Leisure: Among our 10 Elements of Retirement Success

Leisure might be the first thing that springs to mind when you picture the perfect retirement. In our experience, making room for leisure activities is one of our 10 elements of retirement success. This article seeks to help you assess your approach to leisure in retirement and set some meaningful goals.

Ah, the life of leisure. Advertisers have certainly picked up on this dream. Think of a couple enjoying a sunset walk on a secluded beach, golfing on a perfectly manicured private course or waving bon voyage from the deck of a cruise ship.

In reality, leisure might only represent a fraction of your time in retirement, but it still makes sense to plan to make the most of it. As we see it, there are three things you want to balance when it comes to leisure: money, time and those now-or-never, out-of-the-ordinary, special experiences on your bucket list.

Budget money for leisure in retirement

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 extremes. We recommend setting aside money in your budget for leisure spending. If you are worried you are spending too much, talk to your wealth advisor about how much capacity you have in your cash flow to put your mind at ease. This simple step can reduce anxiety and allow you to use the money as part of a plan.

Make time for leisure in retirement

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.

Some say they don’t have time to travel like they thought they would. Between watching their grandkids, taking their mom or dad to the doctor’s office or juggling their various volunteer roles, their calendars are simply full.

Just as you make an annual financial budget for leisure, capture that time on your calendar in advance. This may take some shrewd planning. But if you don’t plan for it, it probably won’t happen.

Don’t forget your bucket list in retirement

A big chunk of retirement spending likely revolves around family. An equally significant portion of time is probably also spent with family doing routine activities. Although every moment with family is special, do not miss out on opportunities to experience the extraordinary.

What’s on your bucket list? Keep your balance, but remember that you only live once. Our advice would be to make room in your financial and time budgets to make a dream come true at least once or twice.

We suggest taking a moment now to rank your satisfaction with the leisure aspects of your life, both today and looking a year into the future. If you know there are things you want to do, maybe now is the time to write them down, put them in the calendar and solidify your plans.

Here’s a quick exercise that you may find helpful:

  1. Write down your current satisfaction with your leisure life on a scale of 1 to 10
  2. Now write down what you would like that score to be one year from now
  3. Finally, write down the top three things you can do to raise your score

Prioritizing leisure activities may sound frivolous, but in our experience, having a balance of serious responsibilities and pleasurable pastimes is a key element of retirement success.


Continue to explore each element of retirement success:

  1. Work
  2. Family
  3. Home
  4. Growth
  5. Leisure
  6. Social
  7. Giving
  8. Money
  9. Aging
  10. Health


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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