Do You Need a Vacation in Retirement?

Retirement may seem like a perpetual vacation. It’s a period when you can spend as much or as little time living a life of leisure as you would like. However, as many retirees have discovered, the routine days of retirement can have a similar monotony as working life. At the same time, many retirees have significant responsibilities that make it difficult to get away for a while.

In this article, we discuss why vacations in retirement are important and how to make the most of your time during this phase of life.

Why would you need a vacation in retirement?

For some, the idea of doing nothing after decades of the grind sounds fabulous. The main activity they have planned for retirement is not working. However, after a few celebratory trips and several rounds of golf, they realize they have nothing to do. They get bored and need a shake-up.

Another prevalent need for a vacation comes from those who are retired but still tied down with responsibilities—sometimes of a nature they did not anticipate. For example, according to AARP, as of 2020, 56% of the estimated 53 million caregivers of adults 50+ in the U.S. were at least 50 years old themselves.Being a caregiver of a loved one is a complicated and draining role, even if an ultimately rewarding and fruitful experience.

Your bucket list may be on hold as you serve as a nurse, Uber driver and emotional support for your aging parents. For others, the opportunity to be a more involved grandma or grandpa has become a serious job. Regardless of the circumstances, retirees can find themselves tethered to their day-to-day responsibilities. An unfortunately common outcome is burnout, depression and overall dissatisfaction with life.

How to help make your retirement-era vacations effective and meaningful

1. Create a budget

Some retirees are afraid to spend. They feel so anxious about running out of money that they forget to live. On the other hand, some are so burned out from their working life that they spend their retirement years justifying overspending to “make up” for lost time. 

We think that a well-balanced life exists somewhere between these two. Set aside money in your budget for leisure spending. If you are worried that you are spending too much, talk to your wealth advisor about how much capacity you have in your cash flow to try and help put your mind at ease. This simple step can reduce anxiety and allow you to use the money as part of a plan. 

2. Create time

Many retirees struggle more with time management than with money management. They retired to get out of the rat race only to find themselves busier than ever. Just as you made a financial budget, budget some time in your calendar well in advance. This may take some shrewd planning. But if you don’t plan for it, it probably won’t happen.

3. Get help

Ask around for a good travel agent if you are planning a true escape from the norm. Going to visit family may not necessarily qualify as a vacation. Travel, especially internationally, is an investment, and a good travel agent can help you maximize your time and explore what you truly are looking for in the experience.

4. Repeat

Don’t make this a “one-and-done” event. Budget, plan the time and get professional help for your next getaway soon after your last one. Make this a part of your retirement rhythm and create expectations for those who depend on you for support throughout the year. It will give you something new and exciting to look forward to.

Vacations, travel and other forms of leisure are a vital part of a healthy retirement life. We created the 10 Elements of Retirement Success to help people assess their healthy balance and satisfaction with 10 areas of life. If you would like to learn more about the Elements of Retirement Success and review your balance in these areas, you can read more here.




Charlie Jordan, CPA, CFP, CeFT

Charlie Jordan, CPA, CFP, CeFT

Partner, Wealth Advisor

Charlie is a Partner, Wealth Advisor in our Atlanta office. Previously, he led the Retiring Well Practice Management group at legacy firm Brightworth. Charlie focuses on helping clients think differently about retirement, integrating the technical and personal sides of money. Charlie is a CPA, CFP® practitioner and Certified Financial Transitionist (CeFT). He is a graduate of the University of Florida and received a Master in Accountancy from Kennesaw State University.


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