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45 Fun Things to Do in Retirement: Retirement Mapping for a Lifestyle You’ll Love

There are 168 hours in a week. Do you know how you’ll spend those hours in retirement? Many of us have vague ideas of things we want to do when we stop working: travel more, play with the grandkids, finally relax. But what that actually looks like over the years, months, weeks and days is anyone’s guess. 

Whether you choose retirement or it’s thrust upon you, it pays to plan your time in retirement. After all, you’ll have a lot of it. That’s why we developed retirement mapping, a simple yet powerful process to help you bring some clarity to those fuzzy retirement plans. 

Retirement Mapping and the Four Retirement Lifestyles 

If you worry that you’ll be bored or you have big dreams for your second act, retirement mapping can help. The process involves getting creative (and very specific) about what a fulfilling retirement looks like for you. It also calls for finding balance among four retirement lifestyles: play, work, renew, and connect. The idea is to find your own perfect mix based on your wants, needs, desires, interests, and level of physical activity.

You’ll find there may be some overlap in activities across the four styles. Hopefully, though, you’ll see a pattern and begin to discover which of the four retirement lifestyles fits you best. We suggest creating a full Retirement Mapping Profile™ to come up with some ideas of your own. Think of things you’ve enjoyed doing in the past, and new things you want to try. And if you need some inspiration, here are 45 ideas for fun things to do after you retire.

45 Fun Activities to Fit Every Retirement Lifestyle

  1. Experience hot-air ballooning (play) 
  2. Nurture your love for animals by becoming a dog trainer (work)
  3. If you like working with your hands, why not restore an old car or boat? (work) 
  4. Teach English as a second language at home, at a community center, or even abroad (work, connect, renew) 
  5. Share your skills by teaching your hobby to others (connect)
  6. Join or start a book club (renew, play)
  7. Enrich your understanding of Native America or another culture (renew, connect)
  8. Perform random acts of kindness: write a thank you letter to someone important in your life, help a neighbor, or buy someone else’s groceries (renew, connect)
  9. Throw a party and invite strangers. It could be an open house or “come meet your neighbors” block party (connect) 
  10. Make a themed Spotify playlist for your morning workout or to help you relax at nightlet friends join in the fun by making them collaborative (play, renew, connect)
  11. To see animal instincts in action, observe monkeys in their natural habitat (play, work)
  12. Make an effort to hang out with people different from you, whether it’s people from different religions, socioeconomic groups, races, or simply those with different interests than you (connect)
  13. Attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans (play)
  14. While you’re at it, have a beignet at the famous Cafe du Monde (play)
  15. Attend Oktoberfest in Munich and get some photos of yourself holding that giant beer mug (play)
  16. Take a picture a day for a year. This is both an exercise in diligence and a great way to stretch your creative muscles (renew)
  17. Try every taco place in your city, and perhaps discover a new favorite restaurant in the process (play)
  18. Sing in your church or community choir (connect, play)
  19. Join a local theater troupe (connect, renew, play)
  20. Restoring furniture can be relaxing and rewarding, not to mention giving new life to your old decor (work)
  21. Find a few podcasts about a subject you want to learn (renew, play)
  22. Listen to audiobooks. They’re a great way to enjoy books while you’re out walking, cooking, or driving (renew, play)
  23. Get a massage. If you’re new to massage, you’re in for a treat! Otherwise, try something new like cupping or hot stone massage (renew)
  24. For a delicious, fun, and rewarding hobby, learn to brew your own craft beer (work, play)
  25. Make your “million-dollar invention” a reality (renew, work)
  26. Practice positive affirmations to improve your mood and your self-esteem (renew)
  27. Make a daily gratitude list (renew)
  28. Join a local bowling league (connect, play)
  29. Move your body and have fun by participating in a Zumba class (connect, play)
  30. Learn an artistic craft like painting, drawing, or ceramics (play)
  31. Attend college sporting events in or around your city (play)
  32. Visit the free national museums in Washington, DC (renew, play)
  33. Declutter your life by cleaning out the garage (work)
  34. Then, make a few extra bucks by having a garage sale (work)
  35. Sell lightly used clothing on Poshmark, eBay, or Facebook marketplace (work)
  36. Experiment with essential oils to discover chemical-free cleaning, skincare, mood management, and more (renew)
  37. Buy a telescope and become a stargazer (play, renew)
  38. Explore the Denver area’s many national parks (play)
  39. Submit editorial articles to a magazine (work, renew)
  40. Self-publish a book of poems (renew, play)
  41. Make a list of all your successes in life (renew)
  42. Organize a beach or highway clean-up day (connect, work, renew)
  43. Help your children with a project (connect, work)
  44. Make a pledge to exercise every day for a month (renew)
  45. Engage in a house swap, Workaway stay, or offer to house/pet sit internationally (play, connect, work)

If this list has you feeling inspired, keep it going! The point is to make sure you don’t just fill the hours, but truly enjoy your life to the fullest in retirement. Making the most of your time—and your retirement savings portfolio—requires a bit of planning. Choose a financial advisor who: 

  • Is a fiduciary
  • Uses a proven investment process based on sound academic evidence
  • Understands your financial and lifestyle goals for retirement 

For hundreds of ideas for ways to spend your retirement, plus preparedness strategies and real success stories get Retirement Secrets.   

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