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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cheap Fun in Retirement!

For hundreds of years, people have said that laughter is the best medicine. Laughing and having fun helps us relax. When we laugh our body produces endorphins that help cellular development and produces a feeling of wellbeing. This is not a new idea but rather one that has been pushed by the wayside in our ever-busy world. People don’t allocate enough time for fun and relaxation and for some, have even forgotten how.

How many of your clients are retired and not having fun? It is important for all of your senior clients to revisit how to have fun and you can help by suggesting ways to bring more ‘whimsy’ into their lives. Obviously your clients can go out and buy entertainment and a good time but here are some easy, very affordable ways to have some fun in everyday life:

    A. Take a trip to a toy store. Visit a toy store for the sole purpose of trying out the toys. Your clients will be surprised at the amount of fun they will have and the number of memories that spark from the visit.

    B. Play childhood games. Suggest to a client, with a partner, brainstorm what you played as children – this will help recall the games of youth. Then teach grandchildren how to play the games we grew up with – “I Spy”, “Ring-around-the-Rosie”, “Battleship”, “Find me!”

    C. Create a laugh-a-day challenge. Another suggested fun exercise. Challenge a partner to a laugh-a-day contest. The object is for each to come up with the best laugh of the day. They may use any materials they wish – newspapers, comics, cartoons, on-line jokes, skits, etc. Declare a winner at the end of the day and have a prize that can be battled for again and again.

    D. Go on a photo safari.
    Take a camera and try to obtain the most unusual photo within the house or neighborhood.

    E. Plan a surprise picnic. Prepare a surprise picnic lunch for a partner together with a blanket laid out in the back yard or on the living room floor. Ready a bottle of their favorite wine and when the partner arrives home, lead her into the yard or living room and have a delightful lunch.

    F. Organize a paper airplane flying contest. With the neighborhood children or grandchildren or both, teach them how to make paper airplanes and then have a contest on whose airplane will fly the farthest.

    G. Transform a room. Another fun thing to do with children is to transform the dining room into a fort by draping sheets over the table. Then pile cushions under and around the table and everyone be in the fort having a wonderfully imaginative time.

    H. Distribute stuffed animals. Buy several stuffed animals and distribute them at a local seniors’ home. When distributing the toys, take time to talk to the seniors. Find out something interesting about each person.

    I. Give anonymous and unexpected appreciation. The next time when in a supermarket, gas station or restaurant, give a sincere thank you to the clerk or server for doing a great job and then watch his or her facial expression. Call your doctor’s office to learn his birthday and send a card of appreciation.

    J. Give a partner a day off. One day every few weeks, tell a partner she has the day off to do whatever she wishes and that the cleaning, gardening, or whatever will be done. Have a delicious dinner prepared when she returns.

    K. Field trips. Take a trip to a local winery, brewpub, museum, art gallery, or antique shop. Make a day of it with lunch, a walking tour of the area and a leisurely time on a park bench.

    L. Volunteer for the next Santa Claus parade. Contact the local organizer of the Santa Claus parade or any other parade of choice, and volunteer to be a character within it. If necessary, plan and prepare the costumes.

The above are only a handful of ways your clients can have fun without having to spend a lot of money. Encourage them to let their imagination go wild. What would be fun to do? Encourage your clients to create a list. If they get stuck coming up with ideas, suggest fun ideas that have worked for you and others.

Remember to regularly ask clients what they are doing to have fun in their retirement. You may be surprised at what you hear. Pass on to other senior clients the great ideas shared with you - this way everyone wins!


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.