Successful Retirement

You're planning to retire!

What does one need in order to really enjoy the retirement years? A plan. There is no single formula for successful retirement because each individual must decide for him or herself how he/she wants to live during the retirement years.

However, everyone must prepare for the emotional, physical and financial realities of retirement. Fortunately, the number of resources to help shape one's plan are increasing every day.

This article will provide a sampling of the wisdom these resources offer, and will steer you toward more information.

What will the future hold?

In a recent survey, 68% of respondents had no formal preparation for retirement. What type of planning is most important? Financial planning, answered 24.3%, but a surprising 23% indicated that developing interests to pursue in retirement was most important.

One big mistake that many people make is assuming that retirement is going to be a continuation of your old life. It’s not really a vacation from the work world, because you will not return to the work world. It will involve major changes in the routine that governed every aspect of your life.

Once you retire, you will have a full 45 to 50 hours a week of extra free time. Even the most absorbing of hobbies and interests may not fill that time entirely.

As you plan for retirement, visualize your future. Think through your ideal post-retirement day, in specifics, not generalities. Begin to develop interests and activities before you retire that will provide you with a variety of pursuits, from hobbies to volunteering to a part-time job or small business.

Financial Planning

You absolutely, positively cannot retire without the financial means to support yourself. This doesn't mean, however, that you have to be independently wealthy. With solid financial planning and realistic savings and investment goals, it is entirely possible to retire and maintain your pre-retirement standard of living.

There are many references to use in planning and evaluating your retirement finances. Many financial planners and investment counselors market services whereby they evaluate your current situation and make recommendations to you.

Investigate any financial consultant you are considering carefully before you begin a relationship. Friends and colleagues may be a good source of referrals. In any case, always check out references. Your local library contains many helpful books about financial planning for retirement. Read about your options -- the earlier the better!

Wait a Minute!
I'm Not Particularly Keen about the Whole Idea of Retirement

How can I diminish the disadvantages of retirement?

Author Carole Sinclair advises, "If a job gives your life structure, plan to replace that structure in retirement." It is important to recognize and understand that many people, both men and women, receive a great deal besides a paycheck from their jobs. People can depend, Sinclair says, on:

People also can find camaraderie, and an opportunity for involvement with other people on the job. Work is where many people find most of their intellectual challenges.

Are you really ready for total retirement? Many national surveys (including those by the American Association of Retired Persons), show that many people who retire really don't want to. Take careful stock of whether you really want to lose the structure of the working world.

If you are forcibly retired, or are unhappy in your current job, you have other alternatives than just a lifetime of unstructured leisure. Now more than ever, older adults are headed back to school, or into other careers, or into volunteer work after their long-time careers end.

Here are just a few options to consider:

Retirement will change your life completely -- it will increase your leisure time, certainly, but it also will affect your relationships, and it may intensify your fear of aging. Your happiness depends on understanding your own needs and structuring your life to meet those needs.

Part-Time Work

Balancing part-time work and leisure in retirement may be the answer for many people who would be unhappy without some type of work structure in their lives. You may find the right job for you in your own small business or in working a few hours or days a week for someone else.

Sources of Information on Part-Time Work for Retirees:
(There is a slight charge for some of these materials):

Over 55 Employment Service, 1245 East Washington Avenue, Suite 287, Madison, WI 53703 (608) 255-5585.

Back to Work After Retirement, Superintendent of Documents, GPO, Washington, D.C. 20402

How to Get the Job You Want After 40, Pilot Books, 347 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016

How to Start a Profitable Retirement Business, Pilot Books, 347 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016

New Horizons for the Housewife, Pilot Books, 347 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Employment and Volunteer Opportunities for Older People, Consumer Information, Public Documents, Distribution Center, Pueblo, CO 81009

Volunteer Work

All of the following organizations and many more are always eager for volunteers: Community organizations, churches, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, political and civic affairs, government programs, and cultural organizations.

What are the keys to happy and successful retirement?

Good Planning

The most important aspect of adjusting to retirement is good planning for a smooth transition. The authors of Retiring on Your Own Terms suggest a "retirement rehearsal." Consider their rehearsal plan:

Dr. James Hutchinson, a retired college professor, also has developed a practical and upbeat guide for adults who are about to retire. Here are ten tips from him:

James H. Hutchinson's Ten Steps to Successful Retirement

from Ten Steps to Successful Retirement by James H. Hutchinson, Ph.D.

    1. Set Goals and Objectives
    2. Keep (or Develop!) a Sense of Humor
    3. Education
    4. Travel
    5. Hobbies
    6. Physical Fitness and Nutrition
    7. Part-Time Work
    8. Volunteer Work
    9. Where to Live?

Let's take a closer look at a few of Dr. Hutchinson's points.

Set Goals and Objectives

Hutchinson says:

A Sense of Humor

Dr. Hutchinson advises that "Retirement gives one the perfect opportunity to cultivate a sense of humor because it can be perfected, free of the grind and aggravations of the daily work world."

Humor enables you to be more open to change and more interested in the world around you.


There are many opportunities for older adults who have a desire to learn something new. Why not work toward a degree in something that's always interested you? Or if working toward a degree sounds too stressful, why not just take a few courses? Classes are available everywhere from the University to your neighborhood craft store.

Some formal educational opportunities are developed with older adults in mind. Dr. Hutchinson cites three: Elderhostel, the Smithsonian Associates Program, and the Open Door Program.


Hutchinson's enthusiasm is contagious:


Retirement is a wonderful time to develop new hobbies or delve more fully into hobbies you had enjoyed in the past. Hobbies are much more than ways to pass the time -- they can be a rich source of personal satisfaction, an avenue to meet new people, and a opportunity for creativity. A wide sampling of the choices available to you is provided later in this article.

Physical Fitness and Nutrition

Are these habits of yours?

These habits can shorten your life! Exercise can make a huge difference in the way you feel. The best exercises are walking, (for twenty minutes, three times a week, preferably on alternate days), bicycling, and swimming.

Why not also try some activities (such as dancing or gardening) that combine exercise and fun?

Where to Live

Many people relocate almost automatically after retiring. Dr. Hutchinson says,

Dr. Hutchinson advises that you think very carefully about such things as:

Weather and Climate
Proximity to Family and Friends Ease of Access The Neighborhood Financial Considerations Help! He's retiring!

The adjustment will involve both of you!

Perhaps the retirement you need to plan for most isn't your own -- it may be your spouse’s! How can you minimize the stress on your relationship?

The 10 Most Important Keys to Living With a Retired Husband

from Keys to Living with a Retired Husband,
Gloria Bledsoe Goodman. 1991. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.

    1. Live for the present. There are times for nostalgia and remembrances of things past, but the majority of your life together should be built on the here and now, and the tomorrow. Don't be afraid to try the new and different.

    2. Learn to communicate and remember that good communication is as much listening as it is talking.

    3. Keep your sense of humor and share your humor with your husband.

    4. Take care of yourself -- and make time for yourself.

    5. When you're angry, fight fair. Don't drag up hurtful experiences from the past. "Keep accusatory statements (Why did you . . . You never. . . ) out of your tone and out of your life."

    6. Be as polite to your mate as you are to your friends.

    7. If you and your mate are having problems, work at once on solving them.

    8. Think of your husband as the man you married, and remind yourself of the traits that first attracted you to him.

    9. “Keep your husband comfortable, respected, and desired. Men whose wives provide these three essentials are lucky indeed."

    10. “These are your golden years -- a sentimental way of putting it but nonetheless the truth -- so do not waste them.”

Resources for Retirement

Resources to Help You Stay Active and Involved:

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
Formed in 1958, the AARP is a strong and vocal supporter of the rights and abilities of older adults. The AARP provides older adults with information through its newsletter and Modern Maturity magazine (which boasts the third largest magazine circulation in the country). It publishes a number of booklets on topics related to retirement and the realities of modern life for older adults. The AARP provides a number of contracted services for its members to purchase, including a pharmacy, investment program, and a motoring plan.

The AARP sponsors educational and service programs and has many volunteer programs for members to join. The AARP also advocates for older adult issues at the local, state and national government.

For more information, contact:
AARP National Headquarters
1909 K St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20049

National Council of Senior Citizens
Also an advocate for older adults and their families, the NCSC has four million members nationwide. The NCSC publishes a number of informational pamphlets for members and their families and offers members insurance and health plans and recreation and travel discounts.

For more information, write or call:
National Council of Senior Citizens
925 15th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 2005
(202) 347-8800

National Institute on Aging
Established in 1974 by the Research on Aging Act to conduct and support biomedical, social and behavioral research and training related to the aging processes and diseases and other special problems and needs of the aging, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) has done much important research into the health of older adults.

In addition to conducting and sponsoring research, the NIA also provides informational publications about a wide variety of topics such as Alzheimer’s Disease and the safe use of medications.

For more information, write or call:
NIA Information Center
2209 Distribution Circle
Silver Springs, MD 20910
(301) 495-3455

National Senior Citizens Law Center
The National Senior Citizens Law Center assists senior citizens of limited incomes by acting as legal advocates. NSCLC attorneys provide assistance to older adults in the following areas:

The NSCLC works primarily by supporting attorneys who work in field programs. The NSCLC does not usually get involved in matters such as landlord/tenant disputes, or other areas of the law that are not specifically related to older adults. However, your local Legal Aid office or local bar association may be able to provide you with low cost or free legal services if you cannot afford to hire an attorney to represent you.

For more information about the NSCLC, contact:
1052 W. 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(213) 482-3550

Gray Panthers
A national organization of more than 60,000, the Gray Panthers work for political change. They focus on the areas of peace, health care and aging. They often organize letter writing and lobbying campaigns. Your local chapter can also refer you to local senior assistance resources.

For more information, contact:
Gray Panthers
311 S. Juniper Street, Suite 601
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 545-6555

For More Information on Successful Retirement

Cort-Van Arsdale, Diana, and Phyllis Newman. Transitions: A Woman's Guide to Successful Retirement. HarperCollins Publishers, New York, N.Y. 1991.

Ellison, James W., Doris Reardon, Michael L. Freedman, M.D., Herbert Mayo, Ph. D., and Robert F. Palmerton. Retiring on Your Own Terms. Crown Publishers, Inc. New York. 1989.

Friedman, Roslyn and Annette Nussbaum. Coping with Your Husband's Retirement. Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1986.

Fry, Patricia. "Retirement: The Inner Plan." The Catholic Digest. October 1996.

Goodman, Gloria Bledsoe. Keys to Living with a Retired Husband. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 1991.

Howells, John. Retirement on a Shoestring. Gateway Books, San Rafeal, CA. 1992.

Hutchinson, James H., Ph.D. Ten Steps to Successful Retirement. Desktop Communications. 1989.

Kaplan, Lawrence J. Retiring Right: Planning for Your Successful Retirement. Avery Publishing. 1990.

Otte, Elmer. Retirement Rehearsal Guidebook. 1984.

Smith, Wesley J. The Senior Citizens' Handbook. Price Stern Sloan, Inc. Los Angeles, CA. 1989.

Sinclair, Carole. When Women Retire: The Problems They Face and How To Solve Them. Crown Publishers, New York, N.Y. 1992.

James Hutchinson's List of Activity Hobbies

Mosaic Art: Creating designs using tiny pieces of glass pebbles, tiles, or seeds. This is an ancient art that is once again thriving.

Pottery and Ceramics: Creating something from the raw earth, experimenting with shape and color. This hobby is enormously satisfying: consequently, pottery making is one of the fastest growing crafts.

Jewelry Making: This hobby can be confined to a relatively small space and requires no great outlay of money for tools and materials. It is wise, however, to work with a teacher at the beginning since there are tricks to soldering, setting stones and working with metal. This is also a potentially good income producer.

Woodworking: Here's another choice that has income-producing potential since skilled woodworkers, carpenters, and furniture restorers are much in demand.

Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting, Weaving: As pastimes, these handicrafts have the virtue of being readily started and stopped as time permits. As moneymakers, they are somewhat limited by competition.

Drawing, Painting, and Sculpting: Look into these arts even if you think you have no talent. Sign up for lessons. You may be surprised at the results. At the least, you'll find that an increased sensitivity to shape and composition will make you view the world through new eyes; at the most, you'll find a rewarding pursuit to enrich your life.

Artificial Flowers: They are made from special papers, ribbons, fabrics, buttons and beads -- even shells.

Basketry: An old, old craft dating back to man's beginning. Basket makers often combine their hobbies with nature lore and spend hours gathering and preparing natural materials for their projects.

Beadwork: Beads date back to the earliest of civilizations. They are made of seed, shells, glass metal, wood, precious and semi-precious stones and plastics. This hobby requires good eyesight but is clean and inexpensive.

Bookbinding: Simple sewing skills, exactness and love for books are all this hobby requires.

Caning: Caning is almost a lost art. Anyone looking for an interesting hobby with some income possibilities would do well to investigate caning.

Gem Cutting or Lapidary: You don't need to be a geology major to enjoy this hobby. Appreciation for beauty of color and design and the patience to work with a specimen until its full potential of beauty is realized are what it takes. Not all lapidaries hunt out their own specimens, so you don't have to be a rock hound to enjoy gem cutting.

Leathercraft: Leathercraft is a versatile hobby. There are many different ways of working leather -- each equally interesting, each practical and functional, each different enough from the other to offer a variety of possibilities to the craftsman to maintain his interest for a lifetime.

Metalwork: There are many metals and a number of ways of working with them. Some methods require considerable equipment and special shop space; others are possible at home with a few tools. The methods by which some or all of these metals can be worked are engraving, etching, stamping, tooling and turning.

Macrame: With a little string, you can make key rings or belts; with a lot, you can make planters or wall-hangings.

Antique Refinishing and Restoring: This hobby requires considerable patience -- a quality which you just may need to develop. For those who love beautiful woods and like to see them at their lustrous best, each finished piece is a triumph.

Model Building: Model trains, ships, airplanes, stage coaches; models of old machines and models of new; solid models; working models -- the hobbyist with a yen for model building has a hobby good for a lifetime.

Candle Making: Candle making is enjoying a burgeoning popularity as a fine craft and as an amateur's hobby. Only a few simple materials and tools are required to make your own handsome candles.

Upholstering: Upholstering takes a hobbyist with some skill who has experimented enough to know that he can generally finish what he has started out to do. A class in upholstering would be a good place to start, as this hobby does require rather exact skills. Strong hands and nimble fingers are a real asset.

Woodcarving: One has only to visit Oberammergau, West Germany, to be awed and inspired by this craft. Every child in this town is taught to carve. Small wonder that it's the Mecca for wood carvers. Don't count woodcarving out as a possible hobby for you until you give it a fair trial.

Winemaking: With experience you can attempt to reproduce in your own wines the characteristics you find most desirable in fine vintage wines. A good wine-tasting class usually precedes the interest created in this hobby.

Music: Learn to play an instrument, collect or make folk instruments, attend concerts, add to your record and tape collections, join a chorus or orchestra, or form your own. Music is an ideal interest because it lends itself to both solitary and social enjoyment.

Writing: There is an old saying that each of us has a story to tell -- in writing. Even if you have never published, putting your thoughts and experiences on paper and reading them can give you a powerful boost toward a long dormant ambition or goal.

Sports and games: Many people get great excitement from watching and participating in sports. You don't have to possess any physical qualifications to make it as a fan, and fortunately there are a number of "moderate" sports like tennis, golf, boating, snorkeling, fishing, bowling, etc., which are of value for exercise and fun for most of us. Be careful not to overdose yourself on "spectator" sports. Cooking: The culinary arts are growing in popularity, especially among men. If cooking appeals to you, why not try a few of the basic recipes liked by your family and close friends and invite them to serve as "guinea pigs" for your gourmet treats?

Camping: Camping can run the gamut from the extremely primitive to the more luxury type. You should pick the kind that suits your temperament, camping skills, and pocketbook. State and Federal campgrounds are easily accessible from anywhere, and you can pick up a directory at any bookstore.

Dramatics: This hobby involves more than just acting. Each play needs its readers, directors, stage set designers, stagehands, prompters, and publicity and promotion personnel. Lack of acting talent or skill is no excuse for not participating in this hobby.

Gardening: If you think gardening is too much work for what you get out of it, talk to some of your gardener friends. You'll see there is a oneness about a gardener and his or her garden. There is a wonder about this hobby which never dims, never fades, never fails to delight, and always makes that person count the days "till planting season.

Walking: Whether you are a long distance hiker or a short distance walker, the time spent walking can be a pleasure-filled experience. Most of us could walk a little each day and would be better off physically and mentally for it.

Photography: Photography is an activity hobby with legions of followers. Anyone choosing this hobby on a trial basis should be aware of the possibility of lifelong addiction. Those who have been "bitten" by the photography bug will tell you that they suffer no pain that taking another picture doesn't cure.

Reading: Too much could never be said for reading as an activity hobby. He who admits to a dull life has never really read a book. We can travel the world or be wildly adventurous right in our own armchairs. We can bring faraway things to hand or let ourselves be carried back to ages past through books. All the wisdom, beauty, knowledge, information, and inspirational thought that man has been able to put into words on a printed page we can make our own through reading. The individual with reading as a hobby holds the joy, the laughter, the beauty, the wisdom, the sorrow, and the hopes of man through the ages in the books he holds in his hands.

Museums: If you live in a community that has its own art and natural history museum, consider yourself in luck. Visiting museums can be a stimulating, satisfying and educational hobby. Whether they are art treasures or remnants from man's early existence, there is something for everyone to marvel at, enjoy, and learn.

Calligraphy: Easier than drawing or painting, calligraphy or "beautiful writing is making a comeback, especially among seniors. No one is too old to take up and enjoy this simple activity hobby that trains both eye and wrist and can be pursued equally well from your armchair or bed. You can use calligraphy simply to improve your handwriting and make it beautiful and legible, or you can letter greeting cards, or wedding and other formal announcements.

Magic: Providing you have patience and are ready for hours of practice you can make conjuring, popularly known as "magic, a fascinating and profitable hobby. You will be in demand at children's parties and fund-raising events, and in homes and hospitals for children and adults.

Clowning: If you ever had a secret yearning to be "on stage," now is your chance. As a clown, a mime, a ventriloquist, a puppeteer, you can escape into a world of fantasy and give untold pleasure to children and grown-ups in homes and hospitals.

Collecting Hobbies
Tips on Hobbies:

Collect only what you love, what you have room for, and what you can afford.

Match any hobby to your personality:
  1. Is this hobby really fun?
  2. Is this hobby too expensive for me?
  3. Am I physically able to become involved in this hobby?
  4. Does the hobby require more room than I can provide?
  5. Can I become involved in this hobby as an individual?
  6. Does this hobby afford opportunities to work with others?
  7. Do I really have time for this hobby?
  8. Do I have the aptitude, skill, or talent required by this hobby?

WAHSA 204 South Hamilton Street Madison, WI 53703
Telephone: (608)255-7060 FAX:(608)255-7064