By Tyler C. Gilley, CFP®, AIF®, Associate Wealth Advisor at Halbert Hargrove.

Retirement can be a daunting prospect for many individuals who have spent decades in the workforce, building their careers and identities around their professions. While the idea of finally having time to relax and enjoy life is enticing, the reality of retirement can be a challenging adjustment. What happens when the daily grind is no longer part of your life? How do retirees fill their newfound free time?

Below we will delve into various ways retirees can make the most of their retirement by engaging in hobbies, volunteering, focusing on health, traveling, connecting with loved ones, pursuing lifelong learning, and exploring part-time work or entrepreneurial ventures. If you’re wondering what to do after
retirement, explore these six ideas.

1. Rekindling Cherished Hobbies and Discovering New Ones

Rekindling your passion for cherished hobbies and interests can be invigorating, filling your life with joy and satisfaction. The newfound freedom enables you to revisit pastimes, such as painting, playing musical instruments, or cultivating a garden, without the constraints of a work schedule. This allows you to devote more time to honing your skills and fully immersing yourself in your interests.

Our clients often tell us about ways they enjoy spending their free time, but that time is usually severely limited particularly during the peak earning years of one’s career. Many look forward to reclaiming time on the calendar to plan the next fishing trip or sign up for music classes without planning around the 9-5 workday.

Retirement also presents the perfect opportunity to discover new hobbies and learn unique skills. You can explore creative outlets like photography or pottery, join dance lessons or language classes, or take up sports such as golf, tennis, or even sailing. Diversifying your hobbies enables you to stay mentally and physically agile, while also fostering a sense of achievement and personal growth.

2. Volunteering and Giving Back to the Community

Volunteering during retirement often leads to a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment. You can make a significant impact on the lives of others while simultaneously forging new connections within your community. A plethora of opportunities are available, from mentoring young people and supporting local non-profit organizations to participating in community events, beautification projects, or environmental conservation efforts.

In addition to enriching your own life, volunteering solidifies your relationships with others. These shared experiences promote lasting friendships, create a strong support network, and foster a renewed sense of belonging within your community.

Some of the most compelling stories we hear from our clients are those in which they have the chance to give back—both through their time and money—to organizations that have impacted them personally. Whether it’s an animal shelter where they adopted the family pet or the hospital that helped a loved one overcome an illness, many people have experienced the generosity and compassion of others and, upon retiring, are then themselves able to have the same positive impact.

3. Staying Active and Focused on Health

You won’t need to look too far for someone to tell you their demanding schedule makes it difficult to maintain a consistent healthy and active lifestyle (and yes, I’m including myself in that category). It is often tempting to play the “I’m too busy” card and put off those behaviors that promote our overall health.

Adopting an active lifestyle is essential for you to fully enjoy your newfound freedom and maintain overall well-being. Regular exercise offers numerous physical and mental health benefits, including increased strength, flexibility, balance, and improved mood. Group fitness classes, walking clubs, and sports leagues provide opportunities for both physical activity and social interaction, further enhancing your quality of life.

Focusing on nutrition is also crucial for your health. With more leisure time, you can explore new recipes, experiment with different cuisines, or even grow your own fruits and vegetables in a home garden. Learning about nutrition and adopting a balanced diet can significantly improve your energy levels, overall health, and longevity. You may choose to join cooking classes, attend nutrition workshops, or participate in healthy eating clubs to further expand your knowledge and enjoy a shared culinary experience.

4. Traveling and Exploring the World

For those seeking adventure and cultural immersion, traveling and exploring the world can be a fulfilling and eye-opening experience. With newfound freedom, you can plan extended vacations, such as month-long stays in your favorite countries, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in different cultures.

You can visit famous landmarks, explore off-the-beaten-path destinations, and sample local cuisines, enriching your understanding of the world and its diverse inhabitants. You may also choose to volunteer or participate in educational travel programs, combining your passion for exploration with a desire to give back and learn from other communities.

Many of our clients have been steadily building their own bucket list as they get closer to retirement age. Drawing inspiration from work trips, family vacations, or even scrolling through travel blogs and social media, retirees often have several places in mind that they can’t wait to visit (or revisit) when life slows down and they are afforded the opportunity to book a trip without worrying about burning through precious vacation days.

5. Connecting with Family and Friends

Retirement is an opportune time to nurture relationships with family and friends, building on the foundation of shared history and experiences. You can use this time to attend important family events, such as birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries, without the constraints of a working schedule.This can include simple opportunities such as attending grandchildren’s youth sporting events as well as larger life changes such as relocating in order to live closer to loved ones. You can plan regular get-togethers, such as weekly dinners or annual reunions, to maintain close connections with your loved ones.

In addition to strengthening existing relationships, retirement offers the chance to build new social networks. By joining clubs, organizations, or participating in community events, you can forge connections with people who share your interests and values, providing a sense of camaraderie and social support.

6. Lifelong Learning and Personal Growth

The pursuit of knowledge and personal growth doesn’t have to end with retirement. In fact, engaging in lifelong learning can be a highly rewarding and intellectually stimulating endeavor for you. By attending lectures, pursuing hobbies, or exploring new subjects, you can continue to grow and develop, fostering a sense of curiosity and mental agility.

Furthermore, you may choose to share your knowledge and skills with others by becoming mentors, tutors, or coaches, contributing to the growth of others while also enhancing your own sense of purpose and fulfillment. By embracing lifelong learning and personal growth, you can maintain a strong sense of self and well-being throughout your golden years.

7. The Bottom Line on Enjoying Retirement 

This phase of life allows you to fully immerse yourself in the activities and pursuits you are passionate about, creating a fulfilling and vibrant post-retirement experience. By staying engaged and active within your community, you can forge new connections, discover new interests, and continue to make meaningful contributions to society. This active approach to retirement not only enhances your overall well-being but also enriches your life by fostering a sense of purpose and belonging.

As you navigate this exciting chapter of your life, it is essential to remember that the key to a fulfilling retirement lies in embracing new experiences, fostering personal growth, and maintaining a strong sense of community. The golden years provide a unique opportunity to explore new horizons, deepen relationships, and leave a lasting, positive impact on the world. So, here’s to making the most of retirement and thriving in this extraordinary phase of life!


Halbert Hargrove Global Advisors, LLC (“HH”) is an SEC registered investment adviser located in Long Beach, California. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Additional information about HH, including our registration status, fees, and services can be found at This blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as personalized investment advice. It should not be construed as a solicitation to offer personal securities transactions or provide personalized investment advice. The information provided does not constitute any legal, tax or accounting advice. We recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney and accountant.