Tips for managing your time in Retirement so you don’t become a couch potato…

I was having a discussion with a client of ours recently who was looking to retire in the next couple of years.  He was having difficulty in working out what he would do with his time when he retired.  He didn’t want to be sitting around not knowing how he was going to fill his days.  I share some of those discussions and a guide on how to plan your time in retirement.

You work all your life in a structured routine and then all of a sudden you face the unknown, no set schedule, no have to be there on this day routines anymore.  It can be daunting not knowing what you are going to do with your time in retirement.

For some, they have their time in retirement all planned out, for others the thought of the unknown in retirement can cause stress and anxiety.

However, retirement should be something to look forward too, a new adventure, a new chapter and a chance to have new experiences and make it a fulfilling time of your life.

Once you have your finances sorted to fund your lifestyle it is great to have a plan on how you are going to spend your time in retirement so that it is rewarding and enjoyable.  These are discussions we have with clients all the time, it’s not just about the finances, it about helping clients make the right decisions so they can go live life.

If you would like to get crystal clear on what your perfect lifestyle will cost and how far away you are, you can download our worksheet by clicking here.

Here are a few of the adventures our clients are planning when they retire or are retired but still have on their bucket list to tick off:-

  • Visit Canada to see Polar Bears in real life
  • Caravan through Outback Australia
  • Help out at an Art Gallery
  • Look after grandchildren
  • Take the family on a cruise
  • Sail the South Pacific on their own Yacht
  • Join a charity organisation and give back to the community
  • Complete a European Holiday
  • Complete a European cruise down the Rhine River
  • Yearly trip to Qld to compete in Bowls tournaments
  • Rocky Mountain holiday
  • Isle of Mann Motorbike race

Everyone’s retirement is unique and has different meaning and purpose, what’s yours?

I was having a discussion just the other day with a client of mine who’s on the brink of retirement. He’s worked hard all his life. He’s built up a nice pool of assets, has enough to fund his retirement and all the activities he wants to pursue.

He’s single. However, he’s facing the road ahead, the unknown, a bit of anxiety about what he is going to do with this time, yes, he has a few things planned but what to do with the rest of his time.

He really wanted to have a discussion about what he’s going to do with his time in retirement.

Now, some know exactly what they are going to do and I work with a lot of clients that have a lot of plans and half the time have struggled to find time to actually come in and see me and indicate to me that they don’t know how they fitted their life in prior to retirement.

Some walk into the unknown just not knowing and I think it’s important to have a bit of a plan, as we did with this client of mine. We had a real discussion around the things he’d like to achieve or hasn’t achieved at this point in time.

We sat down and planned that out for him and prioritised what it was that he was looking for while giving him some ideas around structuring his time retirement.

For this client he was looking at still undertaking some work, so he wasn’t going to retire fully because he wanted to still be involved in the workforce,  it was likely to be a low key role just to keep him busy maybe two, three days a week.

How to plan your time in Retirement so it counts

1. You’re retired.  You don’t need to plan every minute of your day

It’s time to put it all into perspective.  You don’t need to have every minute of the day planned out but you don’t want to be sleeping in every day and sitting in front of the TV,  After all, what sort of enjoyment would you get out of that.  However, it’s important to have some type of routine, how you want to fill your days, although at a more relaxed pace.  After all want to enjoy it, right?

2. Have a flexible schedule

It doesn’t have to be a stringent schedule. It can be that you keep fit, say you do that on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday. You go play golf on Friday. You catch up with friends during the week. You set your holidays throughout the year that you want to take.

If you want to do some travel through Australia, well then that would likely be through the winter months. You may want to do a European trip, hop off to Bali or you want to travel interstate to visit some family, then you block that out in your diary.

Fill your diary with all your other activities that you might want to do.

For instance, you might play tennis on a regular basis or bowls or you might help out at some charity clubs, so they’ll gradually fill up your diary. If you still want to continue work, well then you fill that in as well.

3. Have a list

Look at the things that you want to achieve or those bucket list experiences and list them out.  Plan them out at what stage of your retirement you would like to do them.  Some complete international travel early in their retirement while leaving Australian travel to later.

What are you wanting to get done during the week and maybe prioritise, that way you have a plan of attack, something to work towards.

4. Relax

Yes, you want a fulfilling retirement but hey it’s ok to take it easy every now and again.  You don’t want to fill your days with things that don’t add fulfillment, what the point of that.  If you want a rest day, then take it.

I find with most of my clients they lead busy lives in retirement but they also take the time to slow down.  It all doesn’t have to be at 100 miles pace.

5. Find your Rhythm

I don’t know about you but I am a bit of a habit and routine guy.  I find I get things done by following my own rhythm and I think this is important when you are retired.  You don’t have the usual routine of getting up five days a week and going to work.

It’s different and it may take a little time but I think it is important to get into a good routine, so find your rhythm.

You’ve got the activities that you want to complete each week. You put them in your diary.

Put them on your fridge so you know what you’ve got to do or a list of activities that you need to complete or chores around the house and you get yourself into a rhythm and a bit of a flow, which means it makes life a lot easier.

You don’t have to stress about it. You sort of know how things are going to flow. You might shop on a Monday and you might catch up with friends on a Friday. You go to the gym a couple of times a week.

You go out and play golf, bowls, tennis or you might go out and help with a charity once a week.

Get a bit of rhythm about it and that way it will make life a lot easier.

6. Plan for free time

Allow free time.

Times where you’re just not doing anything.

You’re just relaxing.

You’re reading a book, enjoying the weather or take a holiday and just enjoy it.

Enjoy it and that will allow you not to get bored and also allow you to get back into a bit of routine.

7. Don’t be a couch potato

Tv’s and technology is a way of life, but its good to limit your time in front of your tv and phone.

Just watching stuff and then you find you’re just getting nothing done, so I think it’s important that you take it for what it is and try to limit the time sitting in front of the TV.

Get up. Be active.

The more active you are the more healthy you’re going to be and the more enjoyment you’re going to get out your retirement as well.

8. Take your weekend during the week

I think one of the brilliant things is that your weekends can become part of your normal week.

So the things that you’d normally do on the weekend like shopping or maybe some chores perhaps do them during the week when it’s less stressful at the shops and work around that and just remember things change.


What you do at the start of your retirement is not necessarily what you’re going to do throughout your retirement. You’re going to reconsider your priorities and your bucket list things to do and you’ll need to revise your schedule a bit and that’s normal.

It may well be that you start off and you’ve got a real structure around what you do and then all of a sudden you find yourself doing babysitting for your kids and your grandkids. That will change your whole schedule.

Be flexible around that and just understand it is going to change and it’s a good thing as well.

Anyway, I hope that helps. I think it’s important that you have a bit of rough guide on what you’re going to do when you’re no longer working, so that you know how you’re going to fill your time and the more work you do on this, the easier it’s going to be.

The less stressful it’s going to be and you’re going to actually look forward to it.

Rather than thinking well what am I actually going to do with my time when I do finish work, so de-stress yourself.

Plan it out. Just a rough plan, it doesn’t have to be a be all and end all and I think you’ll find that the more you do on this, the more enjoyable retirement and lifestyle you’ll have.

Make it a great life!

Glenn Doherty – CFP – Founder & Financial Organiser at Jigsaw Private Wealth



Mob: 0401 253 729


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