5 minute read

Not Your Grandmother's Retirement Bucket List

Want to reinvent the retirement bucket list? Check out our list of exciting ideas for your retirement bucket list. Warning: your grandma may not approve.

Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks, @PatrickHicks

Head of Legal, Trust & Will

Retirement typically conjures up images of a peaceful life. Maybe you downsize and move somewhere warm and where the pace of life is slower. Perhaps your weekly schedule consists of mahjong nights and golf tournaments. If you're lucky, you'll have grandchildren and other loved ones to visit and vice versa.

However, as lifespans elongate and the you only live once (YOLO) attitude takes precedence, the norms and expectations around retirement could be changing. For younger generations especially, the picture of retirement could be less about relaxation and more about adventures, personal growth, and crossing off long-time dreams off the wish list.

In case you were in the market of revamping your retirement bucket list with items that are enriching or even thrilling, consider some of these ideas in this guide.

20 Retirement Bucket List That Will Get You Hyped

Here, we've compiled a "not-your-average" list of bucket list items to save up for retirement. We've put them in a few different categories, starting off with adventure and exploration:

Adventure and Exploration

1. Backpack Across Europe - Venture through diverse cultures, histories, and landscapes by backpacking across Europe. From the ancient ruins in Rome to the vibrant art a fairs of Barcelona, soak up every scene at your own pace.

2. Hike the Appalachian Trail - Stretching over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, hiking the Appalachian Trail is a challenging and rewarding experience that offers stunning natural beauty and a profound sense of accomplishment. Invite a loved one and turn into a bonding experience of a lifetime.

3. Scuba Dive in the Great Barrier Reef - If you love the ocean, you'll find it appealing to explore the underwater world of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, a vivid marine paradise that is home to thousands of species of sea life. This may be somber,  but take advantage of this epic level of marine biodiversity while it still exists.

4. Volunteer Abroad - Experiences such as the Peace Corps doesn't have to be reserved for the youth! Combine travel with altruism by volunteering abroad. You likely have skills and experiences from your life's work that can be applied. Whether it's teaching English in Asia, helping with wildlife conservation in Africa, or assisting in disaster relief efforts, this experience can provide a meaningful impact on others' lives.

5. Road Trip Across the Country - Discover the vast and varied landscapes of your home country by taking a road trip. From the majestic national parks to hidden gems in small towns, each stop can offer unique memories. Your journey can even begin at home with a build-out of your dream travel getup, such as a custom Airstream or sprinter van. Many retirees love to add purpose to this trip by adding stops along the way to visit relatives.

Learning and Personal Development

1. Learn a New Language - Retirement is the perfect time to dive into learning a new language. Whether it’s Spanish, Japanese, or Italian, mastering a new language can open up new worlds and opportunities. Once proficient in day-to-day conversation, reward yourself by taking a trip to a country where your chosen language is spoken and putting your new skill to the test.

2. Take Cooking Classes - Explore culinary arts by taking cooking classes. Learn how to prepare exotic dishes, or perfect the art of French baking. This can also be a wonderful way to connect with other food enthusiasts. You can also make this a date with your partner and quite literally spice up your life with an experience that fills up your senses.

3. Write a Book - Many people dream of writing a book, and retirement provides the perfect chance to tell your story, whether it’s a memoir, a novel, or a travelog. While this can feel overwhelming, just make a practice of writing one page a day and your novel will be complete in no time! Who knows, maybe you'll even become published and become a famed author in the second half of your life.

4. Start a Blog or Podcast - Share your experiences, hobbies, or expertise. Starting a blog or podcast can not only be a creative outlet but also a way to connect with like-minded individuals and add a revenue stream to your retirement financial plan.

5. Master a Musical Instrument - Whether you’ve always wanted to play the guitar, piano, or violin, learning an instrument can be deeply satisfying and even therapeutic. Forming a band or music group with other musicians can serve as a creative outlet that also adds to your social life.

Health and Wellness

1. Master a Style of Dance - From salsa to ballroom dancing, joining a dance group can be a fun way to stay active and meet new people. Learning choreography will not only keep your joints but also your mind limber!

2. Train for a Marathon - Set a goal to train for and complete a marathon or any other athletic feat of your choice. This ambitious pursuit not only helps to maintain physical health but also provides a sense of achievement.

3. Channel Your Inner Yogi - Travel to India and immerse yourself in the practice of yoga. Attend retreats and learn from master yogis in beautiful, serene settings. A teacher training program will allow you to deep-dive into the culture, history, and practice, even if you don't intend to teach. (But if you do get certified, then why not!)

4. Take Up Martial Arts - Engage in a discipline like karate, judo, or tai chi. It’s a great way to improve physical fitness, mental discipline, and self-defense skills. While it's counter-intuitive, many martial arts are low-impact, meaning that they're less harsh on your joints and will help you stay sharp and in tip-top shape.

Cultural Immersion and Social Engagement

1. Attend Major Global Festivals - Experience world-famous events like Rio’s Carnival, Spain’s Running of the Bulls, or Germany’s Oktoberfest. These festivals offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in different cultures and festivities. Never had a chance to experience Burning Man? Do it now! You may be surprised that 20 percent of Burners are 50 years old and older. The crowd may even continue aging with time as festival attendees tend to be repeaters.

2. Join a Book Club - Connect with fellow literature lovers by joining a book club. This can be a great way to make new friends and engage in stimulating discussions.

3. Explore Ancestry and Family History - Take the time to research your family tree, visit places your ancestors came from, or even reconnect with distant relatives. This is invaluable information to share with your loved ones; you may even want to include a written family history in your Legacy Letter.

4. Take Acting Classes - This is just an example, but this could finally be a chance to learn how to act, sing, or juggle! Explore the dramatic arts by taking classes. This can be an exciting way to express yourself and step into different roles.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

1. Start a Business - Turn a passion or hobby into a business. This could be anything from an online store selling handmade crafts to a consulting service based on your professional expertise. If you have your retirement finances in order, this could be an amazing time to launch a new venture. You'll have the wisdom of life to back you up, plus you won't have the pressure that often paralyzes younger individuals from taking risks.

2. Invest in a Startup - Use your knowledge and savings to invest in a startup company. This can be a rewarding way to contribute to innovation and potentially reap financial rewards. Attend startup pitch competitions and get involved with incubators in your area.

Align Your Vision for Retirement with your Estate Plan

Depending on your personality, this retirement bucket list might go straight in the trash, or hopefully, it gives you inspiration and makes you excited for your golden years. Who says it needs to be a quiet retreat where you slowly waste away? Individuals are living longer, and that means our retirement may make over a third of your lifetime! Why not daydream and plan out a stage of life that looks vibrant and filled with excitement?

At the same time, here we offer some advice that may bring you back to earth for a while. If you are dreaming up about retirement, then it means that it's time for you to have an estate plan. Already have one in place? Great! It's time for you to review it and ensure your goals and objectives align with your vision of your future self.

If you're someone who loves this retirement bucket list, then you'll likely love our estate planning solution. We're an online platform that revolutionized estate planning by making it easy, accessible, affordable, and seamless! It's a no-brainer. Take our quiz to get matched up with a Trust & Will estate plan and find out how easy it is to get started in minutes, here.

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