Elderly couple looks over a mountaintop at a scenic view.

Spend your retirement thriving

How to make your retirement rewarding and meaningful.

Does the conventional vision of retirement seem a little boring to you? Sure, maybe you like golf and might even enjoy an occasional trivia night battle, but those things alone won’t be enough for someone who has always been active, engaged and driven. Chances are you want something bigger: new challenges, exciting adventures and meaningful relationships or experiences. Perhaps you even want an encore career.

You’re right to want these things. Research shows that having a purpose-driven retirement can promote good health and increase happiness.

And you’re in luck. With more options than ever before, adventure awaits you in retirement. Especially with senior stereotypes being shattered thanks to healthier, longer lives. How will you make it truly yours?

Explore the world

Want to combine lifelong learning with your passion for travel? Road Scholar offers learning adventures across the globe, such as a trip to France to learn about D-Day or a birding adventure in remote Ecuador.

If you want to instead spend three weeks immersing yourself in Andalusia, Spain, during which you learn a few steps of flamenco, make an authentic paella with a local chef and take Spanish classes, you might enjoy Smithsonian Journeys’ Living in Spain experience. Smithsonian Journeys offers other cultural immersions, allowing you to see, feel, hear and taste how locals live in cities, such as Provence, France, and Florence, Italy. You can also work with specialists to design your own dream trip.

Mentor and give back

If you’d prefer to change your corner of the world instead, consider mentoring even if you’ve already left your 9-to-5 gig.

You can further burnish your business legacy as an advisory board member for a company, which would also provide an additional income stream, for example. Another way to share your business acumen and wisdom is through joining the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), whose members mentor small business owners.

Or perhaps you want to trade the high-powered world you occupied for service in an underserved community. If so, consider joining the AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent program, in which seniors help students with their academic goals, care for premature infants or children with disabilities, and mentor troubled teenagers and young parents.

No matter what your particular cause, you can likely find a way to support it through VolunteerMatch, which connects volunteers with local nonprofits. Or you can become a CoGenerate Fellow that works with a social impact organization that needs your skills and experience.

Strengthen a community of like-minded people

You may even find your future home among communities that you identify with. For example, Fountaingrove Lodge is an LGBTQ+ luxury retirement community in Santa Rosa, California. Open since 2014 and with designed craftsman-style features and architecture, Fountaingrove Lodge’s amenities include a movie theater, wine cellar, and programs in music, visual and culinary arts.

Or perhaps you want to stay where you are but strengthen your community’s ability to support its seniors living independently in their own homes. If so, you might look to Beacon Hill Village as a potential model. This member-led community of independent adults aged 50 and older connect with and care for one another through a variety of support services, social and wellness programs, and cultural and educational activities. The village model that started in Beacon Hill has now spread to approximately 350 other locations in the United States, and you can learn more about this approach on the Village to Village Network website.

Build a new community or opportunity

Not seeing exactly what you’re looking for in the options described above? Your advisor likely has walked clients through the options before and may be able to point you in the right direction. Perhaps your dream retirement is still out there somewhere – or maybe you can be the enterprising individual to build it. After you’ve spent your first career building a company or a life for you and your family, why not build the specific vision of retirement that you want to see?

After all, the village approach to retirement was built by individuals who envisioned a better way to live as they got older. You too can build the community, program or resource you want most.