The four pillars of retirement are your health, your income, family and friends and your zest for living. And a hobby – particularly a “profitable hobby” – can make a solid contribution to each of these four during the 20-25 years after your retirement.
The brain controls how we function, and if we can control our brain, then we’re well on the way to remaining healthy – both physically and mentally. And if we let our mind go vapid, then the rest of our body breaks down. Seniors on the international stage – think the Pope, Mother Theresa, Queen Elizabeth in the UK, Queen Beatrix in the Netherlands, various Presidents of the United States – lead active lives, and appear to thrive on it.
And then there are those villagers in Greece, who each morning walk their goats up into the hills, and then walk up those steep paths again in the evenings to bring their flock down.
My contention is that we need active and stimulating lives to enjoy a comfortable retirement. And hobbies – either profitable hobbies or just a hobby for the simple pleasures that it can provide – give us the reason to get out of bed each morning.
You might like to volunteer with an environmental group, become an unpaid editor at DMOZ (a top level internet directory), join a service club or become involved with your local theatrical group.
But it is important that you find a hobby, one that you enjoy, and allow it to instil a routine into your life.
Now less than three percent of us will have enough for 20-25 years of a comfortable retirement, and no-one who has been an employee or owned a small business is financially secure. The reason is that we need to understand that our “employer” in our retirement is our pool of savings – and that’s who will be paying us an income in the years ahead.
Now you need at least $2 million tucked aside, on the basis that if your investments pay you 5%, your income, in the first year of retirement, will be $100,000. But if you are still in equities, inflation will be slowly eroding the purchasing power of your income stream, so that in 15 years your purchasing power will be down around half.
But that’s when you’ll need access to substantial savings to pay for lengthy hospital stays and medical bills.
We are all living longer, but our bodies still wear out. The ability to be able to pay for the best quality health care and expensive hospital bills in our old age is something no government pension will be capable of.
So to supplement your income (even if you have some form of government pension) you’ll need a profitable hobby.
My regular suggestion is to take a stand at a flea market, and sell whatever your speciality goods are. It could be hats, honey, driftwood, books, cakes, or trinkets for the tourists.
If you are in a tropical paradise, you could teach English (for a fee, of course), you could sell photographs on the internet (but beware – you’ll only earn on average $1 per month for each image you lodge, so you’ll need to load up hundreds to different agencies to become established) or you could become self–employed as a tour guide.
Just do whatever you enjoy doing, on a part-time basis, when it suits you – but get paid for the exchange.
Family & Friends
When you adopt a hobby, you will be developing a personal interest – one that will keep you at just a little distance from your family. They’ll enjoy the space, as will you.
And you’ll also be developing a whole new circle of friends – because friendships are based on common interests.
Your Zest for Living
You can now see how a profitable hobby stimulates your zest for living, by giving you a routine, generating an income and introducing you to new friends.
A profitable hobby is the complete package for your retirement.
About the Author
For over two decades Bernard Kelly from www.retirelaughing.com, now in his late sixties, has been helping family, friends and private clients prepare for 20-25 years of a comfortable retirement .
While he takes immense pleasure in writing about the four pillars of a successful retirement – your finances, your health, family & friends and your zest for living – his favorite topic is “profitable hobbies” because of the financial and health benefits (both mental and physical) that can flow to a retiree from a vibrant micro business.