What to do with yourself after retirement
I recently read an interesting article about retirees who become depressed and bored — even ones on sound financial footing — because they haven’t found enough activities to keep them busy.
I have been retired now for over 20 years, and I am fortunate to have found enough activities to keep me very busy and not bored at all. No doubt, the things I do won’t interest a lot of retirees, but they might generate some ideas for readers who find themselves dissatisfied in retirement.
The first thing I’d advise is volunteering in a field that interests you. There are many advantages: You can learn new skills, meet new and interesting people, and even earn income or other financial advantages.
Shortly after I retired, I saw a volunteer listing in the newspaper for court mediators, no experience or legal background required. My wife, also retired, and I took a three-day intensive training course.
With some guidance from experience mediators, it didn’t take long to be on our own. I have been happily mediating now for more than 15 years.
I have met many interesting retirees from all walks of life and have befriended many of them. There has been a financial benefit as well.
For example, I learned how to initiate a profitable small claims case against an insurance company, which resulted in several thousand dollars’ benefit to me.
I have also volunteered for AARP, helping individuals with their income taxes. The training is free, and it will help you learn to do your own taxes efficiently.
I have also volunteered for my State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). This organization is funded by the federal government and is available in every state.
SHIP provides free counseling to individuals concerning Medicare, long-term care insurance and other health-related financial issues. Training is free, and by volunteering you will become better educated and able to handle your own health issues more competently.
I also volunteered for several years at SCORE, a small business mentoring organization with 10,000 volunteers, also operating in each state. SCORE volunteers generally have had prior experience running their own business.
SCORE provides free counseling to entrepreneurs starting their own business. In addition, at nominal cost, they offer individual courses such as how to market your business or establish a business plan. As a volunteer, you will receive free training and will meet many knowledgeable retirees.
Another activity I have enjoyed in retirement is bridge. Card-playing is not for everyone, but if you enjoy it, consider bridge. It will keep you mentally sharp. I know many good players in their 90s who are still excellent players.
You can learn to play at low cost with lessons at a bridge club. At most clubs, you can play for three hours for a nominal fee, and they provide refreshments. You’ll likely meet many new people who are, by and large, very friendly and sociable.
If you become experienced, you can become a bridge director on cruise ships and obtain either free or heavily discounted fees on major cruise ships when you direct bridge games.
For example, my wife and I paid $400 for a seven-day cruise on a major cruise line during which I directed bridge games for a short period of time. To paying customers, the cost of the cruise was several thousand dollars.
The bottom line: There is no reason to be bored during retirement. Try out a few volunteer activities and pastimes and you’re sure to find something that suits you.
©2019 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.