By Greg Hart, CFP®

It was a milestone that seemed so far off into the future: retirement. Now that retirement is finally upon you, how are you going to spend your time? Depending on what age you retire, you potentially have more than 30 years left to do all the things you couldn’t do during your working years. While this sounds like a dream for most, for others it can devolve into boredom, loneliness, and even depression. How can you combat the woes of retirement? Find ways to feel useful and connected. If you’re approaching retirement, or have already retired, here are four ways you can fill your time and make the most of your golden years.

Find a Purpose

One of the most commonly suggested things to do in retirement is to find purpose in your new phase of life. As you transition out of the workforce, you may find yourself feeling like you don’t have a reason to get up in the morning. Studies have shown that you can prevent this feeling by living a purpose-driven life and that individuals who feel fulfilled are happier and healthier on average than those who don’t. (1) Not only that, but they also live longer! (2) You can find purpose in retirement by:

  • Volunteering for a local nonprofit or church
  • Spending time with your grandchildren
  • Pursuing a newfound hobby
  • Working on home-improvement or DIY projects
  • Taking a class or learning a new skill
  • Traveling locally or abroad

Whatever you choose to do in retirement, doing it with a sense of purpose will help you make the most out of your time as opposed to just filling it.

Be Healthy

Declining health and how to pay for the associated medical expenses is one of the biggest concerns for many retirees. Nearly 65% of Americans cite healthcare costs as the most pressing issue on their minds when planning for retirement. (3) Now that you’re in retirement, what better way to spend your time than prioritizing your mental and physical health?

Sure, genetics will play a role in how healthy you will be as you age, but there are also things you can do to mitigate your risk. Exercise and diet are key to maintaining health and they can also be fulfilling ways to fill your time. Try participating in group workouts like kickboxing, yoga, or pilates, or join a gym if you prefer to exercise alone. Any form of exercise is better than nothing, and increasing your current exercise routine can help decrease your risk of premature death by up to 7%. (4) Learning how to cook a new style of food can also be a fun way to pass the time while also improving your diet. 

Phasing-In Retirement

Adjusting to retirement is a huge transition! Going from working 40+ hours a week for 30+ years to suddenly having all the time in the world is a shock to the system, to say the least. It takes time to adjust, so don’t feel pressured to rush into retirement all at once. Instead, try working part-time or using a phased approach to retirement.

It’s becoming increasingly popular for people to approach retirement in phases, slowly adjusting to reduced hours, part-time work, then eventually full retirement. Studies have shown that gradual retirement and a sense of control over your timeline can actually lead to increased levels of happiness among retirees. (5)

Prioritize Your Social Circle

Researchers have found that retirees who are able to consistently spend time with friends report increased levels of happiness as opposed to those who spend their time alone. (6) Spend time connecting with your friends, family, and loved ones throughout retirement. It can help prevent loneliness and provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Knowing that you have a strong support system can make a significant difference in your overall level of happiness, and it can be a great way to fill your time, especially if you experience the loss of a spouse, fall on hard times, or suffer from declining health.

How We Can Help

Are you nearing retirement and wondering how to spend your newfound free time? At Haddon Wealth Management, we can help you navigate the next chapter of your life with confidence and find a fulfilling path to retirement. To learn more about how we can help, call us at (856) 888-1744 or contact us online to schedule a complimentary get-acquainted meeting. 

About Greg

Gregory M. Hart, CFP® is the founder and managing director of Haddon Wealth Management, LLC, an independent, fee-only registered investment advisory (RIA) firm that provides comprehensive wealth management (in-depth financial planning and sophisticated investment management) for clients who value a relationship-driven approach that delivers customized solutions. Based in Haddonfield, New Jersey, Greg works with clients throughout the Delaware Valley, as well as nationwide. To learn more, connect with Greg on LinkedIn, visit our website at www.haddonwealthmgt.com, or call (856)-888-1744 to begin a discussion.

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(1) https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/will-a-purpose-driven-life-help-you-live-longer-2019112818378

(2) https://hrs.isr.umich.edu/publications/biblio/11635

(3) https://www.plansponsor.com/concern-doorstep-retirement/

(4) https://dceg.cancer.gov/news-events/news/2022/deaths-prevented-exercise

(5) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249630767_Gradual_Retirement_Sense_of_Control_and_Retirees%27_Happiness

(6) https://www.actsretirement.org/latest-retirement-news/blog/2017/12/12/the-importance-of-socializing-for-seniors/

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