What do Retiring Boomers Like to Do?

Retirement is big business in North America.  Just look at all the information in the media promoting everything from wealth management to vacations to pre-paid funeral plans.

For some reason I seem to be reading a lot of “Senior Lifestyles” surveys being done these days – polls on what Boomers want and how they spend their time in retirement. I guess we all like to compare ourselves with others to see how we stack up. 

Here’s a synopsis of the results I’ve found.

1. You don’t need as much money as the financial industry says you do.

Yes, more money is better than less, but a lot of retirees feel they didn’t have to sacrifice so much during their working years in order to furiously save as much as possible. The biggest challenge is learning how to spend – after all, the future is now.

2. We’re busy in retirement

Retirees enjoy seven or eight hours of leisure time a day, but we’re definitely not bored. We use our free time in a variety of ways, from taking up new interests and hobbies, to travel, to spending time with grandchildren.

There’s lots of time to comparison shop and go to several stores to get the best deal. 

Many people between 65 and 74 continue to work at least part-time in a less stressful job.  Side projects that generate income include selling homemade crafts, babysitting and having garage sales.

3. We still take time to slow down and relax

People who have spent several decades working have earned the right to some extra sleep.  We like to relax at home, watch TV, and linger over daily activities such as meals and shopping.

Retirees don’t need to rush through breakfast while heading out the door to work.  They have plenty of time to prepare healthy meals or meet up with friends for a long lunch.

Older people spend more time reading than their younger counterparts.  They are comfortable using a computer for surfing the internet, entertainment and leisure.

4. We love our homes

Many retirees are interested in improving their homes, and those between ages 65 and 74 spend about 2.5 hours a day in household activities including lawn and garden care, home repairs and improvements, and housework.

However, there are some that want a smaller but nicer home with no yard and minimal maintenance.

5. We are focused on connecting with others

We like to socialize, interacting with friends and neighbours as well as hosting or attending social functions.

When deciding where to live, retirees ranked being within driving distance of family and friends as the most important factor.

They are more interested in collecting family memories rather than “things.”

6. We embrace social media

We’re all over social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and sharing pictures of our pets, grandchildren and our latest vacation.

7. Making a difference

Retirees spend quite a bit of their time volunteering for an organization or engaged in other civic or religious activities.

Other favourite causes are environmental issues and animal rights.

8. We want to stay healthy

We are flocking to health clubs and pursuing other healthful activities.  Retirees have few excuses not to exercise and there seems to be a modest increase in time spent exercising when people retire.

Eating healthily is also important.

9. We’re dating

About 35% of boomers are single and they’re still interested in dating.  They use online dating services, attend group activities, and stay on the lookout from the grocery store to their Salsa lessons.

10. Nostalgia is here to stay

As consumers we can’t get enough of the “good old days.”

The highest grossing bands are the old acts like U2, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles and Paul McCartney.  On Broadway we have Jersey Boys and the Carole King Musical.

The bottom line

The majority of boomers say retirement is not an end phase, but rather, a new and exciting chapter of life.

They want to live a healthy lifestyle, engage in strong relationships and continually learn.

What do you think of this list?  How do you compare?

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