By Ronald White,
vice president and senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in Atlanta
When thinking of retirement, we often associate it with nap times and tee times. However, today’s retirees show no plans of slowing down or staying put. With the baby boomer generation moving into retirement, the leisure travel economy is well positioned to grow tremendously—reaching a total of $4.6 trillion over the next twenty years.
While many are looking ahead to summer travel and beachside vacations, today’s retirees are looking at leisure in a whole new way.
Retirees are rejecting “yesterday’s model of old age” and redefining leisure across every day and special occasion activities. Not just through weekend getaways or summer travel, but through transformative life experiences—helping cultivate overall health and emotional well-being—and transitioning from a structured work-oriented environment.
As retirees shift from a “workaholic” lifestyle and enter into the most “time affluent” stage of their lives—many focus on opportunities to find a new hobby, volunteer locally, plan the trip of a lifetime or spend quality time with family and friends. Seventy-two percent of retirees say they want to try new activities in leisure—compared to doing things they’ve already done.
In Atlanta and the South Atlantic region, retirees prefer to try new things in their leisure vs. things they’ve already done. They are also most likely to say they’re having fun in retirement, compared to all other regions across the country.
Leisure activities can become expensive, which is why retirees should consider building them into their long-term financial goals. As an example, over the past twelve months, retirees in the South Atlantic region spent an average of $3,500 on leisure activities.
Overall, while 86 percent of retirees nationally say it’s easy to find inexpensive leisure activities to enjoy, many feel they can generally do more to plan ahead.
Ultimately, leisure activities in retirement, if well-planned-for, can present many opportunities to not only relax and potentially improve personal health through reduced stress, but bring lifelong dreams to life.
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