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What Type of Retiree Will You Be?

Category: Retirement Planning

November 23, 2020 — One of our favorite pieces of advice is that retirement offers a chance for a do-over on life. However life has turned out so far, most of us have the opportunity to change directions, if we want to take it. With that in mind, here are the eleven types of retirees we’ve seen. Which type will you be?

Note that many, if not most, people live a retirement that is a combination of many types. Have you observed other types that we should have mentioned?

11 types of retirement

Keep on Truckin’. This might be the most common type of retired person. They retire and continue to live in the same home, doing the same kind of activities they always did. They might continue to work on a less rigorous schedule. They have more time now, but their days fill up quickly with projects, TV, etc.

The Adventurer. This is the person who moves to a new location where they can experience sports, activities, and a lifestyle in more interesting places. That might mean finding and making new friends to do those things with, perhaps in an active adult community. He might be like our friend who has climbed all of New Hampshire’s mountains over 4,000′ (and trying to climb each of them in every month of the year!), or another who has seen a game in every Major League Ball Park.

The Volunteer. Looking for meaning and to try to help other people, the volunteer is the person who drives the meals on wheels van, helps at community events, restocks books at the library, teaches english as a second language, or spreads cheer at the local hospital. Thank heavens for these folks!

The Nomad. These are the folks who buy an RV or convert a van into a custom rolling home to enjoy life on the road. There are more of them than you think, and they travel around the country in search of jobs, adventure, and fun.

See the World. Several of our friends have stepped on all 7 continents but still have a long Bucket List of places they still want to see. For others it is several cruises a year, or even one around the world. Closer to home, it might mean visiting every State Park in their home state.

The Jock. Chances are this person was always a fan of certain sports. Now they have the time to play golf, tennis, bike, ski, hike, etc. any time they want. They might even be the person who leads a group fitness or yoga class, or the person next to you in one of those classes.

Worker Bee. Maybe this person has only partially retired, and keeps a hand in as a consultant or in their own business. When you go by their house, they are outside working. Perhaps they help friends or volunteer for community events like repairing used bicycles for sale by a charity. Whatever, they haven’t slowed down.

The Hobbyist. There are so many interesting hobbies, many of which are so surprising. Astronomy, bee keeping, gardening, collecting, woodworking, art, crafts, weaving, whatever – we think it is great that people find interesting things to immerse themselves in.

The Professor, or the Culture Vulture. Maybe this person moved to a college town so they can audit college courses. Or they take (or teach) adult education classes. Maybe they go to the Chautauqua Institute in western New York in the summer to drown themselves in lectures, plays, and concerts. Or, perhaps they live for dance and plays -either where they live or via big cultural trips every year.

The Homebody. This retiree is content to stay in their home and putter. Very similar to Keep on Truckin’, except life mainly revolves around the home.

Nana. Living to be near and helpful to one’s children and grandchildren can be very fulfilling. Pre-pandemic, they might have traveled back and forth across the country visiting and helping out family. These days, they are probably on Zoom, or out shopping for hard to find supplies for the kids.

How to figure out what you want to do in retirement

If you are lucky, you might be retired for almost as many years as you worked. So it is definitely a good investment to spend a little time planning what you are going to do in retirement. In our opinion, the worst things you can do are to retire without a plan or enough meaning in your life. Studies show that retirees often experience significant cognitive declines if they don’t have a purpose. Answering the questions below, either by yourself or with your partner or friend, will help you enjoy a long and happy retired life. They should help.

  1. What do you enjoy?
  2. What is it that you have always thought would be fun to do?
  3. Is being a volunteer, or continuing to work important?
  4. Where could you live where you could do the things you enjoy?
  5. What kind of people do you want to be around?
  6. How are your friends and family involved in your plans?
  7. Do you have the resources to do what you want, or what could you do to work around that?
  8. Are your plans compatible with your spouse or partner, if you have one?

By answering these questions, preferably in writing or in discussion with your spouse, you have a much better chance of starting off your retirement in a good direction. But remember, it is never too late to change course if you miscalculated. You should also take our short, fun Retirement Preparation Quiz. You’ll get a score and see just how prepared you are!

For further reading:

Comments? Let us know what kind of retiree you are, or if you think we have missed the mark.

Posted by Admin on November 23rd, 2020


  1. I was thinking about this very question this week. I never planned to retire, but have been forced into at least a temporary “retirement” by this pandemic. As of today, I fit into the category of “The Homebody”, but it is not making me happy at all. If given the choice, I would be a combination of “The Worker Bee” and “The Culture Vulture”. I am told that even once the vaccine is available to me, I will still be at high risk for at least a couple of years. So, I am in the process of rethinking what the rest of my life will be like living with the risk of Covid. Planning has now become much more difficult.

    by Maimi — November 24, 2020

  2. Love all these categories and jealous of the examples given in The Adventurer. I would have to put myself in the Nana group although I also fit into the Volunteer and The Professor, or the Culture Vulture, but of course everything has been put on hold this year. I think having a hobby is important especially these days and there are a lot of interesting ones out there to help keep busy.
    I did take your Retirement Preparation Quiz and didn’t do as well as I thought I would so that is something to work on.

    by Jemmie — November 24, 2020

  3. We have been Keep On Truckin’ Hobbyist Travelers until Covid-19 cut out the traveling. We became expert at traveling (whether foreign, cruise or US road trips totalling over 30,000 domestic miles) and feel we’ve learned enough to travel safely again after there are proven vaccines. Meanwhile this has been a hunker down year and we’re getting through it. (BTW, has anyone heard if we will be eventually able to get multiple vaccine types for better protection?). Hunker down, get through it, be well!

    by RichPB — November 25, 2020

  4. I think questions 1, 4, and 5 asking what do you enjoy doing, with whom, and where were the most important for me, and realize my spouse and I just need a warmer winter climate since our joys involve being outdoors walking, cycling, golfing, gardening, and relaxing on a sunny patio. Luckily our daughter’s family feels the same and we are hoping for a mass family move as soon as the ducks align. As for the retirement types, it’s fun to have the freedom and means to morph in and out of any of them at will. Haven’t tried nomad yet, but it’s still on the table.

    by Daryl — November 25, 2020

  5. Daryl, I have spent 15 years traveling to more than 150 golf communities throughout the Southeast, playing their golf courses and meeting with their real estate people. I’d be happy to share with you what I have learned, which I have combined into a new book called “Glorious Back Nine: How to Find Your Dream Golf Home.” The first step in any successful search is to decide on location; I encourage you to sit down with your spouse and children and narrow down your preferences to one type of area — coastal, mountains, lake or the many areas in-between. (If you don’t take that initial step, your search will be long and possibly fruitless.) Once you all pretty much agree, the next decision is whether you want/need to be near a city or would prefer the quiet and low-pollution (air and noise) of a remote location — or a location somewhere between a city and middle of nowhere. There are, of course, tradeoffs, and if you have a pre-existing medical condition, near a city and its medical centers is probably the best call. If you have any questions about the rest of the process, please ask them here so that my responses might be of benefit to others. You mentioned that you play golf, as do I; but for those who do not, please understand that roughly half of folks who live in a golf community never pick up a golf club. They move there for the other amenities, the social life, the landscaped green space and the idea that a community with a stable and high-quality amenity like a country club solidifies their investments. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    by Larry — November 26, 2020

  6. Thanks, Larry. Half of the in-laws have just this fall relocated to Murrells Inlet, SC, so the rest of us are waiting to see how they survive a summer down there. (Not to mention the political climate since we are rabid liberals with big mouths.) I liked Vero Beach, FL, and wondered if the summers are really any worse than the Lowcountry, the winters are definitely better. My daughter hates Florida and her current job might get us only as far south as Virginia Beach, so you see we have some negotiating and lots of research to do.

    by Daryl — November 27, 2020

  7. Daryl, I enjoy your comments – they make me chuckle. I think you are from New England and if you or anyone could comment on RI vs. MA. Thinking of eastern MA or RI for retirement in 3 years or so — to be within an hour of the ocean. I read conflicting info as to RI having a lower cost of living yet being least tax friendly to retirees. Not sure we can afford either but if I can choose, which side of the border makes more financial sense? I miss the greenery back there and we’re hoping that with global warming, the winters won’t be as bad as they once were. Also looking for good health care, diverse culture. Would love a home with yard space for hub to have an art barn for painting and year round (indoor/outdoor) tennis nearby. All on a modest retiree budget. Thought about the southeast but don’t think we could handle the heat, storms and politics.

    by Rosebud — November 27, 2020

  8. Daryl, Also enjoyed your comments as I moved from Vero Beach FL 18 months ago (after living there for over 48 years) to Aiken, SC. I love Vero Beach, it is the only city in FL I would ever consider living in but unfortunately too many people have now discovered it. The big box developers with their cookie cutter homes started moving in a few years ago and the snowbird season has gotten longer every year choking the roads, restaurants, etc. 8 months out of the year. My children and grands still live there , however my daughter wants to leave FL in a few years when they retire…..however boating is very big with Murrells Inlet SC is one of the places we discussed. Would be interested in knowing how your relatives are doing there. As far as summer weather here in SC compares to FL summers it is definitely hotter in SC but not as humid …to me, anyway. The big draw for me to Aiken was the beautiful small town , winding roads, hills, mild winters, change of seasons which I missed all the years I lived in FL (having been born and raised in Westchester Cty, NY). BTW …..the “political climate” in Vero Beach is definitely not liberal.

    by Diane — November 27, 2020

  9. This is an interesting article! I’ve been retired for 5 1/2 years and live in the Lowcountry of SC. (Daryl: It is HOT HOT HOT in the summer and the politics are hard to take for a Northeast Liberal. It is extremely beautiful and the winters are divine. The good and the bad…) Depending on how long people are lucky enough to be retired, it seems likely we will morph between at least a couple of types. I did the Nomad first (traveled the country in an RV with my 4 dogs). Now I’m a Volunteer Hobbyist Homebody but am ready for something and some place new. I’m currently researching college towns and am wondering if I can tolerate a cold winter again.

    by Judy — November 28, 2020

  10. I’m a nomad adventurer living full time in my class b Roadtrek. This is not new to me having lived on boats I built myself and sailing down the rivers from MN to the Gulf and over to the Bahamas. Sailing the Great Lakes and road trips to all 50 states, across Canada, plus driving through much of Europe and the Scandinavian Countries. At 71 I’ve had a lot of adventures.

    by Bob — November 28, 2020

  11. Bob. Was Single like you as did Sail & played Sports. Lived & worked in both United States & Canada.
    Enjoyed Life; met some great people; But!!
    Got transferred, in my last working day’s, to Alberta overlooking Western Canada. Really, it was being put out to pasture. Ended up joining a Singles Golf Group & met a Lady. The rest is History; as I enjoy every day. It is called “STYLED” as is an Adventure….

    by BillyBogey — November 29, 2020

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