Planning for Your Hobbies in Retirement

05.18.23 | Personal Finance

What do you picture when you think of retirement? Long summer days at your Lake Michigan cottage? Traveling somewhere you’ve never been before? Having more time to spend with family or work in your garden?

We work hard to enjoy our retirement and it’s a lot of fun to make a list of the things we’re going to do when we finally have more time. Budgeting for your retirement hobbies probably doesn’t sound quite as fun but it will help take some of the guesswork out of your golden years. Let’s take a look at some popular hobbies in retirement, why hobbies are so important, and how they should factor into your financial planning.

Popular Hobbies in Retirement

If you type “popular hobbies for retirees” into Google, you’ll find suggestions for everything from beekeeping to pickleball. A “hobby” can be anything you do in your leisure time for fun.

Retirement hobbies typically fall into a few categories:

  • Indoor hobbies (baking, solving puzzles, reading, playing an instrument)
  • Outdoor hobbies (walking, gardening, fishing, birdwatching)
  • Athletic hobbies (golfing, bowling, pickleball)
  • Travel-related hobbies (visiting other countries, RV road trips, camping, geocaching)
  • Helpful hobbies (volunteering, fundraising, fostering animals)

According to Statista Consumer Insights, the most popular hobbies for retirees are:

  • Cooking and baking (44%)
  • Reading (42%)
  • Caring for pets (36%)
  • Gardening (34%)
  • Traveling (29%)
  • Outdoor activities (28%)
  • Arts and crafts (26%)

(2022 survey of 4,679 U.S. retirees)

Why Are Hobbies So Important?

Hobbies are more than a way to pass the time after you retire. Hobbies can help you transition from a full-time career to having more free time. In a recent Wall Street Journal article about hobbies in retirement, Dr. Adams-Price pointed out, “Creating something makes you feel productive. And in our culture, people want to feel productive.”

Hobbies can also help you stay physically and mentally active. Dr. Adams-Price was part of a 2018 study investigating the impact of long-term creative hobbies. The study found creative activities positively impacted cognitive and social well-being and overall life satisfaction among older individuals. In 2021, Japanese researchers found that hobbies were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in participants ages 40 to 69.

How Much Should You Budget for Hobbies in Retirement

You might have thought about how your taxes or healthcare expenses might change, but have you factored your hobbies into your retirement budget? How do you calculate how much to save so you can enjoy all the things you have planned? Here are some tips for budgeting your retirement hobbies.

1. Understand Your Retirement Income
It might take some time to adjust to living on a fixed income. It’s always best to work with your financial advisor to understand your monthly retirement income, its sources, and how much will go towards basic living expenses like housing, utilities, and food. Putting actual numbers to your monthly budget can help you understand just how much money you have for leisure activities.

2. Price Out Your Hobbies
Some hobbies are more expensive than others. A new pair of birdwatching binoculars could cost around $200 to $500 while a sport like golf can cost thousands per year.

Make a list of the hobbies you want to pursue and estimate how much those activities will cost, including accessories and supplies.

3. Make a Plan
After reviewing your retirement income and necessary expenses, you should have a pretty good idea of how much you can spend on hobbies. Will you have enough to do the things you’re excited about? Or does your leisure budget come up a little short?

Now that you know how things stand, you can make a plan for how to reach your retirement goals. Ask your advisor if there are ways you can get back on track, like increasing your savings rate or working a few extra years.

Plan for a Confident (And Fun!) Financial Future

You deserve to enjoy your retirement! Planning for your hobbies and retirement spending in advance means fewer surprises and greater success later on.

Still have questions about how your hobbies factor into your retirement budget? At Midwest Capital Advisors, we build customized retirement plans around you and your goals. Contact us anytime to begin planning for a more confident financial future.

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