Retirees have become a completely different breed. In the past, those who quit working life were almost exclusively elderly people preparing to spend the rest of their lives at ease. In the US, about 65% of workers retire by the time they reach age 65. Many people are even opting to retire while in their 50s. Of those who wait until they are older to retire are likely to be more adventurous and interested a remaining active following their exit from the daily grind. While there are still plenty of people filling retirement communities and scheduling lunches around their golf games, there are now a seemingly-endless variety of ways retirees are choosing to spend their time.
Rather than retire to a rocking chair, an increasing number of people are using their retirement to see new adventures and learning. Fitter than the retirees of the past, they are flocking to foreign retreats like the Kung Fu Retreat in Thailand. Eager to learn new skills and challenge themselves physically, they are flocking to classes in yoga, martial arts, surfing, and other sports. Exotic locations make these types of retreats particularly appealing since they also provide the opportunity experience new cultures.
Classes in cooking, art, and golf, for example, have long attracted retirees. While hobby-level classes remain popular, many retirees are now taking learning to the next level,completing longer-term training or even earning certificates or degrees. In some cases, this training is simply for personal enrichment. For others, this training facilitates the launching of a second career and pursue of a dream.
Past generations seemed to automatically gravitate toward retirement homes in the typical locations at the nearest coast. Now more retirees are looking beyond that to find their dream retirement homes. From Mexico to Croatia, locations with moderate weather and interesting cultures are seeking an influx of adventure-seeking retirees. This is partly due to the desire to spread retirement income further by living in locations with a lower cost of living. Aside from costs and weather, however, many are simply seeking ways to enjoy a more interesting way of life.
Rather than save their pensions for periodic splurges on travel, they are choosing to live in exotic locations that allow them to experience the wonder of exploration year-round.
Retirees have always played an important role in volunteer organizations. In some cases, the bulk of the work and fund-raising may be performed almost exclusively by retirees. The difference is now many retirees are no longer satisfied with a low-key approach to volunteering. From former US President Jimmy Carter to your local school teacher, retirees are actively participating as they volunteer.
Building houses for those in need, providing services to remote village, or assisting victims of natural disasters, retirees are looking for ways to get their hands dirty while giving back.
Fortunately, organizations are catching on to the hard work and expertise retirees are able to provide and are making more volunteer opportunities available.