By Ernie J. Zelinski
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 Retirement Activities Image

Top-Ten Retirement Activities

People love chopping wood, In this activity one immediately sees results.
— Albert Einstein

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
— Zen proverb

Retirement can be the best time of our lives. Unfortunately, the first part of many people's lives is wasted on boring work activities and the last part is wasted on a boring retirement with unfulfilled retirement pursuits. The good news, however, is that many more people enjoy retirement than those who don't.

Fact is, you can feel whole and alive again at any age provided you indulge in active retirement activities and have an overriding purpose other than to just exist in comfort.

Stay busy [when you retire]. If you are going to sit on the couch and watch TV, you are going to die.
— Bill Chavanne

In other words, you want to have an active retirement with many fun things to do when you retire.

In my opinion, these are the major principles for creating a fulfilling retirement.

  1. Have a major life purpose. 
  2. Be open to learning new things. 
  3. Accept that money will buy style and comfort, but it won't buy you happiness. 
  4. Learn how to enjoy solitude.
  5. Find a retirement job that you can work at temporarily as a fun job.
  6. Maintain old friendships and create new friends. 
  7. Indulge in regular strenuous exercise so that you will be physically fit and able to enjoy your retirement activities. 
  8. Read The Joy of Not Working and How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free. (You will find that retirement health is one of the best  retirement gifts that you can give yourself.)
  9. Travel a lot.  

The key is to find many ways to connect with the world if you would like an active retirement. Problem is, however, that the top-ten activities for retirees that will help them retire happy are not necessarily what they think they are.

Top-10 Retirement Activities That Soon-to-Be-Retired Baby Boomers Plan to Pursue

Here are the top-10 retirement activities baby boomers are planning to pursue when they retire according to a August 2010 study conducted by Allstate Financial.

Also listed are the annual costs for each as estimated by the baby boomers surveyed and also by industry experts:

  Rank   Retirement Activity    Boomers' Est.    Ind Est  (Est Yearly Cost)

    1      Travel                        $7,700              $7,741
    2      Family/Friends             $3,900              $3,924
    3      Hobbies                      $2,200                $827
    4      Garden work                $1,500                $762
    5      Going fishing                $2,700              $1,160
    6      Golf                            $3,500              $4,140
    7      Volunteer work             $2,000              $2,539
    8      Reading                         $900                $545
    9      Exercise                       $1,500              $1,479
    10    Home renovations          $7,000              $1,904

This study, called the Retirement Reality Check Cost of Leisure Index, found that baby boomer retirees expect to spend about $10,900 per year on their top-10 retirement activities. More than half of people surveyed (55 percent) included travel in their top-10 retirement activities. On average, the soon-to-be-retired baby boomers said they would take four trips per year, and spend about $7,700  a year on travel.  The baby boomer's estimates were compared to estimates from various associations and trade groups representing these top-rated retirement activities.

What good is freedom if you've not got the money for it?
— Lillian Hellman

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.
— von Goethe

No doubt there is a problem with the top-10 retirement activities that the baby boomers want to pursue. Knowing how much the retirement activities will cost does not mean that retiring baby boomers will have the money to pursue these activities.

Most people will never be able to retire and maintain even a hotdogs-for-dinner standard of living.
— Timothy Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek

The baby boomers surveyed estimated that they would need $40,900 per year in retirement to cover the cost of their top-10 retirement activities and basic living expenses. To achieve this, the average baby boomer will need to have more than $1.2 million in retirement savings at the start of a twenty-year retirement. (Social Security benefits were not included in the baby boomers' expected retirement income. The Social Security benefits would lessen the required retirement savings needed for these retirement pursuits, but not as much  as the average baby boomer would expect.)

Unfortunately, the average surveyed baby boomer has less than $120,000 in assets. This is not even a tenth of the more than $1.2 million in retirement savings they say they will need to pursue their top-10 retirement activities when they eventually retire in the next 10 to 20 years. 

Retirement Activities Image #2

Top-Ten Retirement Activities That Are Never Too Late to Pursue Unless You Are Dead

These retirement activities come from either one of my two best-selling retirement books The Joy of Not Working or How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free.

Retirement Cafe Book  

  1. Start a Newspaper: Mary Baker Eddy was 87 when she founded the Christian Science Monitor.
  2. Obtain a University Degree. Doris Eaton Travis was 88 when she graduated with a degree in history from the University of Oklahoma.
  3. Learn How to Read Better: Franklin Tennessee resident David Eugene Ray was ninety-nine when he started to learn how to read.
  4. Run a Marathon. Ed Benham was 84 when he ran a marathon in 4 hours, 17 minutes, and 51 seconds.
  5. Go to Jail for a Good Cause: Doctor Benjamin Spock was 83 when he was arrested at Cape Canaveral, Florida for demonstrating for world peace.
  6. Operate a Ski Club: Lloyd Lambert, at 87, was an active skier and operating a seventy-plus Ski Club that had 3,286 members including a ninety-seven-year-old.
  7. Climb the Highest Mountain That You Can Find: Hulda Crooks was 91 when she climbed Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental United States.
  8. Continue Working in Retirement as an Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright, a pioneer in the modern style and considered one of the greatest figures in twentieth-century architecture, was 89 when he designed his last building.
  9. Start a Symphony Orchestra: Leopold Stokowski founded the American Symphony Orchestra at 80 and recorded twenty albums in his nineties. At the age of 96, Stokowski — an eternal optimist no doubt — signed a six-year recording contract.
  10. Write a Book: At the prime age of ninety-eight, Jessie Lee Brown Foveaux sold her first book for a small fortune. The great-great-grandmother, an unschooled and unskilled writer, turned a memoir she wrote in a writing class for senior citizens into a book.  

Here are a few more quotes relating to retirement activities to get you more motivated to have a happy and fulfilling retirement:

When the majority of people get my age, once they retire and get Social Security they lay on the couch and do nothing. The next thing you know, they're not with us any more.
— 77-year-old Retiree August Gonsoulin

I still find each day too short  [in retirement] for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.
— John Burrough

An E-mail from a Reader in Kuwait Who

 Is Looking Forward to Early Retirement

Over the years I have received well over 1,000 letters and e-mails from readers of my international best-selling retirement books How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free and The Joy of Not Working.

It comes as a surprise to many people, but not to me, that a lot of the readers of my books write a letter of liberation either to announce that they have quit their jobs to pursue a more enjoyable job or take early retirement so that they can experience the joy of being retired instead of the misery of the workplace.

The following e-mail is from a gentleman in Kuwait who is looking forward to early retirement and likely will have no problem finding inspirational activities to make his retirement happy, wild, and free.


----- Original Message -----
From: Nbren510
To: Ernie Zelinski
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2007 7:29 AM
Subject: Hello

Hi Mr Zelinski
I am from Kuwait.

Your book reflects the real life in Kuwait and I think everywhere.

I have enjoyed reading the retirement activities in The Joy of NOT Working.

Retirement Books - The Joy of Not Working Image

It's a great retirement book.

I am considering retirement within 3 or 5 years .

By the way, I am 31, married, and have a daughter.
Good Luck


Sulaiman Alhasawi

Learn How to Have an Active Retirement and Earn Your Retirement Karma Points at the Same Time by Reading The World's Best Retirement Activities Book!   


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