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August 12, 2009 – Comments (5)

Here's a question I regularly ask in my Rule Your Retirement service: Do you really want to retire? 

I've met plenty of ex-retirees who gave up work, but then gave up not-working because they found retirement pretty boring. 

A recent article in U.S. New & World Report may explain why. It highlights the differences between how retirees and how workers spend their time. Retirees spend a little more time than the wage-slaves sleeping, eating, shopping, and doing household chores. But the real difference is that the average retiree watches almost 90 minutes more TV a day. 

From the article: 

How Seniors Age 65 to 74 Spend Their Day in Hours
(Results for the total population age 15 and older are in parenthesis.)

    * Personal care activities (including sleep) 9.51 (9.39)
    * Eating and drinking 1.46 (1.23)
    * Household activities 2.27 (1.73)
    * Purchasing goods and services 0.92 (0.77)
    * Caring for household members 0.09 (0.53)
    * Caring for nonhousehold members 0.31 (0.23)
    * Work 1.23 (3.73)
    * Education 0.02 (0.47)
    * Civic and Religious activities 0.54 (0.33)
    * Leisure and sports 7.12 (5.18)
          o Watching TV 3.96 (2.55)
          o Sports and exercise 0.29 (0.27)
          o Socializing 0.62 (0.54)
          o Reading 0.77 (0.32)
          o Relaxing/thinking 0.41 (0.27)
          o Leisure computer use 0.35 (0.31)
    * Telephone calls, mail, and e-mail 0.25 (0.21)
    * Other activities 0.29 (0.20)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008.

Now, if your vision of the ideal retirement involves more eating, sleeping, shopping, and TV, then this might be right up your alley. "It sure beats working," you might be saying. 

But for me -- and I suspect others -- I'm not deferring current consumption in order to linger longer in bed, at the table, at the mall, or in front of the tube.

When it comes to retirement, you should have a plan for how you'll spend your time as well as your money. Otherwise, it'll get frittered away, like the cash in your wallet. And for retirees, it's their last chance to make the most of their time. 

 

Robert Brokamp is the senior advisor for The Motley Fool's Rule Your Retirement service. 

5 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 12, 2009 at 2:00 PM, russiangambit (29.42) wrote:

I threre was a way to work let's say 2-3 days a week or 4 hours a day, most would choose that. I would choose that right now actually. But part-time jobs are usually low pay. Regualr white-colalr jobs are all 9 hours (at least), so it is all or nothing proposition.

I wouldn't mind those extra-sleeping hours. Also, where does kids home work goes? It takes 2 hours every day in our family  - into caring for  household members- 0.09? These are some strange statistics, I tell you. And who on earth has time to watch TV 3 hours each day? Commute to work - 2-3 hr each day, where is that?

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#2) On August 12, 2009 at 2:36 PM, Imperial1964 (98.31) wrote:

I agree.  Working part time would be the best solution.  But it's really difficult to find a part-time job with health benefits.

I know I won't have much difficulty figuring out what to do if I was retired.

And if I watched another hour of TV per day (up from less than a half-hour now) and sleep a little later in the morning I would consider my life all the richer.

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#3) On August 12, 2009 at 4:04 PM, lemoneater (78.23) wrote:

I know of retirees who find in very rewarding to help with their local literacy chapter.

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#4) On August 12, 2009 at 4:42 PM, alexxlea (60.30) wrote:

I am an absolute adrenaline and fun fiend and I would die of boredom if that was my life.

I think my life consists of

eating

sleeping

fun stuff.

I don't think I'll ever retire unless the stock market stops altogether. 

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#5) On August 19, 2009 at 4:46 AM, BravoBevo (99.97) wrote:

My hope and prayer is that folks will consider seriously how precious time is (especially at an elderly age) and will resist the stereotypical American dream of retirement. 

I can recommend this little 29-page pamphlet (in a .pdf file) titled "Rethinking Retirement".

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