Your time is now. Okay, maybe your precise retirement isn’t right now. But it’s coming, and along with preparing for your financial transition, you should start considering all the incredible things to do in retirement.
What follows is a list of some interesting and even off-beat retirement gigs intended to get those creative time-management juices flowing. After all, having enough money in retirement is just the beginning. Finding personalized and creative ways to spend your future will make all that hard work and sacrifice worthwhile.
- Become a Lighthouse Keeper or Fire Station Lookout: According to the Canadian Lighthouse Keepers Association, there are still more than 200 manned lighthouses worldwide. Many lighthouses are in need of tour guides, as well. Prefer the mountains to the sea? The Forest Fire Lookout Association of America lists thousands of jobs and volunteer positions for people who wouldn’t mind manning a mountain top in the wild for several weeks at a time.
- Teach: We all want to make a difference, so here’s the perfect opportunity: Mentor a teenager, or, better yet, an entire classroom. Quality teachers are always in demand! Your experience will change a young life for the better.
- Go Back to School: Not the teaching type? The oldest student at Harvard this year is 95. Colleges and universities around the globe are working hard to attract mature people. The admission standards and costs are lower for retirees. The average age of an undergraduate at the Sorbonne in Paris is now 45! What’s more, college towns in America are great places to live, and universities such as Penn State and Michigan State actually have specially designed retirement villages right on campus.
- Write Your Memoir: Everyone has a story. Everyone. Writing is not easy, but it’s therapeutic, and whether it’s a cookbook, a novel, or a how-to manual, putting your passion or experience down on paper is a terrific way to spend your time.
- Work in a Resort: All across the Caribbean and throughout the world are resorts that love to hire experienced people as hosts, guides, and managers. Club Med likes to boast that they have 6,000 employees over the age of 65 working in their 80 properties worldwide.
- Become a Long-Haul Trucker: Want to really see the country? Did you know that the American Trucking Association (ATA) has 20,000 immediate openings for long-haul truckers? Getting a long-haul trucker’s license can take as little as two months. The ATA has even started a recruitment campaign aimed at retirees, and seem especially interested in luring husband and wife teams to get behind the wheel of a big-rig.
- Museum or Park Docent: Practically every one of the 58 national parks and more than 35,000 museums in America rely on volunteers to provide tours and information to visitors; most providing comprehensive training programs. Volunteering in a museum or a national park is a great way to learn, meet people, and stay active.
- Become a Street Musician: An important part of a healthy, happy retirement comes from successfully reinventing yourself. How about attempting something completely out of the box? I actually heard of a retiree who spent his career as a police detective. Once he retired, he scratched his creative itch by spending a day each month juggling on a busy street corner in Chicago. Of course, it doesn’t have to be juggling or playing the guitar. Are you an introvert? Community theater is calling you. Perhaps begin as a volunteer stage hand, but promise yourself that eventually you’ll make a move and audition for a part in an actual play.
The fact is that while many people are financially prepared for the transition into retirement, they are emotionally unprepared for how they're going to spend their time once they stop working. As part of our ongoing commitment to your future, I’ll be writing more articles concerned with the “other,” oft-neglected aspects of retirement: Happiness and time management.