Gransnet forums


How do you make the most out of retirement

(47 Posts)
Beswitched Sun 26-Jan-20 10:19:49

I have a few years to go but, although I'm looking forward to leaving the ratrace, I'm also a bit worried that I might find it difficult to fill my days. I'm just wondering how other gransnetters found retirement worked out for them and if it is difficult to adjust to having all that free time?

Happygirl79 Sun 26-Jan-20 10:30:37

I retired 18 months ago.
Ive really enjoyed not having to set my alarm and can wake up naturally feeling far more refreshed than before.
I've moved home.
Organised builders to refit the bathroom and fit a gorgeous new kitchen. Organised all repairs externally including a new garage. Had new fencing put up which I painted myself
Bought new garden furniture last year which I painted to match the fences outside
Introduced myself to the neighbours who are nice.
Take regular walks to get to know my neighbourhood.
Found the local library and post office.
Learned how to revamp furniture using chalk paint.
And so much more.
I live alone and LOVE every single minute of my life
I see friends for lunch or trips usually twice a week and family too.
Don't worry
You will wonder how you found the time to work before !

BlueSky Sun 26-Jan-20 10:38:31

Bewswitched yes at the beginning it's difficult so much that I started doing all sorts of voluntary jobs and looking for a part time paid. I did miss the socialising too. Then eventually you get used to it and wonder how on earth you got up so early every day and rushed out! But yes to a certain extent I did miss it, life is not suddenly endless cruises! Voluntary work is a good starting point, then there are classes, clubs and simply just enjoy whatever you like but never had the time.

Jenz48 Sun 26-Jan-20 10:53:05

I retired 11 years ago and after a long commute to London each day I was glad to rest. I joined a gym as I knew I needed to get fit and find a social circle. I soon got to know others in the same situation and it helped making that transition from work to play. I am not a creator so wasn’t attracted to arts and crafts, so I started voluntary work at my local library and Age UK. Personally I have struggled sometimes, and I think the adjustment is as much mental as physical. For me, getting fit and being outdoors helped any low points, and making the effort to arrange days out. I am on a fairly tight budget but walking groups are usually free. Once you work out what suits you it’s fine - and being able to sit and savour sights and sounds is the reward!

Septimia Sun 26-Jan-20 10:57:46

Have one or two things in mind to do when you retire, but also allow yourself time to adjust. If you're the sort of person who likes to be occupied, opportunities will present themselves. Even if they're not immediately attractive, try them out - you never know!

With any luck, you'll find yourself like so many of us - actually wondering how you had time to go to work.

JuliaM Sun 26-Jan-20 11:25:12

We started off by doing all the little things that we never had time for before, decorated and refurbished the roo.s in our house one at a time, made a rule of going out for lunch once a week, and picked up a few out of season bargain breaks to places we had never visited before. Our youngest daughter was still at home, and attending college on a Public Services course, and happy to look after the pets whilst we where away.
One evening whilst l was packing a bag ready to travel to Scotland the next morning, she came into my bedroomand asked me to sit down has she had something to tell me. She was tye Youngest of my two daughters from my second Marriage, at just 17yrs old, l had three older daughters from my first marriage who had left home already to have families of their own. My youngest one started to cry, and said that she would have left home by the time we returned, as she was Pregnant, and obviously very scared. I managed to reassure her that there was no need to leave home, we would help her, and look after the baby whilst she continued with her studdies if needsbe. I neededto break this news to my husband and give him time to think before he spoke to her again, as l knew he would be upset. So foronce in my life, l kept a secret from him, put on a brave face, and carried on as usual until we were safely away in our hotel in the highlands. After Dinner that night, we went back to our room, l sat him down, and broke the news to him. At first he was angry, hen his anger turned to worry and lots of long walks to think things over, then final acceptance that he was going to become a Grandad and welcome a new life into our family. Everything worked out well in the end, my daughter remained living at home, we had a new baby in the home, and he was smitten with love and pride with her, it turned out to be the best retirement hobby he coud have had, and 12years and three sisters later, hes still so pleased and proud that he had her when he did.
The following year, we bought a caravan, and started spending lots of time at the coast, which we enjoyed greatly, and still do tge occasional winter hotel break as well, but remain in the uk due to the high cost of travel insurance for elderly people with pre-existing conditions.

Nannarose Sun 26-Jan-20 11:27:25

So much depends on your personality, general situation and social / family obligations / relationships that it's difficult to generalise.
Assuming that you have a reasonable pension and some savings, then I would make an outline plan, something like this:

Begin with a holiday, something a bit special but not necessarily expensive.

Analyse your income and savings.

Think about where you want to live. Either set off on a round of visits to places you might consider, or if staying put, think about 'future proofing' your home. This can be good project, you might learn some skills to help you do it.

Think about a more sustainable lifestyle, shopping locally, learning new skills, whatever suits.

When you have done that, don't commit to any worthy or voluntary organisation until you have sussed it out a bit. They can often seem pleasant from afar, but less so once you're in!

When you have done all of that, you will find that opportunities present themselves, sometimes things you might not have dreamed of at first.

Dottygran59 Sun 26-Jan-20 11:32:42

I’m really interested to read the responses to this topic. Am a wasp I so 5 years to go. It’s raining today and am bored at home. Would normally be out for a brisk walk. Know I will feel differently in the summer, but today I am wondering if this is what retirement will be like!

jane1956 Sun 26-Jan-20 11:35:55

we walk 5+ miles every day, generally to a supermarket (different ones am not loyal) pick up bargains (freezer is full) walking has meant that we have lost weight so all good

Hetty58 Sun 26-Jan-20 11:39:33

It's what you make it. You don't have to be endlessly busy, I find. I can actually read my book without feeling guilty. I can follow my moods, active or resting, go out or stay in - depending on the weather. I love it!

tanith Sun 26-Jan-20 11:43:13

I’ve been retired 10+ yrs and when OH was alive we did have holidays and trips out visited lots of places but now on my own it’s harder to fill my days with walking, reading etc. Do as much as you can while you’re fit and able retirement is doing all the things you’ve not had time for.

Jane10 Sun 26-Jan-20 12:44:59

My retirement plan was to have something planned to do every week day so as to keep weekends feeling different. That's worked well. I go to Aquafit classes twice a week, yoga and bridge classes once a week and carry out lots of talks to various groups. In other time slots I write short stories for a magazine, read, watch TV, lunch out with friends etc.
We have one biggish holiday a year and a shorter break too.
It's really amazing how my diary fills up! I bet you'll find that too.

vampirequeen Sun 26-Jan-20 13:39:18

I have some things that I plan but most days simply fill themselves. I don't know how I ever fitted work in.

Washerwoman Sun 26-Jan-20 14:09:39

I'm loving it so far.Work just got in the way of all the things I love to do.I go off exploring long walks with our dogs,and friends often join me.I have time for the garden instead of it feeling frustrated as I can devote a whole day to it now if I want,rather than snatched hours.I can enjoy my grandchildren feeling less tired and will be back on duty a couple of mornings a week when DD returns to work.Plus a very elderly relative to call in on most days.I retired a few years before my State pension with- thanks to the later date!And although DH still works we are having to be careful with money.But a few short breaks rather than exotic holidays and more money are worth it for the freedom of retirement.I love to potter after years of manic activity working and bringing up a family.

Greta8 Sun 26-Jan-20 14:27:33

I would say don't feel pressurised to fill your days with manic activity. Think about the things you enjoy doing when you're not at work and use them as a base. For example I have always loved reading and gardening, including growing plants from seed. My husband has always loved walking. So this was a starting point. We have never lived in each other's pockets, so it was important that we didn't spend all our time together. He got some voluntary work at the local library and museum, and I had days out, lunches etc. with my female friends. We then decided to move to be nearer our daughter, so that took up last year. Adjusting to a new area has been fun - new walks for my husband in a forest rather than open moorland, voluntary work at a Cathedral rather than museum. I'm loving sorting out our new modern home, and finally being near my much loved daughter and beautiful new grandson. I will be helping with childcare - hence the move. Today it's chucking it down outside - really miserable. Looking forward to cooking a roast dinner later and we've been out and bought some landscaping stuff for the garden and some interior bits and pieces. You'll fill your time - think of retirement as a reward for a lifetime of hard work. I think some retired people are guilty of over-emphasising how wonderful it is. It's just the next part of ones life - with all the good and bad bits that inevitably happen. If you decide to do some voluntary work and you don't like it, you can feel free to stop doing it, which is great. I would just say be open to all possibilities, but be happy chilling out and relaxing too!

grannyactivist Sun 26-Jan-20 14:30:41

My retirement wasn't planned; my daughter was widowed suddenly ten years ago during the school half-term and I took time off to look after her and her new baby and never went back.

I eventually did a huge amount of voluntary work that culminated in me setting up a small charity - and I've been running it ever since. I lead a team of three caseworkers and it's virtually a full-time job now. Because we're not paid we are able to be very flexible about our hours of work and holidays etc., but it is an enormous commitment.

I hope to 'retire' from this role by the time I'm seventy and by then I expect (hope) to put my feet up and simply relax more.

Beswitched Sun 26-Jan-20 16:21:17

Thanks. Lots of interesting ideas. One thing somebody said to me was to Start getting involved in things and taking up new interests before I actually retire so I can hit the ground running, so to speak.

M0nica Sun 26-Jan-20 16:31:48

What free time? Assoon as I retired I went back to university for a year, then I worked for a local charity for 10 years, I am involved with a local environment group, have been an active member of the county archaological society for nearly 40 years and once retired got involved with running it.

We also moved to a large very old rundown house and garden when we retired , that keeps us busy. We now have grandchildren, who live 200 miles away.

As I said, what is this about freetime when you retire?

Tedber Sun 26-Jan-20 18:55:53

Depends on you and your lifestyle Beswitched and what you want to do.

Bored? I have never been so busy. So much so I don't know how I fitted in working full time!!!

BUT...after retiring I did take on a completely different job (caring for young adults with complex problems) Love it but am on the 'bank' so can pick and choose. The rest of time is divided between my large family and having days out visiting places I've always wanted to see and distant friends I was never able to visit. Lunching out is one of my fav occupations now smile I love walks in countryside with the dogs and love cities too with their museums and art galleries.

I absolutely LOVE retirement. As I said though - up to you to make the most of it.

MrsPickle Sun 26-Jan-20 19:13:31

When I retired, I started a Pickle and chutney business (er, you might guess that from my moniker!). I had an absolute ball, though it was hard work, as there was only me.
Now, at 70, and with hub still in full time employment, I feel like one of thse bubbles you can never keep down.
We have 4 dogs, a caravan, grandkids, I paint and go to 2 art group (others are available!), lunch with friends..... and I dreaded all this hundrum activity.

No money, but I wouldn't swap it for the world

sodapop Sun 26-Jan-20 19:44:48

So much to look forward toBeswitched ensure that you and your partner have a conversation about your expectations of retirement, these can be wildly different.
Don't rush into planning to fill every minute of every day, take time to enjoy the time you have for small things. So many things open to you travel, volunteering, lunch with friends, educational courses. Don't worry just enjoy.

etheltbags1 Sun 26-Jan-20 21:26:25

All the above posters are talking as if they have a choice, many of us retirees won't be able to afford a holiday or days out. I've yet to hear anyone with ideas for free activities or days out. I wont be able to keep my car as not having a job means not being able to afford it. Some of us have to rely on state pension and the poverty it brings.
Don't get me wrong good luck to anyone with the funds to spend life is short so live every day as though it is your last but let's hear from the poor folk.

Tedber Sun 26-Jan-20 21:33:31

Sorry Ethelbags1 but you are speaking rubbish! Free bus passes mean you can visit other places (even if it takes a while from bus to bus). Museums are free, parks are free. Volunteering is free and groups like U3A are nominal fees - even the poorest can afford them.

If anyone wants to sit at home and feel sorry for themselves then they can but IF they want to get out there then it isn't just the comfortably off that can do it.

etheltbags1 Mon 27-Jan-20 19:25:13

I will update you all when I retire, I'm 66 in October. I think I may have an tiny pension from a previous job but it won't be much, however I will be volunteering at the local cancer shop.

dahlia Mon 27-Jan-20 20:03:41

Tedber, I think you are being a big harsh: etheltbags has a point about lack of funds. We manage our income (less than £18,000 a year between us) by being careful, but there are times when we would love to do something lavish and not have to count the pennies all the time. We enjoy life with hobbies and volunteering, but I have to admit I find it hard at times and downright boring!