I’m Retired (or Retiring). Now What?

The ways our hobbies contribute to our retirement well-being

Do you paint with watercolors? Are you a competitive bridge player? Are you an expert in ballroom dance? If you have a hobby like these three examples that you’ve pursued throughout your working years, you may have developed some unique talents. If you continue to exercise those skills during retirement, you may find that they can fulfill you in new ways. Here’s how:

Fill time in retirement in meaningful ways. After several decades spent focusing on our careers, leaving the professional world behind can be quite a change in our daily schedules. Suddenly, we have lots of free time each day and it may make us yearn for something of significance to occupy it. Our favorite activities may fill that free time in a productive and enjoyable manner.

Maintain social relationships. During our working years, our jobs provide us with a regular source of social engagement. In fact, we may spend almost as much time with our co-workers as we do with our own families. But once we retire, our social networks can shrink considerably, creating a void that could instead be filled by sharing our talents with individuals or groups that have similar interests.

Stay active. It’s no secret staying physically and mentally active can benefit us in many ways, from helping us maintain a positive outlook on life to keeping us fit enough to chase after our grandchildren. When we retire, we don’t want to sit around, risking declines in our health and mental acuity. Pursuing our passions during retirement could help us keep our bodies and minds in good shape.

Earn a little extra money. Depending on our hobbies, there may be opportunities in retirement to use those skills to earn money. For instance, did you know cruise ships sometimes hire dance instructors and bridge teachers? Or if you are a painter, you could sell your work at art fairs. If you are a history or literature buff, you could teach classes in local community education programs.

Earning money during retirement means we may be able to withdraw less from our IRA and 401(k) each year, potentially helping these accounts last longer. If we earn enough, we may even be able to delay starting Social Security, which will increase the predictable monthly payments we receive for the rest of our lives after we begin taking benefits.

(Important caveat: Increases in our benefits stop at age 70, and once we start collecting Social Security, any earned income we receive may lower our benefit, at least until we reach “full” retirement age, which will likely be 66 or 67 if we have not already retired.)

In many ways, our career gives meaning to our lives and even helps define who we are. So when retirement calls, we may find the need to “repurpose” ourselves—and an increased focus on the skills we’ve developed outside the professional world could help us do that.

This article is provided by RBC Wealth Management on behalf of Gary Kiemele, a Financial Advisor at RBC Wealth Management, and may not be exclusive to this publication. The information included in this article is not intended to be used as the primary basis for making investment decisions. RBC Wealth Management does not endorse this organization or publication. Consult your investment professional for additional information and guidance.

RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC.