Believe it or not, your retirement hobbies have a lot to do with your financial future. In fact, they could be the difference between having a successful retirement or not. Here’s why I say this.
When you retire you’ll have lots of free time. If you don’t fill it up with some fulfilling activity, you’re going to use that time spending money. You’ll either go out to eat more often, travel more often or shop more often. There is nothing wrong with doing these things if you can afford to do so. The problem I often find is that people fall into these expensive habits out of boredom. And as a result, they sometimes create huge financial problems for themselves at the worst possible stage in their financial life. I’m not saying you should stay home all day and never go out. I’m saying it will be easier to find balance in your life if you develop some positive retirement hobbies. And the best way to do that is to start getting active with some fun hobbies before you retire.
As an added bonus, some hobbies might turn into part-time jobs. These may not help you retire rich, but they’ll certainly help keep you from retiring poor.
Here are my top five retirement hobbies:
1. School Aid
There is nothing more enjoyable than helping youngsters advance in school. You can call your local elementary, middle or high school and make yourself available. They’ll be only too happy to accept your help. You’ll be doing the kids a huge favor and you’ll feel great about yourself. Over time this could easily turn into a paid position. Win-win.
My secret ambition is to become a crossing guard when I retire – if I ever do. I’m not sure why this appeals to me but it’s been my dream ever since elementary school. Nutty Pilgrim….I know.
2. Hospital Volunteer
There is no greater reality check than spending some quality time at the hospital. Spend an afternoon there and tell me you don’t have a renewed sense of gratitude for your health when you walk out? Start with only a few hours a week, but keep your eyes open. There may be part-time jobs that open up as well.
I’ll admit that my interest in art ended in 3rd grade. My artistic abilities never developed beyond “stick man.” I just can’t imagine picking up another paintbrush unless it’s to paint the front door of my house. But you might have great artistic skills. Now’s the time to develop those skills. Take some classes and don’t be shy.
You may already know that I love playing drums. I’ve kept at it for the last 40 years or so. Do you love music? I meet people every day who used to play an instrument in high school and haven’t touched it since. Is there a law against dusting off the cobwebs and taking a few lessons? There isn’t.
And there are plenty of opportunities to play in community orchestras and bands. If you used to love playing and are afraid of getting back into it, get over yourself. You’ll be amazed how quickly your old skills come back and you’ll have a lot of fun playing again. I’ll admit that music isn’t a great way to make money, but it can chew up a lot of time that could be otherwise spent spending money.
If you love writing, consider starting a blog. If you are diligent you can build up a nice side business over a few years. This is not an easy path, but over time you’ll find it rewarding. I didn’t start Pilgrim as a side business, but it’s turned into a nice little income stream. The more lead time you have to build up this business, the better.
As you can see, the keys to starting a hobby are:
- Look inside to see what you really enjoy doing.
- Start as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you retire.
- Keep your eyes open for opportunities to get a paying gig.
Do something you love now and give it time. You’ll have fun; spend less money when you retire; and possibly line up a paying gig too.
What are your hobbies? Do you think you might be able to parley those activities into a paid job? How?