What to Do When You Retire

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Whether you are knocking on the door to retirement or you still have some years of working ahead, you might already be asking yourself what you want and need to do when you retire.

With so many years of doing the same routine, you could have too much free time on your hands during retirement. For some people, all of this downtime might be a blessing. Meanwhile, others might find it difficult to adjust their historical routines.

At the same time, there are several financial steps you should consider looking into when you retire so that you can make the most of your retirement funds. As life expectancies continue to increase, it will become even more critical to ensure you have the money to maintain the lifestyle of your choice.

If you have found yourself wondering about how to spend your time and your money during retirement, check out the recommendations listed here.

Live within your financial means

You earned your retirement and all the benefits that come along with it.

However, paying even closer attention to your personal budget and spending habits should now be more of a priority than ever. You should use your savings and nest egg wisely during these years, especially if you are on a fixed income.

Best practices recommend that when the average person retires at age 65, they should have between eight and 11 times their desired income in savings.

Keep in mind that inflation could potentially cut into your retirement savings over the years. So be sure to revisit your budget each year to see how your expenses might be increasing. You may have to live on your savings for an additional 30 years after retiring in your mid-60s, and inflation can drastically raise consumer prices over those three decades.

But with the right retirement plan in place, you can potentially raise your standard of living while simultaneously extending the time your retirement income can last.

To accomplish this, it can be a good idea to work with a financial planner either when you are in pre-retirement or right when you enter retirement. By going this route, you can calculate your monthly budget and any additional investment strategies to pursue during this time period. This way, you can live within your means while still enjoying the finer aspects of your golden years.

Establish limits

Once you no longer have to conform to a typical work schedule day to day, ensure you establish some sort of parameters. If not, you might find yourself watching television all day long, eating whenever you feel like or just simply daydreaming about what you would like to do with your free time now.

It is crucial to set limits on these types of activities, so you can give yourself more to do. For instance, limit your television intake or online habits to a few hours per day. Or only visit the casino occasionally.

At the same time, set limits for others too. Although you might have a lot more free time on your hands now, this does not necessarily mean you need to jump in as a chauffeur for a friend or become a full-time babysitter for grandchildren or nieces and nephews. Remember, these are your golden years that you worked hard to achieve, so before you start helping with other people’s dilemmas, make sure you are focusing on your own goals as well.

Sometimes it is just as important figuring out what not to do, as it is deciding on what to do.

Earn some extra retirement income

Although your retirement savings and Social Security should be providing you with enough to cover your necessities, like housing, medical expenses and food, there are other ways to earn extra money during retirement.

Now is a good time to work with a financial planner to look into setting up a guaranteed income stream with part of your retirement savings. One such option includes a low-fee guaranteed annuity, which can give you extra spending money for these golden years.

Catch up with friends and family

Retirement gives you the perfect time to catch up with friends and family, especially those you might not have had the chance to connect with because of work.

These catch-up sessions do not even have to be in person. Video chatting can connect you with distant relatives or friends, no matter where they might currently be living.

Studies show that maintaining relationships with family and friends, and having an active social life, remain critical components to making a successful transition into retirement.

Break out your calendar or day planner, and make concrete plans, whether it is a community event, a party or just grabbing a cup of coffee with an old friend.

If possible, try to spend time associating with young people too, either from your family, in the neighborhood or via online channels. These interactions will help keep you youthful and current on newer trends that you might not know about.

Stay physically active

One of the downsides of retirement is there are more opportunities for inactivity. This might come in the form of sitting on the couch and watching too much television, or simply not getting in extra steps due to no longer walking about an office.

However, remaining physically active at this time of your life is important for a host of reasons. Not only will it help keep your body in shape and potentially avoid health issues, but physical activities will also help keep your energy and motivation high.

You can establish a new gym routine, or even keep it simple with walks around your neighborhood. If you really want to take advantage of this time to exercise, consider new methods, such as a calming yoga session or a more rigorous training in something fun like martial arts.


Volunteering during retirement can be a great use of your time and a terrific way to assist those most in need. Pick a passion project, or just keep it local by helping out at your church or community center.

Look for volunteer opportunities that align with your personal interests or that you feel would benefit the most people, animals or natural environments.


With all the extra free time now available, traveling is a common pastime for many retirees.

Connect with a group of other retirees either through a travel agency or with local groups. This can add an element of camaraderie and introduce you to a whole circle of friends.

Many cruise lines also offer special retiree packages and trips.

If you have the extra funds available, buying an RV or a motorhome and driving it across the country can be a great way to get in extra sightseeing opportunities and to truly experience the open road.

Go back to school

No matter your age, you are never too old to keep learning. Retirement offers a great opportunity for you to pursue new educational aspirations. You can finish a degree, earn a new graduate degree or just take classes on subjects that pique your interests. Many community colleges and universities offer special retiree discounts for classes.

As with some of the other options on this list, this also provides a great chance to meet new people and maintain a healthy social network.

Start a small business

After spending your life collecting a treasure trove of experience, knowledge and skills, you can use your retirement to put these traits to work and start a small business.

Even better is that nowadays there are many new modern avenues for selling goods and services today that do not require a large capital investment to get started. Websites like Etsy, eBay, Amazon and hundreds of other online marketplaces let you promote and sell your work in a variety of ways.

You can make this a full-time gig or just work part time. After all, it is your small business, so you can set all the rules.

Try new hobbies

Ever wanted to learn how to play the piano or how to fix computers but never had the time? Picking up new hobbies can be one of the most rewarding aspects of retirement. There is no shortage of “how-to” websites and videos online to assist in teaching you.

Not only can hobbies keep you occupied, but they can help keep your mind sharp.

Right-size your home

Many people are paying off their mortgages around the same time they enter retirement. But with the kids having grown up and moved out, many retirees might start wondering whether they need all the space in their house.

Finding the right home for retirement living can be a smart way to cut back on expenses and provide you with more financial flexibility. Moving into a smaller home can save you money on monthly utility bills, like heat and electricity. This can go a long way to helping you stay financially solvent throughout retirement.

Many townhomes and retirement communities include landscaping services, which can be a big boon for those who no longer want to deal with lawn upkeep.

Set up a long-term care plan

A long-term care plan is an important step to have in place, and then hopefully forget about and never have to revisit. But this is a good way to protect you or your spouse if the need arises for either or both of you to use a long-term care facility.

This type of care can be expensive, with a private room in a nursing home potentially costing thousands of dollars per month.

Long-term care insurance or a life insurance plan with a long-term care rider can help cover these costs, without cutting too deep into your retirement savings.

Work with a trust banking partner

Staying empowered to live the life you want requires you to have the finances in place to accomplish this goal.

Partnering with a trusted bank can help you in this process. With online banking tools and specialized checking accounts, you gain access to higher interest rates and a dedicated customer service number.

Additionally, the financial advisors at your banking partner can provide insight into how to most effectively manage your retirement plan. For instance, you might wonder whether you should tap into your IRA or your 401(k) first, or whether to withdraw all your retirement funds in a lump sum or

These types of financial services can help you keep your retirement plan on track so you can have even less stress during these golden years.

Reach out to Comerica Bank today to learn more about what to do when you retire.

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This information is provided for general awareness purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal or compliance advice.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. While the information contained within has been compiled from source[s] which are believed to be reliable and accurate, Comerica Bank does not guarantee its accuracy. Consequently, it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter nor be relied upon as such.

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