Saturday, January 13, 2018

Staying Busy--On the Cheap--In Retirement

The hubby and I have been retired for about six years now.  There are three things I've learned about retirement that many people don't consider when they are in the pre-retirement planning stages: #1 you will basically be living on a fixed income for the rest of your life, #2 you will have A LOT of time to fill, and #3 it takes money to stay busy so you don't die of boredom.  Let's look at these things a bit closer:

#1 you will basically be living on a fixed income for the rest of your life.  Most people have a few sources of retirement income and those sources don't vary much over the years.  There is social security which comes with a small cost of living adjustment each year which in no real way keeps up with the actual cost of living.  There is your pension (if you have one) that may or may not come with an annual cost of living adjustment but it isn't going to jump like your income does when you are fully employed and changing jobs to increase your income, it stays pretty steady.  There is investment income which may or may not increase over the years.  And occasionally there is part time job income (you need to be careful that this income doesn't mess up your social security).

#2 you will have A LOT of time to fill.  Most people love the idea of retirement where they don't have to go to work, they can sleep in, they can binge-watch Netflix, they don't have to work for an idiot boss in a toxic work environment, and they can do whatever they want.  What they don't usually realize is that work (and preparing for work, getting to and from work, etc) can rack up 10 to 12 hours a day of their time!  When you are retired that is quite a bit of time to fill as binge-watching Netflix and sleeping in rarely fills all of your day which leaves you sitting at home bored silly eventually.

#3 it takes money to stay busy so you don't die of boredom.  If you were to spend your retirement days doing activities that cost money (mani/pedi in the morning, lunch with the ladies at noon, a matinee movie, dinner out with the hubby, the theater after dinner) you would probably end up broke in short order.  Here are the things we do to fill our days during retirement (most of which cost little to nothing):

  • volunteer (I've volunteered with several organizations in Las Vegas, it's a fun, interesting way to keep busy and help other people at the same time)
  • work temp jobs (I do some freelance work for my old clients and also work at the WSOP for six weeks each summer)
  • bowling (hubby is on a couple of bowling leagues; fortunately the weekly fees are very inexpensive as they are senior leagues and also fortunately he usually wins enough in side pots and league winnings to completely pay for all of his bowling each season)
  • enjoy free and inexpensive things in the community (luckily there are always free things to do around Las Vegas nearly every single day.  In my other blog I highlight the things we do which range from free rodeo events to walking around the city to checking out free community events).
  • do those time consuming things that people always think about doing in retirement (I wrote a book (meh), tried gardening (failure, except for the lemons which grow like crazy), worked on my genealogy research (fascinating!), and I'm learning to knit and play the piano via YouTube).
  • my inexpensive hobby is walking and hiking (gear is cheap, guided hikes are free, my walking club is very inexpensive, and I can basically walk anywhere, anytime in Las Vegas).
  • I love to read (fortunately our library allows me to download thousands of free e-books)
  • Hubby loves to watch movies (thank goodness for Netflix)
  • and we do a bit of socializing (we have family and friends here who often plan parties and lunches out plus we have oodles of friends and relatives who like to visit Las Vegas).
Overall we stay quite busy!

1 comment:

  1. Here's a few more to add from the experience of my parents when they were healthy, and my mother-in-law, the busiest retired person I've ever heard of. Card clubs, shared cooking/baking days with friends, Circles at church, school events in the community (free or very reduced senior rates), Yahtzee and Scrabble, both my mom's favorites to keep mind fresh trying to beat previous scores, and pet walking for friends or family with less time or at a shelter (this was my dad's).