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What the Bureau of Labor says we'll really do all day...
Old 07-04-2011, 03:22 PM   #1
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What the Bureau of Labor says we'll really do all day...

This was forwarded to me by my daughter, who's apparently already old enough to be skeptical of (still-working) journalists preaching about retirement:
How retirees spend their days- MSN Money

Quote:
Many people dream about how they will spend the eight or more extra hours per day they will have once they no longer need to go to work. However, Americans between ages 65 and 74 spend only about 1.7 more hours per day on leisure activities than the population as a whole, according to the most recent American Time Use Survey, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week.
Instead, most older Americans spend their extra free time lingering slightly longer over everyday activities like meals and household chores, and they watch considerably more TV than the population as a whole.
Quote:
How Americans 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): 9.67 (9.47).
* Watching TV: 3.77 (2.52).
* Household activities: 2.41 (1.79).
* Eating and drinking: 1.42 (1.25).
* Working: 1.15 (3.50).
* Purchasing goods and services: 0.94 (0.75).
* Reading: 0.62 (0.29).
* Socializing: 0.59 (0.55).
* Relaxing and thinking: 0.55 (0.28).
* Organizational, civic and religious activities: 0.52 (0.35).
* Leisure computer use: 0.38 (0.39).
* Exercise: 0.31 (0.29).
* Caring for non-household members: 0.31 (0.21).
* Telephone calls, mail, and email: 0.23 (0.18).
* Caring for household members: 0.11 (0.51).
* Education activities: 0 (0.47).
Hey, I prefer to think of it as "keeping up with current events", not "leisure computer use"...
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:18 PM   #2
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Almost all of those activities are leisure activities for me. Luckily I do not have the burdens of elder care on my hands, and I do not have to work. I do not engage in "organizational, civic, and religious activities" but if I did, it would be by choice.

Who's to tell me that going to the gym, eating a delicious meal at a local restaurant with my honey, and watching American Idol are not leisure activities? Next they'll be telling me that playing silly little iPhone games like Pocket Frogs does not qualify as a leisure activity.
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:50 PM   #3
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What should count as leisure is a little mysterious, but here is one of the relevant BLS charts:

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Old 07-04-2011, 06:52 PM   #4
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I wish I could sleep 9.1 hours/day. As I get older I sleep a let less, maybe 6 hours.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:18 AM   #5
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I have a lot of trouble sleeping; I'm lucky to get 3 hours a night. I do not take naps during the day (wish I could!).
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:28 AM   #6
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One thing I love about retirement is the opportunity to engage in recreational sleep. I still sleep a total of 7-8 hours of each 24, but a 20 minute nap in the afternoon or early evening can be so refreshing.

Also, awakening after 7 hours and then thinking "I don't HAVE to get up!" and dozing off for 30 minutes of recreational sleep before getting up is a lot of fun. I would call that 30 minutes leisure time even though I am asleep.

I slept 9+ hours when I was a teenager, but those days are long behind me.
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Old 07-06-2011, 01:30 PM   #7
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The statistics are meaningless because the categories are so vague. What does "household activity" encompass? For me, it's much more than cooking and cleaning; it includes redecorating, remodeling, household repairs, sewing curtains, repurposing old furniture, creating picture frames for our photos, etc.

According to the cited statistics, retirees also read much more than other age groups, spend more time staying in touch with people (family and friends I assume) through telephone and email, and spend nearly twice as much time to "relax and think" as other age groups. There are statisticians who need to measure how much time people spend thinking?

What about categories for hobbies, cultural activities, intellectual pursuits, travel and recreational drinking?

Just another mental nudge for people to start believing that retirement is overrated, you don't need it, and you can't afford it anyway. So just keep working, cause you're not missing out on anything.

Dumb.
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Old 07-06-2011, 01:30 PM   #8
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Many of these activities are not mutually exclusive, so the total *should* add up to 24 hours. For example, I'd wager that "watching TV" and "eating and drinking" have a lot of overlap.
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Old 07-06-2011, 02:18 PM   #9
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Comparing retirees to people 15 and up is also flawed. The 15 year old in high school and the 40 year old working full time are in two very different groups.

The more realistic comparison would be to compared a retired person to those working full time or -- even better -- comparing that person to what they were doing while working full time.

I also agree that their idea of leisure time activities is vague and problematical (spending more time at dinner because you went out could easily be a leisure time activity. Computer use might or might not be depending on what you do).

All of that said -- I must say that since DH fully retired and I ESR'd we don't have as much free time for fun stuff as I would have predicted.
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Old 07-06-2011, 05:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
All of that said -- I must say that since DH fully retired and I ESR'd we don't have as much free time for fun stuff as I would have predicted.
I wonder if it's the fact that you are still working part time that is bothering you, maybe. In my retirement, I have 24 hours a day for fun stuff.

I have to sleep, but sleeping is loads of fun too.

Laundry takes no time except for about 2 minutes to hang things up when it's done. So, I do laundry while engaging in other fun stuff.

Every couple of weeks I have to make a grocery run, but that doesn't last long and it can be fun too. How, you may ask? I just take my time, and try to go up and down every single aisle for the exercise. I read labels and look for new/different foods. I try to go during off hours when it isn't too crowded at the store.

Today, I organized/reorganized the contents of my new desk. But, I only did it because it was fun to do.
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:01 PM   #11
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How are leisure and sports in the same category in that chart above? I get golf, for instance, can be called a leisure activity or a sport (though that is highly suspect, its a game), but I consider leisure and sport to be kind of polar opposites.

Do the people that throw this stuff together actually get paid? I'm convinced they have a million monkeys at a million computers kind of thing going on? Every once and a while something coherent is produced and published as relevant news.
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:13 AM   #12
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My first though was 1.7 additional leisure hours per day is nothing to scoff at in my book. It's much better than 1.7 hours sitting in a cubicle. I do find that I spend a lot more time on breakfast in retirement. When working I spent maybe 10 minutes eating breakfast and gulping down coffee as I rushed around getting ready for work. Now I easily spend an hour leisurely sipping coffee and eating a bowl of cereal while reading the paper--next to the fire in the winter--on the back porch on summer. Not sure how BLS would classify that but it is a pleasant start to my day. I find that I am much pickier about my coffee now. When I was working 2 day old coffee that was reheated in the microwave was acceptable. Now I want fresh, good quality coffee.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIYes View Post
My first though was 1.7 additional leisure hours per day is nothing to scoff at in my book. It's much better than 1.7 hours sitting in a cubicle.
Upon further reflection, this seems odd:
Quote:
How Americans age 65 to 74 spend their day in hours (Results for the total population age 15 and older are in parenthesis.)
* Working: 1.15 (3.50).
Does BLS appreciate the discrepancy between their survey numbers and the hypothetical "eight-hour workday", which many Americans claim is really 10 hours or even more?

I wonder if that 3.5 hours reflects time actually spent working instead of time spent in meetings, mandatory training, boss management, HR discussions, quality circles, and so forth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FIYes View Post
When I was working 2 day old coffee that was reheated in the microwave was acceptable. Now I want fresh, good quality coffee.
I've turned into a relative coffee snob too. Instead of engineroom coffee that's been cooking all midwatch, I grind Kona beans and make the brew a cup at a time. Yet clearly my taste buds could handle the former, so why bother with the latter? Why not just drink Folger's or Hills Bros or Taster's Choice Instant or whatever brands are on the shelves these days?

I guess upgraded coffee reflects an indulgent discretionary entertainment expense on the hedonic treadmill that I could cut out whenever fiscal austerity is called for.
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