Saving enough money to pay for retirement is important, but it's not the only thing you need to do to prepare. When you no longer go to work each day, you will have hours of free time you need to fill. While relaxation might be enough for the first few weeks of retirement, many workers want something productive or exciting to fill their retirement years. A recent HSBC survey asked current employees what they aspire to do in retirement. Here are the activities U.S. workers have planned for their retirement years:
Spend more time with friends and family. The most popular retirement ambition is to be with loved ones. The majority of workers (59 percent) hope to spend more time with relatives and friends during their retirement years, HSBC found.
[Read: The 10 Sunniest Places to Retire.]
Travel. While you're working, a desire to see the world must be fit into carefully hoarded vacation days. Retirees have more freedom to travel during off-peak and more affordable times of the year, and to stay as long as they want to. About half (49 percent) of current workers are planning on extensive travel in retirement. Another 40 percent of individuals hope to make frequent trips a part of their retirement years.
Improve your home. Retirees can save money by tackling home improvement projects themselves. You can also get some exercise and beautify your home by taking up gardening, and maybe even grow some organic things to eat. Some 36 percent of workers plan to take on home improvement or gardening projects in retirement.
Keep working. Just over a third (34 percent) of workers envision a retirement in which they continue to work in some capacity. And 12 percent of working Americans would like to start a business in retirement. Perhaps you can scale back to part time, take on consulting or seasonal work, or otherwise find a work schedule that also offers plenty of time for leisure pursuits.
Volunteer. A third of workers are interested in donating some of their time by doing volunteer work for a charity or community organization. Look for a volunteer position that matches your interests and needs the skills you have honed during your working life.
Learn something new. Retirement is the perfect time to acquire new skills or pursue a new hobby, and 31 percent of workers plan to challenge themselves with novel activities in retirement. Another 12 percent of working Americans would like to further their education once they leave the workforce. Some colleges and universities even offer free or deeply discounted tuition to retirees above a certain age.
Exercise. Retirees can no longer claim they are too busy to exercise. And 31 percent of workers say they will probably be able to get more exercise or take up a sport in retirement.
Reward yourself. Being able to retire after a lifetime of work is quite an achievement. Some 17 percent of working Americans plan to commemorate the occasion by buying a new car or other expensive item. Just make sure you can truly afford the extravagant purchase and won't risk running out of money too soon.
Experience another culture. Once you're no longer tied to a job you can truly live anywhere in the world. Some people plan to spend their retirement years living abroad (12 percent). But even if you're not ready to leave your family and friends in the U.S. you can still challenge yourself by learning a foreign language (11 percent) and practicing with a native speaker.
Write a book. You have a lifetime of accumulated memories and experiences. Consider recording them in a memoir that you can give to your grandchildren. Or try your hand at the novel you've always wanted to write. Some 12 percent of Americans say they aspire to write a book in retirement. For a more interactive experience, consider starting a blog about a topic that interests you.
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