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Study: Leisure in Retirement
Old 12-31-2016, 04:34 PM   #1
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Study: Leisure in Retirement

This Merrill Lynch study (done in partnership with Age Wave) is an interesting read:

Leisure in Retirement: Beyond the Bucket List

Here are some highlights:

Leisure in retirement is far different than leisure before retirement. While pre-retirees view free time as precious and scarce, retirees tell us that they are happy to break free of the pressures and constraints of full time work and 79% report that they now have the amount of free time they desire…and they like it....

While still in their working years, most individuals forge their identity through their work and parenting roles. However, with age, identity becomes far more about the leisure activities and interests retirees choose....

Contrary to stereotypes that portray youth as a time of psycho-social vitality and maturity as a period of emotional decline, our study reveals that lifetime emotional wellbeing actually peaks in retirement. Feelings of happiness, contentment, and relaxation soar, while anxiety seems to plummet....

Most retirees (95%) say they would prefer to have more enjoyable experiences rather than buy more things. In today’s retirement, there are two general types of leisure activities – each with its own priorities and preferred activities. In “everyday leisure,” most retirees want to de-stress and improve their health. In “special occasion leisure,” peak experiences, adventure, and fun top the list....

The 4 stages of retirement leisure

Stage 1: Winding Down & Gearing Up:
≤5 years before retirement

Not surprisingly, 74% say work is a barrier to them
having more fulfilling leisure and many feel stressed
because they are so busy.

Stage 2: Liberation & Self-Discovery:
<2 years into retirement

There’s an enormous sense of liberation and relief as
most (78%) feel they finally have enough free time.
Nearly all (92%) say retirement provides them with
the freedom to now do what they want—and on their
own terms ... 72% want to try new leisure activities
compared to doing things they’ve already done.

Stage 3: Greater Freedom & New Choices:
3-15 years into retirement

As retirees further separate from full time work and
gain comfort with their post-work selves, “be-ing”
increasingly replaces “do-ing” and fewer have feelings
of guilt when not using leisure productively.

Stage 4: Contentment & Accommodation:
>15 years into retirement

Compared to other stages, people are most likely to
prioritize simplifying their lives.

"Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants."
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:37 AM   #2
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I enjoyed this. I have 3 months left in my stage 1. In that period, DW and I have been taking ~2 week trips to Europe and the national parks for the scenery and photography. I have had 6 weeks of vacation per year and used every day. This year we have 13 weeks of travel planned.

"The mountains are calling, and I must go." John Muir
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:22 AM   #3
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Wow, an intelligent report! (As opposed to some still working person's opinion or fantasy.)
Well, I thought I was retired. But it seems that now I'm working as a travel agent instead!
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
Wow, an intelligent report! (As opposed to some still working person's opinion or fantasy.)
Exactly. This must be a first - I can even identify with the categories ..
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Old 01-01-2017, 06:16 AM   #5
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Well into stage three, so far so good.
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
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Old 01-01-2017, 08:57 AM   #6
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Stage 3 here. I realized some time ago (maybe in the last year) that I finally have accepted that "being" as opposed to "doing" is....OK. A real revelation; I'm over the guilt that I couldn't shake when doing...nothing productive. Hobbies were always productive, as in woodworking or projects.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:38 AM   #7
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I love the comparison of "be-ing" vs "do-ing". Very apt.
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
micro pensions 7%, rental income 18%
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:42 AM   #8
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Hubby and I are definitely enjoying Stage 2....traveling in Australia for 3 months currently, spending each day at the beach, snorkeling, diving, hiking, sailing, yoga, and trying new things like SUP.....we are, however, probably part of the 12% who still feel like we don't have enough time!

We did just talk about the 'be-ing' and wondered if we would be happy with it (not knowing about the study). I concluded that I would be, if i 'plan' a do nothing Day. Hubby said he would be, as long as he is at the beach, or scuba diving, or on a boat....we'll know more in Year 3 I guess!
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:45 AM   #9
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I was in the gym a couple of days ago and overheard a conversation. A recent retiree was saying that he struggles with the idea that it's OK to "not be doing anything". The little voice in his head says, "you should be doing something." I'm 10 months into the retirement gig and I can relate to the feeling.
I won't say that I "struggle" with it, but I am aware of it. The model of "stages" makes perfect sense, as that is how we adapt to just about every major change in life that I can think of, from relocation, to divorce, to having kids, to having them move out....we deal with everything one stage at a time.
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Old 01-01-2017, 10:51 AM   #10
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Stage 2 for me and loving it. Wife tries to make me feel guilty about sometimes doing nothing, and it only bothers me for about 30 seconds.
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:04 AM   #11
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Stage 3 easing into stage 4 at 14 years of retirement. I'm still working on getting rid of "stuff" that I don't use much if at all.

Doing nothing troubles me not a bit.
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:07 AM   #12
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I hit stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 during my first week of retirement. So to me, it doesn't seem at all realistic. YMMV! And apparently for many of us, it does.

I never had that feeling that I should be doing something constructive. To me, that is for working folks, not for me now that I am retired. I absolutely KNOW that I have earned my retirement, in spades. I fought for it tooth and nail. No way am I going to waste my precious, hard-earned time by doing anything at all that I don't really want to do. Not any more.
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:12 AM   #13
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Time affluence? You bet. As for many other points, some of us have and will never fit neatly into society's expectations of who and what we should be. For some of us, it is the ability to be your best self, not a culturally accepted self, even in retirement.
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Old 02-21-2017, 05:39 PM   #14
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I'm at the beginning of stage #3 (3.5 years) and one of the hardest realizations is jealousy from others my age (46) who still "have" to w*rk. This has been a little tougher than I thought it would be. Most of my friends still w*rk.
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Old 02-21-2017, 05:58 PM   #15
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Stage 3 and life is good)
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Old 02-21-2017, 07:08 PM   #16
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2 years into full retirement with DH. We are at stage 2/3. We do now have enough time to do what we want when we want. After watching DS animals for 10 days we will head out in RV for 1 or 2 or 3 months to CA and over to New Mexico and do what? What we want when we want. No time it!
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Old 02-21-2017, 07:22 PM   #17
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At 2.89 years, I'm past stage 2 but haven't yet started stage 3. But Stage 3 traits have started. I'm starting to get comfortable "being" rather than "doing".
The wilderness is calling and I must go.
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Old 02-21-2017, 08:27 PM   #18
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Very encouraging and optimistic report. I like.

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