices..they have paid a company 55 billion to take over their policies in fear of the costs if another storm disaster..and the companies cost is 3x what a similiar policy costs in another state (and the cost of FEMA flood insurance is extra and raising every year)..so please do your homework before buying,,
    the companies we inquired with for insurance (homeowners) told us it make no diffeence in any part of State , so if that is true..inland and norther Fla is no exceprtion..often policy holder who had policies before the companies ‘abandoned ship’ are being re-issued so the announcements are not new policy prices..
    and last I’d like to say about the Villages..I read , recently, the feeral Govt is suing the Villages for 335 Million Dollars for mis-use of Government loans for CD’s issued to homeowners who purchased there..
    this info that I discuss is available on line in a web search..just recommend this , also, be investigated as the article I read states that the cost of that suit will be passed on to home owners in the corporation..
    if there is some info I have been mislead on , please, advise me..
    I plan to publish the ‘links’ for my sources..

    by Robbie — November 9, 2013

  50. This comment from Vicki is being re-posted here to get it in a more relevant topic. (Some of the original comments that triggered it are below it):

    Vicki,
    Try http://coolworks.com and http://www.nps.gov/yell/getinvolved/index.htm. Cool Works has jobs that might be in a park or a cruise ship port. The NPS site has information about job and volunteer opportunities. I learned about Cool Works from some people that gave a presentation on Alaska. I visited there the next year and would ask people working in the shops, etc, about their jobs. Most were there on their own but some were couples. I don’t know if I’ll do it but it’s always in the back of my mind. I’d love to hear about it if you give it a try.

    from Vickie:
    Julie, Bernadette and others

    While I am retired and married I like to sometimes pursue interests that my husband does not enjoy.

    I might suggest Road Scholar. I did a trip with them last year and it was very enjoyable. Road Scholar used to be Elderhostel, which was targeted to the retiree population but now is more available to all generations. That said it was mostly retired people on my trip. The cost is very reasonable and now I receive all their travel information. The last one I got for international travel had a program to stay in Provence for 6 months.

    Also, you might check out websites such as airbnb,com and homeaway.com. I have used both frequently as I don’t care to stay in hotels much. Sometimes you can find a room to rent in someones home. I prefer my own little space with a comfy chair, a kitchenette, my own bath etc. These places are usually suites that have been created in homes and they are great because usually you can interact on some level with your host. Recently, we stayed with a couple who had a blended family. It was out own space on the second floor of their large home that they were renovating. We were welcome by croissants, juice, bananas and jelly, Coffee was provided and they were available for suggestions on great restaurants and things we should see. This one was 1/2 a block from the ocean for $100 a day. Not all are like this but many are and I have generally been very pleased.

    Also, you could check out Untours.com. Their opportunities are generally out of the USA but you have lots of options there for planning your agenda.

    from Tessa:
    I second Vicki’s opinion about Road Scholar. I took my first trip with them last year and am planning on my second later this year. I’m single and still working and sometimes my travel companions and I have different interests. There was a good mix of couples and singles on my trip and plenty of people traveling solo. I was probably one of the younger ones but that wasn’t a problem for me. I agree they’re reasonably priced and the single supplement is pretty low. They have a roommate matching service on most trips if you don’t mind sharing with a stranger.

    Another thing you might want to consider is working or volunteering for the National Park Service. They look for people for the summer season. I’ve thought about doing that in Alaska for a summer after I retire just for the experience and to enjoy the beauty of the area. If I retire to Florida, which is the leading contender right now, summers in Alaska sound pretty good.

    from Vicki:
    Do you have the website for the National Park Service jobs?

    That is something I want to pursue also.

    Some may wonder why I don’t want to spend more time with my hubby? We have been married for 44 years and have decided that at this time in our lives we are allowed to do what we want without breaking marriage vows. This is our time!

    by Admin — May 22, 2015

  51. I’m new to this site and would like to learn if it has a section regarding retirement communities that include independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care. I’m interested in the St. Petersburg, FL area.

    Editor’s note: There are some of these types of communities listed in our Florida Directory under St. Petersburg – http://www.topretirements.com/active_adult_communities/Florida.html#SaintPetersburg

    But you might have better luck finding just those types at our sister site, http://www.bestassistedliving.com

    by Paulette — November 15, 2015

  52. I’m 34. I was so inspired by these retired people stories. I learned investing is such a big help for my future self. Thank you for the great comments! I truly admire you all for living a healty and happy life.

    by Arnie Gregorio — June 27, 2016

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