If you are a smart, diligent person – as are all of my readers – I’m sure you are working hard on your retirement – planning, earning, saving, investing.
But are you planning enough to be ready for those post-career years?
While it is important to amass a retirement nest egg during our working years, it is also critical to find and develop our hobbies and passions. Such activities, which I call “core pursuits,” are an investment in ourselves. During our careers, core pursuits provide necessary diversions and stress-relief. In retirement, they provide all sorts of benefits, including physical activity, social interaction, mental stimulation, even a sense of purpose.
Indeed, the number of activities you pursue in retirement can have a direct impact on your happiness, based on research done for my book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think.
The happiest retirees have at least 3.5 core pursuits, according to our surveys and interviews with retirees across the country. The least happy engaged in just 1.9 such activities.
Core pursuits can run the gamut from golf or other sports to collecting to gardening to political activism to volunteering to traveling to earning a college degree. To paraphrase an old saying, a core pursuit is anything that flicks your Bic. Understand that these pursuits aren’t simple pastimes; they are passions to which the retirees devote a great deal of time, energy, and sometimes money. The happiest retirees prioritize their core pursuits and derive great satisfaction from those endeavors.
Of course, if you don’t have any core pursuits when you retire, it’s kinda hard to prioritize them.
That’s why it’s important to set aside time for your passions through your life. Dig that electric guitar you love out of bonus room closet and make time to jam (headphones, please). Make a date with a tennis buddy and knock the rust off. Not sure what you’re passionate about except your fulfilling job and practically perfect kids? Totally normal. Start poking around. Always a little intrigued by shooting? Take an introductory course at a range. Did you enjoy swimming in high school? There are adult swim teams all over town. Wonder if you’re the next Bob Ross? Take a painting class!
Don’t feel guilty about setting aside this time; remember, it’s an investment in your present and future well-being. If it helps, think of the time you devote to your hobbies as a contribution to an emotional 401(k). It will pay-off. And please don’t say you have no time for hobbies. We make time for the things that we prioritize.
Need some inspiration? Check out this LinkedIn post from Eric Jennings. The thirty-something sales executive loves to play hockey and is willing to stay up until 1 am on a weeknight to get his game on. I love his middle-of-the-night energy and enthusiasm! I suspect Eric will be a happy retiree.