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Friday, April 1, 2011

Retirement - The Best Use of Leisure Time

If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.~ William Arthur Ward

Gone are the days of rushing to work, fighting traffic, meeting deadlines, hurried lunches and working overtime. Retirement is the time to slow down, blow off responsibilities, relax and play. This is your clients’ reward for all their years of hard work.

The question now is – what are your clients going to do with their leisure time? Can they pull off total leisure or will they need to blend it with other activity such as volunteering or a part-time job?

As a retiree, a client needs to build a balanced leisure lifestyle so as not to fall into a rut. Though each person must design his or her own activity mix, have your clients consider a mix that includes at least one activity in each of the following leisure categories:

1. Entertainment – i.e. reading, attending concerts, watching a favorite television show, dining out. Encourage each client to choose one or two as part of their ‘entertainment package’

2. Education. In retirement, just as in life, clients need to keep learning. A client may consider learning a new language, learning a new craft, studying genealogy. As with ‘entertainment’ have him or her consider adding at least one education activity to the leisure mix.

3. Travel. One way to add variety is to travel. The opportunities available to retirees are numerous.

4. Sports. Every client should have at least one sport. Whether it is hiking, biking, golf, swimming, fishing, playing tennis or power walking. The benefit to having a sport is staying physically fit.

5. Social Activities. Interacting with others is important at all stages of life, and especially as clients age. As part of human nature we are social beings and it’s the activities involving others that help us meet our social needs. Your clients may consider joining a social or service club, attending bingo or visiting friends - anything that gets them out of the house into a social setting.

6. Hobbies. Encourage your clients to find at least one hobby that interests them – an activity that gives them pleasure and is engaging without being overly time consuming.

Finding the right combination of entertainment, education, travel, sports, social activities and hobbies to match a client’s lifestyle and personality takes time and effort. Encourage your clients to experiment with their leisure activity selection until they find the right mix.

The trap of not creating a balanced leisure life is procrastination. Don’t let your clients put off their search! Start talking about the importance of building a balanced leisure lifestyle and encouraging them to check out the fun stuff. Get clients building their leisure plan today!

Richard (Rick) Atkinson, Founder and President of RA Retirement Advisors, is an expert in pre-retirement planning. He is author of the best-selling book, Don't Just Retire - Live It, Love It! Rick facilitates workshops for clients of advisors and others. He is available for speaking engagements. Twitter: @dontjustretire.