Do you have a hobby?

What do you think of when you hear the word hobby? By definition, hobby means, “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation”.

So why is a hobby so important in retirement? For one, it’s time. We’re going to have more time in retirement to pursue a hobby. We’ve worked most of our lives…sometimes at a job we love or could do without. Either way, we’ll have an extra 40+ hours a week to devote to something.

I have a hobby right now. I enjoy working with wood. Creating or building things is fun. And I have a garage full of half-finished projects to prove it! It’s also a great excuse to get new tools/toys for those unique projects.

I’ve also owned a guitar since I was 12. I’ve played it on and off over the years. (I’m in “off” mode right now.) Maybe I could pursue that hobby in retirement.

We also take our RV and go camping in the summer. That’s a hobby that both my wife and I enjoy. And once again, it’s an opportunity to get new gadgets and toys. Are you seeing a pattern here?

So, what hobby is the secret to a successful retirement?


It shouldn’t be a surprise…the answer to that will differ from person to person. But go ahead and take a look at some key things to consider when choosing a hobby in retirement.

Like the definition says, it should be fun or relaxing.

Take my woodworking as an example. I got all gung-ho and we opened a booth at an antique store. Of course, we had to fill it. So, I had to get more projects to make because I had to cover the cost of the booth. Then I had to keep tabs on the booth and keep it looking good to sell more stuff. There are too many “had to’s” in that scenario. Make sure you plan your hobby, so it doesn’t turn into something you dread. (I’m back to making one-at-a-time projects in my garage, now.)

Make sure your hobby is affordable.

It’s easy to justify a lot of expenses to occupy your time. Just make sure it is within your budget. What are the upfront costs of the hobby? What are the ongoing expenses? As an example, buying a boat might be affordable. But the ongoing costs, upkeep, storage, insurance, etc. need to be factored in as well. As a friend once said, BOAT stands for ‘bust out another thousand’.

Know your purpose.

Hobbies can be part of your retirement purpose. But don’t think purpose has to be some huge, world-changing phenomenon. My wife loves doing crafts. They greet her by name at Hobby Lobby! One time she made new-born hats and took them to the hospital. It gave her purpose, but also was something she enjoyed doing. Any time you can mix purpose with talents, it’s a win-win.

Determine your ideal hobby.

Your hobby doesn’t have to be fishing, woodworking or knitting. It can be a service-related activity. Think Habitat for Humanity or Team Rubicon. It can also be very small-scale hobbies like reading books to kids at your local school or taking baked goods to a nursing home.

The nice thing about hobbies in retirement…is that you can change your mind whenever you want. Don’t feel tied to a particular hobby. Start small and see if you like it. Part of the fun is finding new hobbies or skills to learn. Join a euchre club, learn to rhumba, take an underwater basket weaving class.

The flip side to that is that you don’t want to overwhelm yourself thinking you have to do a certain number of hobbies or activities. If it becomes stressful or un-fun, don’t do it.


woman painting hobby

Retirement should have the right dose

of purpose, relaxation, fun, and balance.


Transitioning from work-life to retirement can be a challenge. Don’t let boredom creep in and steal your happy. Plan ahead, think through and try out some different hobbies while you’re still working. See what you connect with that spending more time doing would be a good fit.

If you have a spouse, it’s great to find hobbies you can do together as well as apart. Having some “me-time” is good for everyone! Let your spouse know what you’d like to do. Help each other reach their hobby goals…both with time, finances and support. If you begrudge each other’s hobby, you won’t be happy campers.


Bottom Line:
If you don’t already, get a hobby. It’s a good idea in retirement.

Action Item:
Think through your hobby for fit, finances, purpose and relaxation. Include your spouse.