9 things to do in retirement

As you start to think about stepping away from the workplace, you may ask yourself “What should I do in retirement?”. The answer is simple: “Whatever you like”. The former pensions minister Steve Webb quipped that you could empty your pension fund to purchase a Lamborghini, but you could buy the taxman a Porsche if you do so. Remember, the fund is meant to last your retirement. Here are nine alternative ways to keep busy without draining your savings:

one pensionTravel

In YouGov’s “Understanding Pensions and Retirement 2014” report, travel topped the list of what people wanted to do in retirement. One of the best things about travelling is that it can be done on different budgets. If you want a holiday of extravagance then a luxury cruise or visiting the Northern Lights could be just the ticket; lower-cost options could include camping and canal trips, which provide great opportunities to travel within the country, while budget airlines can help you see more of the world without breaking the bank.

two pensionsSpend time with family

In YouGov’s report, 42% of respondents want to spend more time with the family in retirement. Finishing work gives you many more hours in the day, making it a great way to do so - whether it’s babysitting the grandchildren, taking short trips together or just enjoying each other’s company.

three pensionsConsultancy

Leaving the workplace doesn’t mean you can’t earn money or provide your services; having spent decades acquiring and applying skills, you probably have a lot to provide to others. You can fill up plenty of hours offering consultancy services and supplement your retirement income at the same time.

four pensionsStart walking

A great form of exercise, walking is a popular activity that can help you stay healthy while also enjoying some of the natural beauty around the country. Explore National Trust trails, stay close to home or travel further afield as your interest grows; you could even offer dog walking services and earn money while you walk.

five pensionsGet creative

YouGov’s report found that 29% of people hoped to spend more time on creative pursuits. Perhaps you’d like to take up a woodwork course, start painting or learn a musical instrument.

six pensions Community involvement

Offering time to the community is a great way to make new friends, keep busy and help others. Volunteering at local events or a food bank, mentoring children, cooking for the church or running for councillor are just a few ways you can get involved in your community.

seven pensions Write a book

They say everyone has at least one book in them, and you don’t need to be J. K. Rowling to write it. With about six decades to reflect on, you probably have plenty to say in an autobiography. It isn’t necessary to be part of the glitterati to pen your memoir, especially with today’s vast self-publishing options that put authorship firmly within reach. Alternatively you could compile a short book of witty anecdotes, a how-to manual or a simple e-book on a topic you know a lot about.

eight pensions Start a blog or YouTube channel

You’ve lived in different times to today’s generation, which means you know things they don’t. Modern platforms like YouTube and blogs are free and excellent ways of reaching a wide audience, and you can talk about whatever you like. For example, the channel DepressionCooking was started by a 91-year-old woman who ended the show aged 96, and she amassed over four million views presenting recipes from the Depression. If you have an interest, a hobby, a story or just plenty to talk about, the Internet is waiting.

nine pensionsRelish retirement

Regardless of how else you spend your time, sometimes you may just get the urge to brag to former co-workers how great retired life is, and you could reinforce the point by inviting them to activities that take place during working hours. If you’re particularly mischievous, you could have a flashback to the ‘80s and stand outside with a lawnmower and boom box – the odds of the police showing up are considerably higher than in the films, but that could be another anecdote for your memoir.

Retirement can be a daunting prospect, but it’s a point in life when time is your own, so how are you hoping to spend it?

The following table is from YouGov’s “Understanding Pensions and Retirement Survey”, which looks at how time is spent in retirement

Results Table



I'm really looking forward to relaxing when I retire

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