Your Retirement Leisure Activities May Cost Less Than You Think

SEPTEMBER 18, 2015
Bill Schu
elderly coupleStudies and surveys show that as people near retirement, their biggest concern is having enough money to last the rest of their lives. This is a legitimate and primary concern, of course, particularly if you started saving late or have spent a good part of your physician career living beyond your means.

But while near-retirees may plan to travel, play golf, and perhaps take up sailing, lifestyle surveys of what retirees actually do shows activities that can be just as diverting, but on a smaller scale, and with much less of a budget. When you’re estimating what you’ll need, consider that the vision you may have of yourself as a jet-setting, world-traveling septuagenarian may not exactly come to pass. Here are some popular, and low-cost, retirement activities.

Travel…through an Adventurous Television or Literary Surrogate.

Retirees spend about half their leisure time watching television, and nearly an hour a day settling in with a good book. Watching television can be a dead-eyed, mind-sucking activity, but it doesn’t have to be. With so many channels on the dial, chances are you’ll be able to find some entertainment! Books, too, are inexpensive, and give you the added benefit of being able to use your imagination. Local book clubs are a great way to get to know some fellow retirees and argue vehemently about the ending of Gone Girl

Start a Meal Plan.

Dining out can be different and exciting, and it’s nice to turn the cooking and the dishes over to someone else every now and again. Many retirees, though, find themselves having and spending more time to search for and share recipes, shop for ingredients, prepare a meal, and savor that meal with some good company and perhaps a nice bottle of Cabernet. Cooking can be exciting, too, and it’s generally much less expensive to buy and cook the same ingredients you could order out. You don’t have to be Giada De Laurentiis to enjoy the satisfaction of a meal that stretches your limits and still turns out bellissimo.

Project some Projects.

Gardening may be a bit of a retirement cliché, but it can also be rewarding, and it’s a great way to keep active and even burn some calories. Yes, it can take a little expertise for certain crops and climates, but even my father, a noted indoorsman, successfully grew a few tomatoes one year. If squash isn’t your thing, consider some home improvement projects you’ve been putting off or planning to pay for. Perhaps putting up drywall is a little beyond your skillset, but there are some projects that are easier. Doing some of those yourself has the dual benefit of keeping you active and keeping your costs down.
There are thousands more activities you may consider once you retire. Keep in mind, also, that they don’t all have to be low-cost. An occasional splurge on something of great value to you is perfectly natural and probably beneficial to your long-term mental health.

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