Working as a Greeter vs. Lounging On the Beach (Or, What Do You Want to Do in Retirement?)

If retirement seems like a distant, not-very-pressing event, chances are you haven’t given a whole lot of thought to what you’ll actually do when you’re retired.

But the kinds of things you hope to do during retirement will impact your planning.

So, what do you want to do? Work as a greeter? Volunteer at the art museum? Lounge on the beach? Travel the world? Or something else? And what kinds of things would your spouse like to do, if you are married?

Keep in mind that not only will the kinds of things you want to do in retirement impact your planning, how you hope to carry out those plans will too. For example, if you want to travel the world, you could do so by working on organic farms, or by staying at 5-star resorts, and the costs would vary significantly.

If you have no idea of what you might like to do during retirement, start by thinking of the kinds of things you like to do now. You might also try out some of the things that you believe might interest you on a smaller scale — volunteer a few times a month somewhere, take a small trip, get a part time job at a coffee shop, etc — to see how you like them.

Once you have a better idea of the kinds of things you might enjoy doing, you can begin to plan accordingly. I intend to plan for both a minimal retirement and our dream retirement (once we figure out what that might be). That way we’ll have a better idea of what to set as goals.


  • While it’s great to “try out” volunteer opportunities now to help you better envision how you might like to spend some of your time in retirement, I don’t think it’s very realistic to suggest that retirees can travel the world by working on an organic farm.

    Assuming that most people retire around the age of 65 (it’s perhaps a bit earlier for women and later for men), I don’t think many 65-year-olds would look forward to the hard labor that tilling, planting, weeding and picking entails.It might be a novelty to play in the dirt for a few hours to gain insight into the farming life, but most of these are working farms, and what I read on your organic farm link, they expect a 5-day work week from their volunteer workers.

    Many of us who are planning for future retirement forget that our bodies are not going to feel the same in 10, 20 or 30 years as they do today.

    Yes, many retirees work in retirement, but most of them do so on a part-time basis and choose a far less taxing job than farm work.

  • Yes, you’re right, working at an organic farm would be just that — a lot of work. There are retirees who do that though, and some people choose early retirement. (Just like there are people who are able to travel in retirement by staying at 5 star resorts.) No one option is right for everyone…

  • My father is 90 y.o. and has been farming his whole life. He still puts in 14 hour days in the spring and fall to help my brother out with his farm and has his own large garden today. The key of course is that he didn’t start doing that at 65, he’s kept in shape for years. He could definitely work me under the table at 44 y.o. because he’s got that pioneer mindset that knows how to push himself to do what needs to be done.

    It’s a bit of a misconception as well that all of farming is back-breaking manual labour these days. That was the case 60-80 years ago, but not today.

    • jacqjolie, your father sounds like a hard worker. The pioneer mindset definitely comes into play with help out family and neighbors and doing what needs to be done.